My Screenplay

I came up with an idea for a screenplay. I am going to call it "Hair Today Gone Tomorrow." It is the story of a toupee that is worn by various men and the hair raising experiences they encounter while wearing the toupee.

No really, I am working on it as we speak.

My Experience as a Woman

No, I am not a transvestite, transexual or tran anything, but back in the day I did learn a little bit about what it could be like to be a woman in the online world.

I first went online around 1993 or so. At that time I was part of the AOL crowd and I spent time in their chatrooms and a couple of BB around the net.

I used my fraternity nickname as my handle because I didn't want to give up my anonymity. I quickly learned that for some reason a number of men thought that I was female and consequently I'd get these interesting messages which skipped over the normal intro which went:

A/S/L

For the uninitiated that refers to age/sex/location.

Instead I'd find these men trying to email or private message me with all sorts of questions. The smoother men generally were smart enough not to start with something overtly sexual, but in time it almost always got there.

Some of you are probably wondering how it got there, didn't I tell them I was a man. And the answer is that I generally tried to, but if I didn't respond right away many of these guys just assumed that I was female and kept on going.

And sometimes I didn't even realize that they thought I was a woman because the conversation had started so innocuously with basic questions that had assumed that they were just being friendly.

But I quickly learned that from behind a keyboard men were willing to say anything. I remember one conversation in particular.

Me: Do you like oral sex? Do you swallow?
Him: Only on me. I don't swallow until I finish chewing.

Him: I bet that you are really hot.
Me: I don't think that I am who you are looking for.

Him: I want to stick my head in your chest and play motor boat.
Me: Didn't you hear me, I don't think that I am who you are looking for.

Him: Baby, I have been watching you and you are so smart and it is so obvious that you are a hot chick.
Me: I am not a chick. I am a man and I am as straight as they come.

Him: He goes off on a tirade accusing me of being gay and tries to smear my name around the chat room.

A short time goes by and I am contacted by someone else. He is convinced that I am a woman pretending to be a man and begs to exchange pictures.

Him: Honey, I can make you feel really good.
Me: I am male and I really have no interest in you.

Him: Don't play me like that. My girlfriend always pretends to be a man when she is online.
Me: You sound like a real winner. Go away.

Him: Baby, please give me a a chance.
Me: Dude, I told you once that I am a man. Just go away.

Him: It is ok, I like hairy women.
Me: How do you infer that? What the hell makes you think that I am a hairy woman. There is something distinctly wrong with you.

Him: I knew that you were a dike. Bitch!

I admit to being very surprised by this. I never lied about who I was or made a secret of it. And I haven't even brought up the emails I received. Some of these guys wrote things that I was just shocked by. What the hell were they thinking?

All I know is that if this is indicative of how men treat women then someone needs to apologize for us because it was just so over the top. Ouch.

Stories from the Hurricane

CNN has an interesting roundup of their reporters perspectives. Here is a link and a couple of blurbs.

"Shreveport hospital in dire need

Posted: 12:36 p.m. ET
CNN's Deborah Feyerick in Shreveport, Louisiana

We had a conversation with one family who had left New Orleans. They are desperately trying to get in touch with their sister. She is a college nurse at the Memorial Medical Hospital on Napoleon Street. The story they told us of what is going on at that hospital is quite dramatic.

According to their sister, looters are trying to get into the hospital. There's no electricity. The nurses, the doctors and their families have virtually locked themselves into the medical center and they don't know when they are going to be able to get out.

The story they were telling us is that the hospital administration was telling the staff there it would be five days until they might be able to be rescued. They are telling us that people in the hospital are dying because there's no electricity.

One nurse walked outside to get a breath of fresh air. She was robbed at gunpoint. There were National Guard that was around the hospital, but apparently we are told they pulled out in order to help with the prisoner uprising that happened yesterday.

And according to the story they are telling the people who are in that hospital simply don't know how they are going to get out. They want their sister to try to meet them in Shreveport. Right now they can't get in touch with her. We tried to call her. We can't get in touch with the hospital either. It's a desperate situation."


"In New Orleans, there's no sanitation any longer. The knee-deep water in the hotel lobby is just full of stench. It is a miserable, deteriorating situation in the city and it is growing worse by the hour and the water is rising.

