Friday, November 30, 2007

So there is an advantage to junk food!

Conversation with 5 year old son:

Me: Wow, you are getting to be a big boy! Must be all that good food Mommy gives you!
He: Can you ask Mommy to give me junk food tomorrow?
Me: Er.... why?
He: Because I don't want to be a big boy! I want to stay a little boy and play all day!
Yeah, it's sappy. But I did post it, didn't I??




Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

The beat(ing) goes on...

This is one of those posts that have been stuck in drafts folder for a few weeks now...


I have purposely avoided writing much about my karate training. Things are good, overall, but as I advance it is no surprise the training gets harder and harder. One could only hope for such an instructor as I have, but - predictably - there are days when I wish I wasn't as lucky.

If all goes well, I could be testing for my Tae Kwon Do Black Belt in the Spring of '09. I realize that sounds far away, but it isn't. Considering the best length of time for a new student to start the program and attain a Black Belt is just over 3 years, and that I've been in training since July '03, I've certainly taken long enough.

In the early days, I never expected to attain more than a Green Belt (7th Gup - students begin as a White Belt as a 10th Gup and work their way to 1st Gup and then a Black Belt; see chart), so I puttered along. Once I reached that mark in mid 2004, I figured I'd wait an appropriate period of time and then drop out; I didn't want to do so right after being awarded the belt, because I figured it looked obvious that I suddenly upped and quit. I was working out along side of my then 9 year old son (figuratively, as I was in the adult class), and he and I were promoting together, so I didn't want to appear to him as a quitter.

Late in 2004, he started only going through the motions. He'd go to class, but his heart wasn't in it. A big part of Tae Kwon Do is the Poomse (forms), which are routines of blocks, kicks and punches. Ideally, one is supposed to show strength and determination when performing the Poomse. If you're practicing, you typically don't show that much emphasis, but in class you need to show you're serious. He wasn't; he moves showed no strength, but rather that he was doing it just because he was told to do it.

We talked at home about him continuing, and ended up having him sit out a few months. He returned full of vigor, and proceeded on. In late '06 he stepped out between November and January, for the very same reason.

Through his breaks, I continued, figuring the law of inertia would set in on my old bones, causing me to not to return when he did. I also figured that if I quit, he wouldn't return to the program. Much to the displeasure of my instructor, I told him I wanted to concentrate on the exercise and not so much in promotions, in part because I wanted to wait for my son to catch up. I said in part because I seriously didn't see myself ever reaching a Black Belt. The instructor allowed me to continue - he is a good man, and a great teacher, and while I am sure he had my best interest in heart, he wasn't going to chase away a student who was only there for the work-out alone but who always paid on time!

Well, about a year ago - in fact during my son's last sabbatical - I realized I was starting to get the hang of the program. So I started to pursue the promotions and work my way up in ranking. I realized how well I was doing when I went for a promotion while he was out, in a way of encouraging him to return to class. Maybe he thought I'd always wait for him? As soon as I earned that next belt, he was all eager to return! However, when he did start again, he was 2 levels below me.

At present, I am a 2nd Gup - a Red Belt with a single black stripe. The next level will give me a second black stripe, and after a minimum of 6 months training after that level comes the test for 1st Dan - the coveted Black Belt. The tests for Black Belt are held only annually, so that means early '09.

As my son is a full belt below me (he is a Blue Belt, a 5th Gup), the earliest he can test for his Black Belt will be spring 2010. He is now 12 and is at least as eager as he's ever been; his strength and confidence have grown, and I am very fortunate that he has never lacked the respect for his parents that so many kids seem to do. He can test for his advanced Blue Belt as early as mid-December.



It has been said that about 1 out of 100 students who begin TKD training (in earnest) earn their Black Belt (and that 1 out of 1000 earn their 2nd Dan). As much as I relish accomplishing the goal of earning the Black Belt, some days have seemingly become too long to make reaching the goal worthy, even if doing so means I would be 1 out of 100.

Obviously, I can account for a lot this funk on the fact that my work day has gotten become increasingly more robust over the last year, what with the new position and such. There are several students in the adult class that are at or above my level: 3 are my contemporaries, 4 are kids - none over 18. All of them have become at least as good better fighters than I have; that most of them are younger than I am by more than half my age also plays heavily into the equation: not only are they good fighters, they are faster and can recover quicker than I can ever hope to do. I suppose the kids also view the bragging rights of achieving their Black Belts; few people even know I train, and somehow I don't think wearing a Black Belt as I walk down the street would attract any kind of positive attention.

And maybe, deep down, I don't regard the Belt with the same majesty as they do. Sure, it would be great to have, but is it worth aches and pains? Yes, yes, I know: no pain, no gain. Here's one for you: who cares? I mean, this has no impact on my career at all - it won't bring me any money. There's no prospect of formal competition in my future (informally, I must attend two tournaments, before I test for Black Belt but that's a two shot deal, at best). To become an instructor, I would have to earn a 4th Dan -- and assuming I picked up the pace in my training, it would require a minimum of 8 additional years to reach that esteemed rank - I wouldn't bet on that happening if I were you.

So again the question that begs to be asked: why am I doing this? If fun and exercise is all that matters, then I can go back into cruise control and skip the promotion track; it may not hurt a whole lot less, but it certainly shouldn't hurt any more.


But still, there's that shadow of quitting in front of my son. Sure, if I were seriously injured, or if I had to do the kind of business travel I used to do, it would be easy to write it off. But those are not the case.

I suppose I am trapped with the parental responsibility of not setting a bad example in front of him.



Of course, there's his 5 year old brother, who wants to start karate, too! He's got to wait at least another year before our instructor will consider him (and even so, there's other things to contend with, too), so that means if I survive and manage to pass my Black Belt test, they'll be a new a new White Belt in the family at the same time.

My bones ache just typing those words....


Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Can't balance your check book? Must be global warming

From American Thinker Blog:

Dr. John Brignell, a British engineering professor, runs a website called numberwatch. He has compiled what has to be the most complete collection of links to media stories ascribing the cause of everything under the sun to global warming. He has already posted more than six-hundred links.

More evidence that global warming is more hot air than reality.

After reading the pages of items blamed on global warming, an old song by Joe Jackson came to mind:

Don't touch that dial
Don't try to smile
Just take this pill
It's in your file
Don't work hard
Don't play hard
Don't plan for the graveyard

Remember -
Everything - Everything gives you cancer
Everything - Everything gives you cancer
There's no cure, there's no answer

Everything gives you cancer



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Wake Up With Whoopi put ratings to sleep

Radio-Info:

Though "Wake Up With Whoopi" continues in syndication through Premiere, which tells Radio-Info "we're disappointed with WKTU's decision, but we look forward to continuing our production and distribution" of the show. Clear Channel launched the actress and comedian into morning syndication in late July 2006, and her site lists nine affiliates. The New York drop at WKTU (103.5) comes after the show lost Clear Channel-owned affiliates in Chicago and Philadelphia.

Can't say I am surprised. As I've said before: to be successful in commercial radio, you need talent and something people are willing to pay for (via sponsors) in order to hear.

Now, if you have a bag a cash from frantic supporters, it doesn't matter how poor your overall content is, or whether you having any ratings or not (e.g:AirAmerica Radio).

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Homestretch for Curtis Sliwa's morning show

A few short days until the return of J. D. Imus to the radio; for Imus' fans, the wait has been long enough.

For many in the greater NYC area, it's the end of Curtis Sliwa's reign in morning radio (similarly, other morning hosts in the various Citadel markets are also being displaced). While I have a lot of respect for Curtis (and his now-former partner, Ron Kuby), their show never gained my appreciation. Even though I was born and bred in NYC, I craved a more nationwide appeal than the typical local fare they offered. Still, their jobs being lost because of Imus' return is most unfortunate. Today's NY DAILY NEWS details how the show was once again ranked #3 in the NY Market - AM and FM. Citadel is banking on Imus' nationwide draw to make these changes profitable; I predict they will win that bet easily.

No specific word has yet been said about Curtis' next gig. It had been rumored he would be teamed up with the midday host (John Gambling), but that slot lasts only 2:45 -- a far cry from his present 5 hour show.

As recently as Sunday, I heard an on-air ad for the John Gambling show, featuring news guy George Weber. No mention at all of Sliwa; certainly. George Weber must feel completely lost; with Charles McCord coming on board with Imus, there's nothing for him in the morning anymore. And with the rest of the syndicated hosts throughout the day/evening, there's nothing left for him. Strangely, Weber's own site has been silent on his future.

Warner Wolf's fate is still unknown, but he's in the best position to join Imus' team. Wolf had been a regular on Imus in years past, but left radio to take a TV gig (which, unfortunately for him, was short-lived). So he may have been offered to join Imus' team once again.

Even as I reside in a rural community, my local cable doesn't carry RFD-TV, which will be simulcasting Imus; wouldn't it be ironic that RFD pull the same (if not greater) ratings than MSNBC did, or even does today??

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

WordPress users: have you got your guide yet?

I am so way behind on posts - my draft list is up to 5 now - that I decided it's time to knock one off:

If you are a WordPress user, or if you know a WordPress user, then I have an item to scratch off your Christmas or Holiday shopping list: WordPress for Dummies.

Now I know some of you folks bristle at for Dummies distinction, but you shouldn't. WP for Dummies is, indeed, for beginners and experienced users alike. There's something for everyone, and if you use WP I wager you will find tips and tricks you didn't know existed. I am an IT professional, and I have more than one for Dummies on my bookshelf.

Now I know what you're thinking: if I am Blogger.com user, why I am promoting WP? One of the big two reasons why is because the author, Lisa Sabin-Wilson, has been linked to this humble blog under my Blogs of Distinction blogroll for several years, and she is an all around good soul (And, in the interest of full disclosure: she promised to autograph my copy once I mail it to her).

The single biggest reason? It's a well written book! Don't believe me? Read chapter excerpts and links to reviews here. The book has been available for about a month now, so all of the usual outlets should have it already, but of course you can find it online Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobel, Books-A-Million, Dummies.Com and Wiley.Com.

Are you into e-books? It's available at Wiley.

You have my word: it is a well-written guide!!



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mobile phone tracking

Have you ever wondered just how good that GPS software on your cell phone really is?

Follow this link, fill in the information, and see for yourself!



h/t Deborah at My Little Corner of the World.

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Collateral Damage

Did a weekend visit to my folks in NYC this weekend... a visit more dramatic than planned, which will be posted about when some dust settles. For now I am posting about another topic, decidedly having nothing to do with the visit, but something in its stead which is also important and as away to vent (but not really).

Everyone who watches any TV - at least not subject only to reality programming or talking-heads - is beginning to feel the pinch of the Writers Guild strike. I'll leave my opinions of unions aside for now - whether their reasons for the walk-out are legitimate won't be discussed today.

What may not be seen outside the northeast is the Theatrical Stage Employees have struck against the League of American Theatres and Producers in NYC, causing most of the top rated shows to close during the holiday season.

The loss of art, of course, is the major talking point during this labor dispute. And whenever the news crews do a story, they invariably focus on the tourists who have come to NYC on holiday and can't see a show.

But having known more than a few actors and actresses in my day (yeah, I am getting to the point in life when I can use the phrase in my day), I know, too well, that there are many struggling actors who work as wait staff in the city, who live for tips almost as much as they live for their art. And there are hosts and hostesses, doormen, bell hops and street vendors (not to mention new business start-ups and all theater district businesses in general).

And if the strike continues, many people may cancel their planned trips to the City. When people start canceling their NYC trips, the people who'll feel it most are members of the wait staff, the bell clerks and the whole host of folks who are simply trying to make their own holidays.

I won't suggest unions aren't entitled their due. And I know there's logic in taking a stand when there are more customers in town.

It's just that when people who have no direct stake in the negotiations start getting hurt financially, it pisses me off. And this is a big reason I detest what labor unions have become in the 21st century (whoops... I wasn't supposed to voice my opinion).

And the same goes for the thousands of support and back stage staff hurt by the WGA strike in Hollywood, too.

In both conflicts, negotiations and compromises must be made. Now.



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Friday, November 23, 2007

UK: Wounded Iraq veterans driven out of public pool

DATELINE - UK:

Soldiers who suffered appalling injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan were verbally abused as they swam in a public swimming pool.

During a weekly rehabilitation class at a council leisure centre, 15 servicemen – including several who have lost limbs or suffered severe burns – were heckled and jeered by members of the public.