The fact of the matter is this bowl, as they call it, is filling up. The estimates of time that it's going to take to get the water out of the bowl are three to six months. You could be sitting there in absolutely untenable conditions, in water that is filled with disease and germs, for months to come, walking through it, slogging through it.

With the looting that's going on and with the deteriorating sanitation conditions, it is a situation where you can't cover the story because you can't venture out from the hotel. It's so dangerous, one, because the water is getting higher, and two, because of the disease factor that is beginning. There's no food, there's no water."

"We have seen looting all day long. We actually went right up to a Walgreens where people were trying on shoes to get the correct size. They were picking out whatever it is they wanted -- televisions, just anything they could get. The police have definitely been trying to keep it to a minimum. The police are in boats but there's really nothing they can do. I don't know where they would even take anybody. They are taking all the looted material and they are trying to keep the chaos to a minimum."

New Orleans, Biloxi, Katrina Etc

I am transfixed by everything that is going on in relation to Hurricane Katrina. It is another sign about how small we are in relationship to the earth. Mother Nature burps and we go running for the hills.

Some of the clips I have read have just held my attention.

"A million people fled the New Orleans area before Katrina arrived. But former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged U.S. President George W. Bush to send more troops.

"We have to send the army to stop this or we will lose New Orleans and we will lose 80,000 people," Barthelemy told CNN. "If we can spend the monies that we are spending to help the people in Iraq, then we can do the same thing for New Orleans."

The U.S. military was sending a hospital ship and two helicopter-carriers to assist two other Navy ships already conducting rescues in the area. Governors of the afflicted states mobilized 8,000 National Guard troops.

Amid the looting, gun-toting citizens took to the streets in some areas to try to restore order in New Orleans. Where it was still dry, some store owners sat in front of their businesses, guns in hand.

One had put up a sign reading: "You loot, I shoot."

I am so curious how the former mayor arrived at that number. I have to imagine that the evacuation created the worlds biggest traffic jam. It must have been so hard to leave not knowing if there was anything to come back to.

And the looters, what the hell are they thinking. Talk about making a bid situation worse. This does not help with my opinion of the general public.

"New Orleans at first appeared to have received a glancing blow from Katrina, but the raging waters of Lake Pontchartrain tore holes in the levees that protect the low-lying city, then slowly filled it up.

Mayor Ray Nagin said 80 percent of the city was submerged in water that was in places 20 feet (6 metres) deep.

Attempts failed on Tuesday to plug a 200-foot gap (60-metre-) in the levee system with 3,000-pound (1,360-kg) sandbags and concrete barriers, but officials said they would keep trying.

"The National Guard has been dropping sandbags into it, but it's like dropping it into a black hole," Blanco said.

The lake should return to normal levels within about 36 hours, and the water now flooding New Orleans would begin to drain, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers senior project engineer Al Naomi.

CARJACKINGS

He said the historic French Quarter, the main draw for New Orleans' huge tourist industry, should escape with only minor flooding because it sits 5 feet (1.5 metres) above sea level.

But Nagin estimated it would be 12 to 16 weeks before residents could return. The floods knocked out electricity, contaminated the water supply and cut off most highway routes into New Orleans.

In hard-hit Jefferson Parish, parish president Aaron Broussard said, "Jefferson Parish as we knew it is gone forever."

Police said there were dozens of carjackings overnight, by desperate survivors trying to leave town or obtain supplies. Somebody fired at a rescue helicopter Tuesday night, forcing its crew to abandon efforts to evacuate patients from a hospital, a state official said.

Authorities were so intent on rescuing flood victims that at first they let the looting go unstopped, Nagin said.

But he told CNN the situation had escalated and authorities were "bringing it under control as we speak."

He said 3,500 National Guard troops were being sent to New Orleans. Louisiana state police were sending 40 troopers and two armored personnel carriers."

I understand desperate situations. I survived the LA Riots and the Northridge earthquake. That picture is of a parking structure at the university I attended. Eleven years later there are still some places that were never rebuilt,homes and businesses that were lost, perhaps forever.

But this is different. The size of the storm and the number of people affected is vast. I expect that New Orleans will be rebuilt, but some of the smaller towns that were hit, what will become of them.

Some of the long time fixtures are now just gone and I don't know if they will ever be replaced.

When my grandfather was a much younger man he worked in the carnival business. They used to spend the winters in New Orleans. I grew up hearing some amazing stories about that city. And from what I heard from people who lived/visited there it sounded like some of the haunts he used to frequent were still there.