One woman was so incensed that the troops were using the pool at Leatherhead Leisure Centre in Surrey that she told them they did not deserve to be there.

She became increasingly abusive, screaming that it was wrong for staff to rope off a lane exclusively for the injured personnel from the nearby Headley Court rehabilitation centre.

The swimmer, thought to be in her 30s, is understood to have said: "I pay to come here and swim – you lot don't."

The abuse was witnessed by 79-year-old Korean War veteran Charles Murrin, who said yesterday: "I could not believe what she was saying.

"The lane was roped off, which they do every week. It wasn't as if the pool was completely closed. Her group had the rest of the pool to swim in.

"She said the men do not deserve to be in there and that she pays money to come in the pool and they don't." ...more...
Appalling conduct! I doubt she would want to pay the price these men paid!

That woman and the others who complained ought to be shunned in their communities!



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Countdown for Philadelphia Boy Scouts

The Philadelphia-area Cradle of Liberty Boy Scouts council is facing eviction from its historic headquarters in the city.

The city solicitor, Romulo Diaz, has given the Boy Scouts of America council - the third largest in the country - until December 3rd to renounce its ban on gays or forfeit the in perpetuity lease the group made with the City in good faith in 1928 (see Philly.com and Washington Post). Should they opt to forfeit the lease, the City will graciously raise their annual rent by a mere $199,999.

That the solicitor knows well that the National BSA organization will not permit a charter to a council that does not follow its policies, Mr. Diaz knows this will be a death-knell for Scouting in the greater Philadelphia region (some 64,000 Scouts in Philadelphia and parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties). Considering the number of violent crimes committed on and by young men in that region, one has to wonder what agenda Mr. Diaz is pursuing.

Since the Cradle of Liberty council built the building in 1928, and gave it to the city in exchange for the lease, one wonders whether there will be efforts made to tear it down if they are evicted. I mean, after all: if the city can break the lease it has with the Boy Scouts, why should the Boy Scouts simply give them their building??

Oh wait, I know why: because were the Scouts to destroy the building, they wouldn't be considered Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean or Reverent.



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Day after the bird

OK, I am here at the office.

I suspect I will finally be able to clean my desk without too much interruption.

We're contractually obliged to provide support, but I severely doubt we'll have any work to do today.

So how was your Thanksgiving?

,



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving

This represents, like so many other bloggers out there, my perfunctory Thanksgiving post.

After almost 5 years (or, if you want to be specific, almost 6) of blogging, I have done several of these posts before. At the risk of repeating myself, I can, at least, update on some of the things I am thankful for:

  1. We made it through another year (er, at least about 11 months worth) without anyone in the fam having an unscheduled visit to a hospital. 'Nuff said.
  2. Our contract at work was extended. When I started here 3 years ago, we had 3 1-year contracts. Now we're good through 2013. That's not retirement, but at least we're reasonably safe for now.
Looking back to posts in the past....
  1. The Real Story of Thanksgiving
  2. George Washington's 1798 Thanksgiving Proclamation
  3. What would be Thanksgiving without a Turkey? Here's a link to the classic episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.
Something new to read and reflect upon: First-time commenter Diane has a posted the text of President Lincoln's Official Thanksgiving Proclamation. A definite must-read.

I am, of course for family and friends. (Why my MBH puts up with me still is anyone's guess). Our youngest son is gearing up his list for Santa... the 12 year old is not spoiling it for his 4 year old brother, but I think he's not ready to state, categorically, what he thinks of the Big Guy.

Unlike what the popular media would have you believe, Thanksgiving is not a time for mourning.
  • While our troops are in harms way, they are providing for us security (in spite of the majority in Congress who is not providing them funding).
  • While there are many who are realizing what adjustable rate mortgages mean, the number of people in their own homes remain at record levels.
  • Gas prices hurt everyone, no doubt (just ask Mr. 1,100 mile/week commuter), yet we have a record number of people driving this week to family and friends.
  • The Stock Market - the choice for retirement investment for most every American - is still trekking higher and higher.
Whatever our particular lot in life, no matter how bad a week/month/year you've had, while there are those we envy - secretly or otherwise - those people are in the minority. And I can tell you: their lives are not all rosy either. Who would ever think someone with money and fandom would ever have the kind of year that Britney Spears had?

So as you site at the family table - wherever it may be, with but a few or a mass of family or one or even if you happen to be by yourself - take a moment and give thanks for the good things you do have.

And if you are reading this, please accept my thanks for being there. Without you, I'd be talking to myself. And trust me: I do enough of that in my car...



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Thoughts of Thanksgiving

I am fortunately working from home today; the thought of my driving 2 hours to the office, leaving early, and then fighting to get home in the traffic just didn't sound like fun. So since I was one of the few who didn't take Friday as a vacation day, I'll be in the office to support our users (contractual obligation), and I dare predict there won't be a damn thing to do all day.


When I approached my senior manager to work from home today, his eyes lit up when he said will you be here Friday? I said yes, and he was more than happy to let me stay home today because that's what he's doing the day after Thanksgiving. Oh, and I am designated to be in charge on Friday... with however many (few) people actually show up. Oh boy.

I still have a few posts I have been working on for a few days. OK, a week. Not sure why I can't find the end of them, but they're still unfinished. And I should really do some work this morning (even though I am unshaven, in a robe - horrid sight, I am certain). Besides, I have a conference call in 10 minutes...

So I will point you to Michele's discussion of Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. It's one of those things that make you say you know what... I never realized that!.




Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

You can get anything you want....

I cannot believe that I've been blogging some 5 years now (egads!) and have not posted a single reference to the epitome of Thanksgiving tunes.

It's been a staple of FM rock stations every November. It spoke of small town police departments and the Vietnam war. It is every bit as funny, timely, and awe inspiring today as it was when I first unwrapped my LP 18-some-odd years ago.

If you haven't yet experienced Arlo Guthrie's story of Alice's Restaurant Massacre (in five part harmony with full orchestration and stuff), you need to set aside 18:39.

You won't be disappointed.

Go now to YouTube

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant -- Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Monday, November 19, 2007

8" of snow

That was my unofficial estimate at 4:45 this monring!

So much for a dusting!




Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What to post, what to dump

I have 3 different posts, all in draft folder, waiting for the decision to post or dump. At least 2 may well be quite good...

Now to find the time to edit or trash them...



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

First snow of the season

The forecast going into last night was for a light dusting of snow. By 7AM, the trees in front of my home were down on the car.

As you can see, it wasn't that much snow, but it was wet and heavy (our afflicted evergreens now withstanding); so much for a light dusting.

The driveway blacktop was still visible, having held in the heat. Later in the afternoon, we went out on our errands. When we returned around 4:00, I cleared the no longer black top.

And again around 8:30.

There's allegedly 4-6" before morning. Welcome to winter.



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Saturday, November 17, 2007

24 Season 7 Trailer

Ok, so we're on a delay until the Writers Guild strike is over.

And this trailer is at least a few weeks old... but I've been trying not to read about 24 before the season starts. All that changed after I saw the 24 in 1994 pilot. So I started to seek out 24 info, and found the 24 Season 7 trailer over at 24fans.net.

We know Jack is back. Can you guess who else has returned??



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Friday, November 16, 2007

24: The Unaired 1994 pilot

While I am forced to wait for the damn writers strike to end, at least there's something good to watch in the meantime...


The worst part? I'm old enough to appreciate all of the gags!
H/T to Erik for pointing it out to me, and to College Humor.

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

The Return of Imus: Live from Town Hall

Good news to all die-hard Imus fans (many of whom have found your way to my humble blog these last few weeks):

Attend the historic, first WABC broadcast of Imus in the Morning
77 WABC Presents Imus In The Morning
with The Levon Helm Band
Live from Town Hall in New York City
on Monday Morning, December 3, 2007
6:00AM to 10:00AM

Ticket price: $100.00
The total ticket price of $100.00 will be donated to the Imus Ranch for Kids With Cancer.

More details and ordering at Imus Ranch Foods . As much of a lackey-toadie-sycophant I am for the I-man, it's too rich for my blood (and I can't spare the loss time). But it is good to see Citadel/WABC is backing his charitable efforts as well as his bringing him back to the airwaves.

I can't quite fathom why 77/WABC cut Ron Kuby, only to be replaced by a co-host du jour for Curtis Sliwa. I understand why WABC has loyalty to Curtis, but to have a somewhat rotating co-host - most often Attorney Jeffry Licthman or other WABC host Mark Simone - doesn't make sense to me since Curtis and Kuby did so well in their time slot as a pair.

It's not that I am angry they got cut for Imus; Curits & Kuby are fine talk hosts, but have never been my morning-drive favorite (I did like them in the evening). And I get why the parent company, Citadel, can enforce their domain and bump C&K for Imus.

But why did Kuby get shoved out the door several weeks ahead of time? It doesn't make sense.



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The agenda of the Speaker Pelosi still remains unclear

UPDATED: see end:

It's been since January that Speaker Pelosi has held the gavel in the US House of Representatives, and prior today, there have been 41 bills passed to begin defunding the Iraq war, and only one made it to President Bush's desk (which was predictably, promptly vetoed).

Tonight, this bulletin came in:

FNC ALERT:
HOUSE PASSES $50 BILLION BILL TO PAY FOR IRAQ WAR

So Speaker Pelosi has failed, yet again, to attach strings to the Commander in Chief's Constitutionally protected efforts.

Why?

Could it be that despite the rhetoric, Mrs. Pelosi and her Democrats know that the war was and remains necessary, and in fact is proving successful?

Maybe the story we've been fed all year, that the November 2006 election was a message to bring the troops home now wasn't as loud as some would have made you think.



Updated 9:00, 15-Nov

OK, I was wrong: After all of the years I've been blogging, you'd think I would have read the entire story before posting last night. But I was sore, tired (my workouts are hell) and just out of a shower, and while I have no one to blame but myself, I should have read the story before voicing my opinion. I could easily delete the post, but I would rather own up to my mistake and move forward.

That much said, even if the bill (referred to above) passes the Senate, there's no chance in hell it will ever get signed by President Bush, nor will the votes be there to override it.

Further reading states that the Bill specifically calls for prisoner treatment that is in-line with the Geneva Conventions. What is missing is that the Bill's supporters only want to follow part of the Geneva Conventions; the parts that outline what a lawful combatant is, and what treatment those prisoners are entitled to receive (as opposed to unlawful combatants) is always overlooked.

That Speaker Pelosi couldn't persuade 15 members of her own party to vote in favor of this retreat bill (the final vote came 218-203) speaks volumes about her leadership abilities in the House.

This 110th Congress will go down in history as the Congress that got nothing, substantial, accomplished.



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fear and loathing at Q&A

There has been A LOT of ink concerning Sen. Hillary Clinton taking a prepared question (or two).

First off, I am not seeing this a crime of the century. We do expect more from our top-tier candidates (especially one who claims so-much experience), but I am not so naive not to expect handlers to help give soft-balls to their candidates. This is not to say I would be so easy on alleged respective journalists doing the same thing, since theirs is a profession where being unbiased part of their stock and trade.

Be that as it may, what is interesting is when the words of Mrs. Clinton are studied a bit more than the set-up would have you expect.

To refresh your memory (paraphrased):

Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff: As a young person, I am worried about the effects of Global Warming...

Sen. Clinton: Well you should be worried...

So if we get beyond the fact that Ms. Gallo-Chasanoff was a plant, we can focus on Sen. Clinton's answer: you should be worried.

Aren't the political foes of President Bush always talking about he and his administration are always trying to frighten the electorate into doing his bidding?

How is it when a duly-elected (and re-elected) President speaks of legitimate threats (backed by our international allies), it's considered a lie. But when a political foe refers to an hugely unsubstantiated and widely disputed issue (i.e. global warming) as something to be feared, it goes by, seemingly unchallenged?

You know who should be concerned? Ms. Gallo-Chasanoff; her collegiate career is in severe trouble, once the well-known majority of Left-leaning professors get through with her grades.



Sources: Huffington Post, The Nation, CampaignIran.org, Weather Channel Founder says Global Warming is Hoax



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

100 Years

I'm 15 for a moment
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are

I'm 22 for a moment
and she feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15 there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live


I'm 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way,babe
A family on my mind

I'm 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy, Time to lose yourself
Within a morning star
15 I'm all right with you
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live


Half time goes by
Suddenly you’re wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...