I had wanted to visit and to have a drink or two in some of the places I heard about. I thought that it would be kind of cool for me to hang out there 70 some odd years later. Now I wonder if that will even be possible.

Don't get me wrong, I am not bemoaning the opportunity to share a beer. The tragedy of this far outweighs and overwhelms my small desire.

As I said, I cannot help but be amazed by all of this. My best wishes go out to those who were most severely impacted. I hope that the repair, return and recovery is as fast as possible.

My Favorite Food Fight

Yes ladies and gents, the world renowned Tomatina has just been completed. Although I should say that I have a burning desire to participate in a large pie fight. You can blame that upon the Three Stooges.

BUNOL, Spain (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people armed with 100 tonnes of plum tomatoes took part in the "Tomatina" on Wednesday, joyously splattering each other in the Spanish town of Bunol.

The town hall of Bunol, which lies just inland from Valencia on Spain's Mediterranean coast, spent 24,960 euros on the fruit and dumped it the streets for the chanting masses.

Five truckloads of vitamin C and fiber were soon pureed on El Cid Street, the ripe redness smeared over walls and people.

"I feel like I connected with a lot of people today," said Karina Evans, 21, of Australia.

Frenzy erupted around the dump trucks and competition for the edible missiles was fierce. Whole tomatoes on the ground were treasured like ruby Easter eggs.

Kate Monroe, 28, and Ryan Altman, 31, both of San Diego, California, reflected the general lack of inhibition by rubbing their barely clad, pulp-slathered bodies against each other.

Some gave a moment's thought for the less fortunate.

"We were just talking about (famine in Africa). We thought we should get some garlic, make pizza and send it off," Altman said.

The origin of the tomato fight is disputed -- everyone in Bunol seems to have a favorite story -- but most agree it started around 1940, in the early years of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

"There are several versions, but the most important thing is that it was started by the people," said Eusebio Carrascosa, 66, a member of the Tomatina commission.

Like the weeklong celebrations held throughout Spain in the summer, the Tomatina encourages all-night public revelry and behavior that's frowned on for the rest of the year.

"This is even better than the running of the bulls in Pamplona," said Australian Sandy Koch, 25, referring to another one of Spain's famous events.

Not everyone in Bunol joins the party.

"These are human degenerates. This isn't culture," said Pilar Masmano, 81, peeking out on the messy aftermath from her front door. "I'm going back inside."

Why Do I mess with my Template

You probably cannot tell, but there a few things that are missing here and they are starting to aggravate me. These are not major issues, but little nagging details that just prick me hard enough to sting.

But sooner or later I'll figure it out and Blogger will have to concede defeat.

Education, Common Sense and More

It has been a while since I felt the need to write about this, but it is time to sit down and share my thoughts about the enormous amount of information that is available online. It may sound a bit like a lecture and somewhat self-righteous but if you choose to continue to read you are forewarned.

I wander far and wide throughout the blogosphere and the Net in general. In my travels I come across sites that promote political thought, education, historical fact, general rhetoric, pornography and more.

I am a seeker of information and I expose myself to quite a bit. Some of the things that I have seen have been quite shocking and at times quite upsetting. I watched the film of Daniel Pearl's murder. It was a terrible sight, made worse because I have seen so many films it didn't look real to me. I had to force myself to remember that it was. Or maybe it was just the shock of it all.

After all we grew up in the same area, went to the same high school and even though I never met him it is fair to say that we spent time in some of the same places. If nothing else I can not only claim a common heritage but I came very close to becoming a professional journalist so it was easy to see myself in his shoes.

I watched the video because he was so very alone when he was murdered and in some twisted and perverse way it made me feel like I was there trying to give strength or maybe this is all a lot of B.S. I am not so sure, but I know that this much is true. It upset me terribly.

Above and beyond that video I have come across other items that I found to be terribly distressing, but I dealt with them. I dealt with them in the respect that I processed them and moved on which leads me to the real point.

All too often I think that people set aside their common sense and accept the written word at face value. Too little time is spent considering the validity and legitimacy of what is written. Too little time is spent verifying that the claims made are accurate, that the information that was presented is indeed fact.

And that concerns me because it provides a golden opportunity to engage in manipulation of minds and opinion. It worries me that so many people are willing to shut down their minds and just accept being spoonfed information.

People should get into the habit of confirming information. They should spend a few minutes considering what they are being told and determine if it makes sense. Take a moment to try and verify the claims and use a little common sense.

Educate yourself, you''ll be forever grateful.

Hurricane Katrina

"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
above us only sky
Imagine all the peopel
Living for today -- a-haw
Imagine there's no countries
It isnt' hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace -- a-haw

Chorus:
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
and the world will live as one.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
no need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world -- a-haw

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
and the world will live as one."
Available on the album, Imagine by John Lennon
I am not a big Lennon fan. I enjoy a lot of what he did, but I have never seen him as this symbol of peace and happiness that others have tried to make him into.

However, in light of the destruction wrought by the hurricane the song lyrics just felt right to me. I appreciate the thoughts and sentiment and I am quite thankful for the blessings I have in my own life and my thoughts go out to those who have lost so much.

Sometimes we really do walk upon the razor's edge.

F**king Austria

And on the lighter side of things.
LONDON, (AFP) - British tourists have left the residents of one charming Austrian village effing and blinding by constantly stealing the signs for their oddly-named village.

While British visitors are finding it hilarious, the residents of F---ing are failing to see the funny side, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported.

Only one kind of crimimal ever stalks the sleepy 32-house village near Salzburg on the German border -- cheeky British tourists armed with a sense of humour and a screwdriver.

But the local authorities are hitting back and with the signs now set in concrete, police chief Kommandant Schmidtberger is on the lookout.

"We will not stand for the F---ing signs being removed," the officer told the broadsheet.

"It may be very amusing for you British, but F---ing is simply F---ing to us. What is this big F---ing joke? It is puerile."

Local guide Andreas Behmueller said it was only the British that had a fixation with F---ing.

"The Germans all want to see the Mozart house in Salzburg," he explained.

"Every American seems to care only about 'The Sound of Music' (the 1965 film shot around Salzburg). The occasional Japanese wants to see Hitler's birthplace in Braunau.

"But for the British, it's all about F---ing."

Guesthouse boss Augustina Lindlbauer described the village's breathtaking lakes, forests and vistas.

"Yet still there is this obsession with F---ing," she said.

"Just this morning I had to tell an English lady who stopped by that there were no F---ing postcards."

I Operate on My Own Time and Schedule

I operate on my own time and schedule. You know who you are. Perhaps I'll elaborate more on this later.

'The Blues Brothers' marks 25 years with new DVD edition

One of my favorite movies of all time.

"It's been 25 years since the release of "The Blues Brothers," a manic comedy crammed with music, dancing and action scenes, filmed largely in Chicago, directed by Landis and starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as music-loving brothers who find themselves "on a mission from God."

As Jake and Elwood, the "Saturday Night Live" led police, Illinois Nazis and a furious country act on spectacular chases ("Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail us now") and reunited their band to raise $5,000 to save their childhood home -- the St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud orphanage.

And while the cult classic appeared on screens in the summer of 1980, its influence is still felt -- in the various musical ventures in which Aykroyd remains involved, its influential soundtrack, the countless times it airs on television each year, and the boost it gave to Chicago's then-dormant film industry.

Plus, the movie highlighted musical legends such as John Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles.

"I think you can see in the movie how passionate, really passionate John and Danny were about the music," Landis said. "It's a unique situation where you have two guys who are exploiting their own celebrity of the moment to focus a spotlight on these great acts."

Looting In New Orleans

I was really disappointed with this story, but one line in particular struck me.

"Mike Franklin stood on the trolley tracks and watched the spectacle unfold.

"To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it's an opportunity to get back at society," he said."

What the hell is wrong with him. That is so twisted and so wrong. I hate people who make excuses like this. There are a lot of people who have grown up with next to nothing that do not resort to stealing.

'Winning a Debate'

I have no problem admitting that I like to get the last word in. You can call me a controlling last word freak, ok you cannot call me that because someone already did. But the reality is that in a real debate you must agree to use facts.

Because it is only with factual support that you can make a determination of the truth of whatever you are debating. All too often people use their opinion as a substitute for fact. It is a nice idea and I wish that people would accept my opinion on all matters, but it is not real.

There are few instances in which a person is considered to be an expert on a topic and in those few cases their opinion may carry more weight. But in practice debates should be limited to fact and not fiction.

The current climate in the US and in many other places around the world seems to ignore this as all too often we see very angry people blathering on about this and that and what they think should happen. That is all fine and dandy, but without fact, it generates way too much fluff.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Why, oh why do I keep seeing your faces on magazines and in the news. I don't care what you do or where you go. Angelina is clearly nuts. There is something not quite right there, maybe it is the incest thing with her brother and Brad Pitt is just a pretty face with limited acting ability.

Go away.

Egypt vows to work for full Palestinian 'liberation'

Of course no one mentions that Egypt occupied Gaza from 1948-67. At no time did they ever offer the land to anyone. Strange how things work, or perhaps not so strange.

GAZA CITY (AFP) - A senior Egyptian envoy told the Palestinian parliament that Cairo would work "hand in hand" with the Palestinians for an end to Israel'soccupation of all territory seized in 1967."

I have the pleasure of being with you to convey the congratulations of President (Hosni) Mubarak and his commitment that we stay hand in hand with you until all Palestinian territory, in the West Banknd as well as Gaza, is liberated," Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman said on Tuesday.

He was addressing Palestinian MPs on behalf of Mubarak during a visit aimed at shoring up a de facto Palestinian militant truce and discussing border crossings after Israel's landmark pullout from the Gaza Strip.

He said Egypt supported Palestinian efforts towards "the complete and total freedom of land occupied in 1967 to pave the way to the creation of a Palestinian state that will take its place in the Arab nation."

"Our security cannot be guaranteed while you are being threatened. We cannot rejoice while you suffer. We will not be silent until you have recovered your legitimate rights," he added.

Suleiman also said Egypt would work together with the Palestinians "to bring an end to the suffering which has lasted for so long" and in order to assure the "territorial and human links" between Gaza and neighbouring Egypt."

An Old Post Revisited- The Akedah

I wrote this last month but decided to dig it up again.
The Akedah- All Sorts of Questions

I have been engaging in a discussion outside of the MOT circles about the Akedah over here that brought up a number of questions for me that I have mulled over the years.

1) Old Abe fought with G-d about Sdom and tried to save the city, where is argument here?
2) How can you sacrifice your children?
3) What happened to Yitzhak afterwards?

Now I suppose I can kind of buy into the line that discusses this within a historical context in which it may not have been seen as being completely meshugah to be asked to sacrifice a child, but that is a little tenuous for me.

I have wondered if this experience is part of the reason that Yitzhak was the father he was. Here is what I mean by this and some of this may stem from ignorance of the text, but I don't recall hearing much that makes me think of him as being father of the year material. Clearly his relationship with Yaacov and Esav suffered because of this and one could extrapolate that the lesson of not playing favorites was lost on Yaacov.

In theory if Yitzhak had been more evenhanded there might not have arisen a situation of such acrimony with Joseph and his brothers.

Thoughts, comments, questions?

Blog Fatigue

I am tired and cranky and not really in the mood to blog. I owe a couple of people a meme and should respond to your comments. I apologize, I just don't have it in me today. I may tomorrow, or I may end up taking some time off from blogging, or maybe not.

I try not to make decisions when I am irritated. I learned today that my rock is leaving LA. We met on the first day of kindergarten and now 31 years later he has decided to move to D.C.

It may sound silly, but I am pretty upset about this. When all hell broke loose he was there and even if things were fine it was reassuring knowing that the old man was around. We have been through a lot, but today is not the time to review it.

If you don't see any updates entertain yourself with the links to my personal favorites or alternatively you can tell stories that end in non-sequiturs and get the same affect as you would reading my stuff.

Back tomorrow or maybe not.

The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves

One of the things that I love about blogging is the opportunity it affords to search for answers about the questions that bother me. The web is filled with similar blogs, thousands of souls like mine searching cyberspace a communal quest to find that thing or thing that provides fulfillment.

Some are looking for something to fill the empty space in their beds, some in their hearts and others are not quite sure what they are looking for, they just are.

I have had my heart broken several times. It was ripped out from behind my ribs and my chest was sown back up, devoid of the thing that made me human, or so I thought. I grew accustomed to being sad, to looking at others with a longing to just be normal again, to wonder how they could laugh and how they could still see a world full of colors.

And then one day I woke up and realized that I had lost a companion, a old familiar friend had left me. The pain that I carried with me was gone and I hadn't realized that it had left me. I no longer needed to walk around in a world of gray skies, the fog had lifted and I rejoined the world.

It was a terrible experience and like many things, I made it worse, I complicated the issues and made my own life more difficult than it had to be. But in some ways it was wonderful. It helped to teach me that I was tougher than I thought I was. My will and desire were like iron and would not break. (Can you tell that I think in very graphic terms.) I knew that if I let myself, if I gave myself permission to be happy and whole I would heal again and I did.

Since then I have been through some terrible moments, times in which I wondered why I had ever allowed myself to feel for anyone again. I considered myself a fool and there are some people out there who unfairly bore the brunt of my anger and my sorrow. But I never did fall back into the same hole that I had initially been in. I learned from each experience, added knowledge and scar tissue to my being and kept moving.

And if there is one thing that I did take from everything it was to stop beating myself up over not knowing the answers. I don't know why some things happen. I don't know why some women loved me and others could not or would not. I don't know why so many friends and acquaintances have died at such a young age. I don't like not knowing, but I don't have to know everything because sometimes you cannot. And if you allow yourself to foster unhealthy ambition for too long there are consequences.

So what I have found is that by easing back on the throttle I am a happier man and many of the answers I seek have come to me. I don't always like them or find them to be incredibly satisfying, but they are answers.

Here is what I know for certain.....Nothing and everything. I know that I have friends and family whom I would die for. I have known and know love that burns so fiercely it leaves me gasping for breath. I have experienced passion that leaves a sharp a pain in my side and a burning feeling that does not diminish with time.

What I know for certain is that I am alive. I feel it and I live it. What else can a man ask for.

(Originally posted on my blog here)

Me & The Ultimate Fighter- Road Rage

In my younger years we would have looked at the greasy haired guy and called him a hesher. Tall and skinny with long dirty blonde hair and a shirt that said Detroit Rock City he looked like he hadn't bathed in months and he drove that old Camaro like an angry New York City cab driver.

It was his driving that garnered my attention. He was weaving in and out of the lanes fighting to get ahead. A big man in desperate need to get somewhere quickly he only managed to force me to slam on by brakes three times in three minutes. By the third time I was ready to forcibly remove his head from his shoulders and turn it into a hood ornament.

I told him so at a stop light and forgot about him, but he didn't forget about me. He followed me down the street to my the parking lot of my office and confronted me in the lot.

When he unleashed a string of profanities in my direction I turned to face him. He as a few inches taller than me but not nearly as broad. Callused hands on small wrists were connected to a wiry body and a mouth that was as dirty as his hair.

I responded to his tirade by smiling at him and encouraging him to try an impossible anatomical feat. He returned the favor by launching a swift kick at my midsection. I tried to dodge but was a hair slow and took his foot into right side. The force of the blow and the momentum from my attempt to dodge it threw me back into the car.

And with that he was on top of me, raining punches down upon my body. I wasn't willing to be used as a punching bag so I did what I could to defend myself. I was forced to suffer the indignity of being struck in the head twice, but I managed to wrap my arms around his body and slam him to the ground.

I made sure that my knee landed in his gut and followed that with a short headbut. For a moment we rolled around the parking lot as we strove to get the upper hand. The asphalt was hot. I could feel my leg burning, but since it was wrapped around his I couldn't afford to release him.

Eventually I managed to get him in a headlock from which I was able to give him a personal introduction to the bumper of Jimmy Jack's shiny Lexus. He was a slow learner and I was afraid to let him go on his own so I made sure to reintroduce him to the car.

I was about to help him meet some others when I was grabbed from behind by two people. It took a moment to realize that the object across my throat was a shiny police nightstick and that the man trying to restrain me was a cop.

A few hours later I sat in a cell at the station wondering how a sunny day had turned out to be so bad. When I made bail my lawyer explained to me that the charges had been dropped because the man I had been fighting was Kevin Beardsley, the ultimate fighting champion of the lightweight division.

I had gotten lucky that day because by all rights he should have left me lying on the ground, but somehow I had done more than prevent that. I had managed to not only take him out but send him to the hospital. I wondered if I could ask for his belt. I deserved some kind of prize.

(This was a work of fiction that I wrote in 23 minutes. If you want to know why I wrote it, all I can tell you is because, well just because.)

Hurricane Katrina

This is just wild. I hope that no one gets hurt.
Hurricane Peels Holes in Superdome Roof

By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer
37 minutes ago

NEW ORLEANS - Hurricane Katrina ripped away part of the roof on the Louisiana Superdome as thousands of storm refugees huddled inside Monday.

Strips of metal were peeled away, creating two holes that were visible from the floor of the huge arena. Water dripped in and people were moved away from about five sections of seats directly below.

Others watched as sheets of metal flapped visibly and noisily. From the floor, more than 19 stories below the dome, the openings appeared to be 6 feet long.

"The superdome is not in any dangerous situation," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said.

General Manager Glenn Menard said he did not know how serious the problem was. "We have no way of getting anyone up there to look," he said.

Aside from the tear in the huge roof, the 77,000-seat steel-framework stadium, home of the NFL's New Orleans Saints, provided few comforts but at least had bathrooms and food donated by charities.

The wind that howled around the dome during the night was not heard in the interior of the building where the refugees were kept.

"Everybody slept last night. They didn't seem to have any problems," said Dr. Kevin Stephens Sr., in charge of the medical shelter in the Superdome. "They slept all over the place."

Power failed in the Superdome around 5 a.m. Monday, triggering groans from the crowd. Emergency generators kicked in, but the backup power runs only reduced lighting, not the air conditioning.

The Superdome opened its doors at noon Sunday, and New Orleans' most frail residents got priority. The stadium is by far the most solid of the Big Easy's 10 refuges for the estimated 100,000 city residents who don't have the means, or strength, to join a mandatory evacuation."

Teach Your Children to...Swear

We rambled and ambled on into new territory this week when I found out that my son had picked up on some of my favorite sayings. I had thought that I had been good about keeping these from him, with few exceptions I was certain that I hadn't said anything in a tone louder then a whisper.

Of course my voice is just deep enough that my whiser is more like a dull roar and so my son's vocabulary now includes the following:

Jackass, moron, asshole, oh fuck, dammit and some kind of guttural yell that he says I make. I can't say that I am pleased or proud about this, but I would by lying if I wasn't proud about his ability to use the words properly.

Example A) We are on the THE 405 (yes, I said THE and you know who you are) when I was forced to swerve because of a "semi" who was trying to enter my lane. My son belted out: "Oh fuck! You stupid jackass."

We had a conversation about what language is appropriate and how to use words. I thought that it had been effective when I learned otherwise. This morning he told me about one of the characters on Scooby Doo. That is innocuous enough, but the problem is that he said that this person was really mean, a real asshole.

So the good news is that he seems to understand the correct application of these words. The bad news is that he knows these words. And now I find myself having to censor myself more carefully in front of the children.

It is not that I swear constantly but rather when I am irritated I admit to engaging in a minor flirtation with said words.

I wonder if I can get myself to start screaming Goodness Gracious more frequently. Oh, one more phrase that we both say. "Great Googly Moogly." That is not so bad, maybe I'll focus on that one.

Zarqawi focusing sights on Europe

Why do they speak of a terrorist attack and yet call him a militant. The definitions are different. Militant suggests that he might be justified in his attacks. This moral ambiguity is very troubling and it is part of the problem we have in fighting the war on terror.
"WASHINGTON (AFP) Iraq's most wanted militant, Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who as Al-Qaeda's pointman in Iraq has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks, is overseeing preparations for a major attack in Europe.

Citing European intelligence reports, Time magazine said Zarqawi "has been overseeing preparations by highly trained operatives for a large scale terrorist attack in Europe."

Time did not specify the origins of the intelligence reports, but said Zarqawi has spoken of sleeper cells in Turkey and Iran "in communications with another Al-Qaeda leader."

The reports imply that these cells may be in contact with European jihadist groups that previously had no links to Al-Qaeda, Time said.

"The fear is we'll see these disparate, relatively inexperienced groups around Europe hook up with Afghan-trained terror cells, all under the influence of Zarqawi," independent French terrorism expert Roland Jacquard told Time.

European officials say the reports are based in part on US officials' interrogation of suspected Al-Qaeda deputy Abu Faraj al-Libbi, captured last May in Pakistan."

I'd Like To Buy a Nap

I'd like to buy a nap but not at these prices.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- The Mall of America has a 74-foot Ferris wheel, a shark tank and a dinosaur museum. But if that puts you to sleep, a new nap store will sell you some shuteye for 70 cents a minute.

The store, to be called MinneNAPolis, is aimed at weary travelers who need a nap after a long flight but aren't staying long enough to book a hotel room, or spouses of shoppers who are traversing the mall's 4.3 miles of storefronts.

"We think it would be really good for husbands at Christmas, when their wives are power-shopping," said mall spokeswoman Julie Hansen.

Founded by PowerNap Sleep Centers Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla., the new store will include at least three themed rooms: Asian Mist, Tropical Isle and Deep Space. Each will have walls thick enough to drown out the sounds of squealing children at the indoor amusement park.

The 70 cents per minute fee works out to $42 an hour. Some pointed out that it would be cheaper to buy an $8 movie ticket and spend two hours sleeping through a quiet movie. At the company's other napping center at the airport in Boca Raton, annual memberships cost $1,200 for unlimited sleep time.

Feeding the Troll


I made a mistake and began feeding the troll. Or maybe it is not a mistake, maybe it is a smart thing to do. I am undecided about this.

The term troll in this context refers to someone who intentionally posts inflammatory remarks with the hope of generating responses that turn into flame wars.

Some of you are probably wondering what I am referring to, so here is a short summary. I post on a number of blogs. One of my posts was met with a number of remarks by an anonymous poster. Most of the people that frequent this particular blog would consider these comments to be inflammatory. And many of them would recommend that the best way to deal with said troll is to simply ignore him.

Initially I had intended to do so, but I engaged him in a dialogue because I like to debate and I think that sometimes ignoring someone like creates other problems.

I should add that I am not convinced that he is a troll, I rather think that he believes what he is posting to be true, and that is more disturbing. I am not going to lose any sleep over the troll because I am not surprised that people have the beliefs he espouses, but I am mildly surprised by it.

Really the ultimate question in my head was whether engaging him lent any credence to his POV. When push came to shove I opted to respond for the purpose of demonstrating that his remarks had all the strength of Potemkin's Village.

So I hope that I accomplished that. If I did that I'll be satisfied and if not, oh well.

Children

My children are my finest work. There is nothing better in my life and I will not ever be able to surpass being a father. In some ways you could say that it is my life's achievement, but at the same time it is a work in progress. I am responsible for bringing them into the world and helping to make them people of integrity and good character.

Sometimes it is really hard. I know that there are people out there who have bigger challenges and I am appreciative of that, but this is my challenge and there are moments in which I tear out large clumps of hair.

At the moment I have two kids, a 4.5 year-old boy and a daughter who is 13 months. My son has reached the point at which he has decided that he is tired of sharing attention and is working hard to garner as much of our time as he can. In this house it means that he is obstinate, insubordinate, determined, relentless and willing to accept most consequences.

Friends and family laugh because they say that he is a clone of myself, and to a certain extent that is true. I see it and I acknowledge it. My father had to deal with it because in many ways arguing with him is like yelling at the mirror. Some traits are passed along at a molecular level.

Some people have argued that corporal punishment is the way to go and that it will straighten him out. I am not sold on that. There have been moments in which he earned a swat on his tuchus, but they didn't do much good. They just pissed him off more. I am the same way. When I was five I told my father that I didn't want to be punished and challenged him to a fist fight. The story is that he laughed and whatever I was in trouble for was forgotten, but the point stands.

When I was in 9th grade a senior decided to pick on me. I got irritated and went after him and that was the end of it. In truth I was lucky. He was much larger and could have remodeled my face. I am thankful that he didn't. So what does this all mean?

It means that my son got stuck with the same wacko gene that allows us to risk life and limb and I am not about to press that button unless absolutely necessary. I have found a few other tricks that work, but they require constant monitoring. That is part of what they don't tell you about being a parent. They leave out the part about how you give up your time to make sure that they are not playing with the toy you took away or circumventing the consequences of something they did. Have to set boundaries and stick with them.

He really is a good boy and for the most part he listens well, it is just frustrating because he has endless amounts of energy with which to test me.

My daughter is capable of walking but hasn't decided to do so yet, and that is ok with me. But that hasn't stopped her from wrecking the house. I am not sure that I could do as much damage. Give her 5 minutes in a room and the shelves are bare because all of the items that had been on them have been thrown on the floor.

At 13 months she doesn't quite understand why we do not allow her free reign to roam and explore. I love her curiosity and I hope that it never disappears. She