I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are

15 there's still time for you
22 I feel her too
33 you’re on your way
Every day's a new day...

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live...


Link to YouTube



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Monday, November 12, 2007

Drive-thru medicine (and this isn't a complaint!)

I had a most unusual flu shot yesterday. Not that the injection method was different - I have had the pressure injection delivery (a la Dr. McCoy) a few times when I was a kid - but rather where I was when the needle hit my upper arm.

Lehigh Valley Hospital offered drive-thru flu shots, and what's even better the shot was free (my office HRs offered then for $40).

In a parking lot covered in strategically placed orange cones, I was directed about to a staging area where a consent form was provided for my signature. A short time later - less than 3 minutes - I was directed to pull my car into one of four "stalls". A medical professional walked up, checked my consent form, asked me to bare my arm, and after a quick swab of alcohol jabbed me. The whole event took less than 10 minutes start to finish.

Come to think of it, I have no way of ensuring she was a medical professional, but ...

A lot of people I know are strongly against ANYone getting a flu shot, with the idea that the recent news of MSRA as a chief argument against them. With all that I've read, those concerns are, at best urban legends. The last thing my MBH and kids need is for me to catch the flu; that concern trumps all the other fears.

Another curiosity: remember in 2004, when the FDA shut down a lab because they didn't meet their standards, and suddenly some huge percentage of flu shots weren't available in the US? People went nuts. I have to have my shot! Now, tens of hundreds of shots may have been given away over this weekend -- all for free. Could the big shortage a few years ago been nothing more than media-driven hype?

Here's hoping the supposed allergic reaction I had last year doesn't happen again this year. Swollen face, swollen hands, and a hacking cough - enough to make me pay a visit to a local hospital's First Med - didn't fit any allergic diagnoses, but that is what even my GP said.

Stay tuned...



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Salute to Veterans, old and young

On the occasion of this holiday, often lost in weekend sales, I pause to pay tribute to the men and women who have given of their selves in defense of this great nation.

Our debt to them can never be paid (and, heaven knows, this nation has never even come close to the mark), but we can at least take a moment to call on a Vet, pick up a phone, send an e-mail, maybe shake their hand, and thank them for their service.

It would be a small gesture on our part, but it would mean a great deal to them.

Link to my Veteran's Day message, 2006






Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Friday, November 09, 2007

No good turn...

So I was motoring on N.J.'s Garden State Parkway, heading northbound, somewhere up near mile marker 117. The road was clear, and I was looking forward to getting home on schedule.

And then I saw a silver BMW on the shoulder, with a flat on the left rear tire. And as I passed I saw a young woman trying to crack a lug-nut.

And I debated, quickly: the chauvinistic pig in me said I should pull over. But the tired, aching part of me (I did have a work out last night) reminded me I did leave the office late, and I was looking forward to get home (and who could forget yesterday's commute?).

Then I noticed the window was getting wet from a light shower.

So I pulled over.

I've changed a few dozen tires in my day, but this was my first BMW.

She was relieved. The tire had more steel belts on the outside of the tire than inside. She explained that she had been there about a half-hour, couldn't figure out the jack, and - worse, yet - couldn't even budge a lug-nut.

She introduced herself as Amy, and was heading to her home in West Point, in her sister's car. I sensed there was a story in there, but I declined pressing for it.

The lugs were frozen; I had to stand on the wrench to break them, and it was obvious this lithe gal would never have found the leverage or mass to budge turn them. BMWs, it turns out, have lug-bolts and not the more commonly found lug-nuts. This mattered only after I had to mount the spare: usually you hang the tire on the bolts and simply spin on a lug-nut or two before tightening. This was a balancing act to get one of the of lug-bolts threaded. There has to be an easy way to do this, but I didn't find it.

5 minutes later, the jack was down and the spare looked very low on air. So I led to the Cheesequake rest area and topped off her tire at the gas station.

Amy was grateful, and wanted my address to thank me in some way. I told her to be careful and headed on my way, knowing I had done my Boy Scout Good Turn of the Day.

A pity the traffic came to a stand still as I got back on the Parkway. That 25 minute detour cost me another 45 minutes in traffic.

As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished!



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

One less thing to watch

With so little worth watching on TV to begin with (in any season), what will I do with my Monday nights now??

23 Season 7 Returns in 2008Can someone, please, remind me again what kind of oppression TV show writers have ever experienced? It is not that I believe they shouldn't get more money when their work is out on DVDs or on cell phones: the Capitalist in me says they should get whatever the individual writers can negotiate, based on their merits. In that regard, more power to them

But the idea that the "Writers Guild of America" labor union protects their members from sweat-shop conditions sort of rings hollow where Hollywood writers are concerned, don't you think?


Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Sometimes the cold-hearted SOB in me has to speak up

I listen to a lot of talk radio. A LOT. One of my favorites is MARK LEVIN, the fastest growing talk-radio host in the country (also see Mark Levin Fan, a fabulous fan blog and discussion site). His legal acumen and Conservative values are second to none.

I can't listen to his show live (not much, at least) because he's on from 6-8PM, and unless I am running really late, I am always somewhere outside of my car during those hours. So I download his podcast each morning and listen to his show.

He has a new book out, Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish which describes the overwhleming joy of adopting a dog, how the lives of he and his family were changed by having the dog in their home, and the depression and sadness they went through during the dog's illness and when he was put down.

He is naturally promoting it, on several different shows (radio and TV), and during his own show. He's entitled, and it seems to be selling well.

I have just had enough, quite frankly, of the discussions surrounding the death of his pet, and of all the phone calls from listeners who have lost their pets. Some of these people are more than near-tears when they describe their animals final days, for example. It is unfortunate they have experienced a loss in their home, but there's something about how they're carrying on that, quite frankly, bothers me.

I have to wonder whether these people have ever suffered the death of a loved one - and I mean a human. If they go to pieces over the death of an animal, what happens if a parent, spouse or child should die?

I am not saying people shouldn't feel sorrow over death, even the death of a pet. I've had dogs in my life, and felt the sting when they died. Yes, it hurts. Yes, the pet is like a member of the family. But to sob on a phone, on a radio program, over an animal's death?

I know, I will take heat for this, but I chose my words carefully in the last paragraph: pets are like a member of the family, but they aren't a member of the family. There is a distinction. I have lived with pets most of my life, and I know they often become center points in homes where there are no children, or if the person has no significant other. And there was a time I had to put a dog down, and even bury one that had died. I get it.

I realize pets offer unconditional love, and that people think of them as like their best friend or like a child.

But if you can honestly tell me you would put a dog, a cat, or any other animal on the same level as a spouse or a child, then one of us is definitely missing something.

I wish nothing but success to Mark Levin, and I hope the pain of his loss lessens over time. I may not listen to him as often as I used to, for the next few weeks, but that doesn't mean I don't agree with his political or philosophical points of view.

Life is far too short to spend weeks pouring over the death of a pet.

Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

FINALLY!!!!!

It's about time!


Now, from BATTLEBRICKS....



It's The Lego NXT Mindstorms Toilet Flusher Robot!!! And it's polite, too!


My oldest son has the Mindstorm.... can't wait until he gets it up and running!

Yes, I realize this is the height of laziness... but be truthful: we all have seen how lazy some people can be when it comes to toilets!



,



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Somewhere, Ol' Murphy is laughing his ass off


Today is a big presentation day for upper management. A presentation that I am leading. So I leave home early.... only to face 2 traffic incidents:

  • one that closed 2 lanes of the Interstate with a 10 mile back up.
  • The other incident, some 18 miles later, closed all of the lanes that led from the original Interstate to the next Interstate I needed. Trying to backtrack and detour around the Don't get me started on New Jersey's asinine penchant for jug-handles....

Ordinarily, when someones commute time is increased by 40-50%, its annoying. When your basic commute is 2 hours... you get the idea.



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right."

"I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right." - attributes vary

I'd like to take this time to address several who have written, pointing out that Google sends people who misspell Activist Attorney and current ex-morning drive talk radio personality Ron Kuby as Kubie. I did note I had his name wrong in several posts regarding Curtis & Kuby in connection with Don Imus' rehire, and have since corrected it.

I can't help it if Google is late in updating their cache.

(Yeah, its also an act of selfish promotion on my part. Sue me.)



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Election Day

It's Election Day! So it isn't a major election this year; that doesn't relieve you of your duty and responsibility as a citizen to exercise your right to vote. Never forget those purple-fingered citizens of Iraq in their voting efforts!

A quick look about at ballots:

  • Few Pennsylvania state-wide ballots: It ought to be pretty easy to cast my vote later this evening. All I have to vote for a bunch of judges and sheriff. In particular, Justice Tom Saylor is running to retain in the PA State Supreme Court. Justice Saylor has ruled fairly, in particular in cases involving cyber-charter schools, and deserves to keep his seat in the face of the challenges funded by teacher unions.

    Philadelphia has a mayoral race; I confess I haven't paid too much attention there as my travels no longer take me into the city that often. Anyone who can get the murder rate in the City of Brotherly Love lower than that of Anbar Province deserves to replace the disgraceful outgoing Mayor John Street.
  • Connecticut makes history today: No, it's not about hanging chads (see humorous off-topic link), but rather about progress:
    Connecticut Post Online: Tuesday's election will be the first time that optical scan machines, the most prevalent voting technology in the country, will be used statewide.

    Although some voters may mourn the passing of the aquamarine lever voting machine, which was first used in the state in 1932, election officials and political experts say it's time for a better way of casting and counting votes.
  • NJ looks to protect the right of idiots to vote. In the words of Dave Barry: I am not making this up.
  • NJ looks to fund embryonic stem-cell research: Every couple of years this comes around. Today is no different than the last times I spoke on this, except I have even more ammo to defend my position.

    Let me make some definitive statements, all of which are facts, followed by a few questions.:
  • I have a loved one who affected by spinal-cord and nerve damage. That gives me no more rights than anyone else, but since supporters of embryonic stem-cell research always ask what if you have a loved one affected? I thought I'd throw it into the discussion early on.
  • President Bush has never made embryonic stem-cell research illegal. He merely denied federal funding of it; private investors are free to do as they wish.
  • NJ's Governor John Corzine ran on a campaign that his business acumen would benefit the state.
  • Pharmaceutical companies are always looking for the next big thing, more often than not without any government financing incentives. Many pharmaceutical giants are based in NJ, particularly in northeastern corner of the state.
  • Adult stem-cell research has produced at least 72 benefits to patients, including those afflicted with spinal injury, nerve damage and Parkinson's disease (source).
  • Embryonic stem-cell research has produced 0 benefits to patients (source, source).
  • Now a few questions:

  • What pharmaceutical companies are endorsing government funding of stem-cell research?
  • Does anyone think savvy stock investors would hesitate a moment to invest in this potential market if there was a reasonable chance of success?
  • Does anyone know what investment, if any, Gov. Corzine has made into the field of stem-cell research?

Get out and vote today! If you are legally registered (i.e. a legal citizen) don't let anyone disenfranchise your right!

,
,
,


Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

If I was a flight attendant...

...this would be my schtick


Funny Videos




Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Monday, November 05, 2007

Beef Recall

Carnivores in the northeast heard of another beef recall this weekend.

More than a million pounds of ground beef produced at the Cargill plant in Wyalusing (PA) has been recalled because it may be contaminated by E. coli bacteria.

The ground beef products recalled were produced at the Wyalusing plant between October 8 and 11, 2007, and were distributed to retailers nationwide.

Cargill learned of the possibility of contamination after the U.S. Department of Agriculture returned a confirmed positive on a sample of product produced October 8, 2007.

"No illnesses have been associated with this product," said John Keating, president, Cargill Regional Beef. "We are working closely with the USDA to remove the product from the marketplace."

A complete list of store brands and product descriptions affected is here.

I don't need to detail the problems with E. coli bacteria; it is widely known. It seems every few months there's another news report about beef or vegetables contaminated by E. coli, so no one should be completely in the dark (but click on the CDC link above, if you are).

The issue that bugs me, however, is this: unless you're a fan of steak tartar, you have almost a zero-chance of being affected by this contamination. Cook your meat to 160° and you and yours will be fine.

While I recognize pork is not on every one's menu, anyone who does eat it knows you must cook it to 170° to avoid trichinosis. Yet we never hear recalls because someone failed to follow this procedure.

Mind you: I am not saying you shouldn't eat beef prepared rare. I am a found of cooking my steaks (for my own consumption) just a tad past mooing. Many people speak of the health benefits of rare steak, I just like mine red and dripping.

The point is, while proper cleanliness is essential in all forms of food preparation (and especially where E. coli is concerned, it is a simple case of abject laziness and poor employee oversight) we're becoming hysterical with these recalls. Yes, the food ought NOT be tainted, but if it is properly cooked there isn't a need for these millions of dollars of beef being trashed.



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Imus' Return: the cost

I won't even pretend to speak of the contract price Citadel Broadcasting paid to bring J.D. Imus back to radio; CBS paid him in the area of $10M annually, so you can make your own guesstimate.

But what of the other costs?
  • Right off the bat, Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby take a hit; Curtis is one of the voices of NYC. He's always on local and cable news shows, so he's a known commodity. That 77/WABC reportedly reaches 38 states demonstrates how well known his voice is, since he's done nearly every broadcast shift (at least once), and is heard on dozens of radio commercials around the clock on WABC. It has been suggested Curtis will be teamed up with mid-day host John Gambling (of the Rambling with Gambling dynasty fame), but that's a slap in his face. That slot runs 2 hours (minus the 15 minutes to Paul Harvey's News and Commentary and he and Gambling aren't diametrically opposed on most issues. With Bob Grant in the PM, following the gang-busters rise of Mark Levin, there's nothing left even remotely prime time for Curtis.

    Ron Kuby was wise to get his goodbye out early. As he said on Oct. 15th, he's said his goodbye several times in the over 7 years on WABC, and sooner or later, he was going to be right. After the show last Thursday, he was asked not to return to WABC. On Friday, for at least the 2 hours I listened, no mention was made of his fate. The morning news reports did, of course, carry the story of Imus' return, but there was no discussion beyond it.

    Kuby feels an ironic twist in this whole affair. Newsday quotes Kuby:
    "While I condemned what Imus said, I also said I didn't think he should be fired," Kuby said. "It's hard to talk for 25 hours a week and not say something stupid."
    Kuby was one of the few broadcasters to stand up for Imus. Sadly for Kuby, I'm sure Citadel didn't give that any thought.

  • George Weber (the NewsGuy) is also hit hard. He, like Kuby, was absent on Friday. The morning news anchor will be displaced by the return of Charles McCord to airways. No room for two news anchors (ask any who remember what as MSNBC learned in the hey-day of Charles and one of their news-bunnies!). George was not the front-men on the program, but his contributions could not be ignored. Sadly, his displacement is not of his doing.

  • Local Drive Time: I read on Brian Maloney's RadioEqualizer some teeth nashing over local talent on the Citadel/ABC radio network being bumped by Imus' return, as if it was Imus' fault. Please. These personalities, if they've been in the business any length of time, know they can be hit at any minute. Besides, who complained when the local talent's competition in Mr. Imus had vanished back in April? In fact, Mr. Maloney cheered Imus' departure!

    If, as Mr. Maloney asserts, Imus won't carry ratings, time will tell soon enough. Besides, while Imus may not bring huge numbers in pure demos, he does bring a successful and upwardly mobile audience; he must have, else CBS was paying him those millions for no good reason all those years.

    And as for those other hosts? If their markets demand them, they'll be back on-air soon enough. They aren't being fired for anything they've said, nor purely ratings, so their contracts won't prohibit them returning to their home markets.

    Sadly, syndicated broadcasting hurts local markets; there's no question. The only solution is to create new programs that attract listeners, and the ratings will come.
Darwinism in business, especially radio broadcasting, is a good thing.

NOTE: Out of full disclosure, it should be noted I have referenced Mr. Maloney's otherwise fine website in my own in the past, I have long disagreed with his out-right dislike of all thing Imus (long before April '07). As such, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised my comments in defense of Imus in Maloney's referenced post (above) were deleted. It is his blog, and he's doing light-years more traffic than my humble blog does, so he's entitled to do what he wants.

Much like Citadel, when you think about it.



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Overdue acknowledgement

I am sorely overdue for posting these acknowledgments, and there is no one to blame but myself.

In this world of bloggers (remember: I don't like the term blogosphere) I've been fortunate enough to meet (virtually speaking) a number of fine people, of all political stripes. Spend some time clicking in blogroll in the right margin (go on... you know you want to) or check my feed list, you'll see that despite my Conservative positions, I do read a lot of stuff on all sides.

But that's enough about my reading. Among the many cyber-pals I am flattered to have garnered over these years:
  • Alex C of PA Watercooler (and Three Sources) took time out of his day to give me a birthday greeting on Thursday. For all interested in discussions of Politics, especially related to the Keystone State, be sure to visit and bookmark PA Watercooler.

  • Kim Lucas, like Alex, was undoubtedly alerted to my birthday the same way (dang that FB profile), and also sent me a greeting. She's the kind of person I envision all top-shelf doctors to be/should be: caring, hard working, and a little nutty (in the good sense). She's on her way to that degree, and the patient world will be a better place when she gets there.
These greetings were flattering and certainly a pleasant surprise.

To them, I raise a toast of thanks. To all others, follow the links and send them a hit or two.



It sorta-kinda makes me feel guilty for not putting my real birth date in that profile.



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Friday, November 02, 2007

An Oath of Service

I am grateful for the world of blogs (I am sooo tired of the term blogosphere) for helping to educate me.

Jay Tea at Wizbang describes the Foreign Service office that has been the focal point of some attention this week, and about those who commit themselves to the service:

[The] Foreign Service Officers have more than a little in common with military officers. Both have commissions, both take oaths of service, and both (in theory) understand that they may be sent pretty much anywhere in the world as their services are needed.

There are major differences, though. As I understand it, only a single State Department employee has been killed in Iraq, and he was not a Foreign Service Officer. Also, FSOs can resign their commission at any time, and apply to another part of the State Department or leave the Department entirely.

It seems that not only I was ignorant of the roles and responsibilities of the FSOs, but apparently so were many of the people who took their oath of office to be one! Why else would they stand before their director in defiance of their oaths?

Read more here, especially if you're as ignorant as I was in regards to this important office.




Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rumor no more: Imus to WABC Radio

Drudgereport had it first, now it's official

Citadel Broadcasting Corporation and 77WABC Radio today announced the hiring of Don Imus as the station’s new morning host beginning Monday, December 3rd. Imus is bringing his team back to the radio on 77 WABC including newsman Charles McCord. The show will air 6am to 10am on 77WABC and will be syndicated nationally by the ABC Radio Network.


“We are ecstatic to bring Don Imus back to morning radio,” said 77WABC President & General Manager Steve Borneman. “Don’s unique brand of humor, knowledge of the issues and ability to attract big-name guests is unparalleled. He is rested, fired up and ready to do great radio on the nations most listened to News/Talk radio station, 77WABC.” more...
No word (yet) on the fate of Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby; I'll be in my car by 05:00, so it will be an unusual show, no doubt.



Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

Dispicable Radicals get verdict they deserve

Good news, indeed.

Father of slain Marine wins case against funeral protesters: The brokenhearted father of a Marine killed in Iraq won a long-shot legal fight today after a federal jury in Baltimore awarded him nearly $11 million in a verdict against members of a Kansas church who hoisted anti-gay placards at his son's Westminster funeral.The jury's announcement 24 hours after deliberations first began was met with tears and hugs from the family and supporters of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, whose March 2006 funeral was protested by members of the Westboro Baptist Church with signs including "Thank God for dead soldiers."

Snyder's father, Albert, won on every count of his complaint, as well as $2.9 million for compensatory damages and $8 million for punitive damages...

The Marine's father from York, Pa., sued the church and three of its members for intentionally invading his privacy because his deceased son did not have that right any longer. For the claim to be successful, the jury needed to conclude that the church's actions at the funeral -- and later, in a posting about Matthew Snyder on its Web site -- were "highly offensive to a reasonable person," according to the jury instructions.

As I said once before, my original take on Westboro Baptist (which, reportedly, have no connection to any mainstream Baptist church) was a positive one in regards to their signs proclaiming Thank God for dead soldiers. Truly, none of us would be here, today, without the sacrifices of brave soldiers (many of whom died).

That much said, this group has every right to speak their mind, but no right to disrupt a solemn service or other private affair. That their message is filled with hate - a message I do abhor - is not the primary issue. In this nation, we're all free to think as we please. We're even allowed to be assholes, if we want, and these people certainly fit that bill.

But no one has the right to be openly and boisterously offensive.

The Westboro Baptist Church, in my mind, share a circle of hell not unlike another hateful group: the Taliban.




Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook

After the glow (of the pumpkin) fades

A fairly uneventful evening best describes this years All Hallow's Eve.

Our township dictates that Trick or Treating shall occur between the hours of 5-7 PM. Since the altered DST, that means much of the door-to-door business happens in the waining daylight; hardly fun for most kids, if you ask me.

The other problem is that time frame limits flexibility. My MBH and I have two kids. So one of us mans the candy bowl while the other takes the kids around. The oldest is almost 12, but there's still too much goings on to comfortably let him take his 4 year old brother door to door. If no other reason, the 12 year old keeps running ahead and the 4 year old can't keep up (not his fault, of course).

So I try to balance hitting sufficient homes in the neighborhood for the kids to get a good load, and then circle back to relieve the MBH so dinner could be prepared.

We had about 75 ghosts, fairies, ninjas, and assorted cartoon characters. At least 2 boys whose age I'd estimate to be under 13 were dressed as pimps (how charming!); one claimed he was an Urban Gangsta.

One girl came dressed as Cat Woman; she was tall, I'd say 5'5"-5'7", and wore what my best guess was latex, possibly even sprayed on. By age and oh-so-obvious development, I'd guess her age to be at least 16 years; perhaps she was rehearsing for a future career as a stripper.

The kids who came to my home decidedly received a better selection of treats than my kids did at other homes. A lot of Bit-O-Honey (didn't know it was still made!), lots of individually wrapped SourBalls, etc. All small stuff. We were giving out standard-sized Reeese's, Hershey's, etc. MBH shops for these treats beginning in August, long before the thumbnail-sized Fun Size bags appear... she's knows when to get bargins.

I am appalled, frankly, at the number of kids who failed to say Trick or Treat and even more who didn't bother to say thank you. I'm not talking about the kidlets who are shy, or who never experienced this ritual before. I'm talking the boisterous ones who push in front of the others (like the shy ones), shove their bag in your face, and before their candy hits the bottom of the bag are racing up the driveway, yelling to their friends Yeah! I got good stuff!

More than a few times I spoke up to the silent kids by pointedly saying You're Welcome. Usually they sheepishly said thank you, but twice I got what best could be described as evil looks, as if I dared to correct them. (Note: no evidence of Tricks were found on my property this morning).

I was reminded of the rules I intended on posting after Halloween '05; next year I'll add 'Be Polite' and will post them, since the lack of courtesy seems to be growing.

Near the end of the evening, a couple and a few kids come down the driveway. The conversation of the night went like this:

He: Hey, there he is! How've you been?

Me: Doing good, how are you.

Note: I haven't a clue (yet) who this guy is.

She: How are you? Ben never introduces me; I'm only his wife, Autumn.

Me: Autumn! Pleased to meet you; I'm Charlie.

Ben: I haven't seen you in awhile! Where have you been?

Now the only Ben I know in recent years is 17 year old Boy Scout, so I know well he isn't him. As I am often faced with situations where people remember me even when I don't remember them, I started into my usual interrogation.

Me: I've been keeping busy. What are you doing these days?

Ben: Oh you, know. Same old, same old.

Autumn: So tell me, Charlie, how do you know my Ben?

OK, I'm busted.

Me: I gotta level with you, I have no clue. Ben, I apologize, but in this light I can't recall where we know each other.

It was dark, so it was a plausible excuse.

Ben: Blockbuster video.

Me: Blockbuster?

Ben: Yeah, you know the Blockbuster in town_that's_15_miles_from_here.

Me: Um, Ben, I haven't stepped foot in any Blockbuster in at least 4 years.

Ben: Well, yeah, Ok. Well I haven't worked there in over 3 years now, either.

Me: So... that means... you remember me as a customer?

Ben: You really don't remember? I was the manager.

Autumn: Well its nice to finally meet you!

Me: Ummm.... OK.

I think I gotta start making friends to balance against all these unusual people who seem to want to know me.




Sphere: Related Content
DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook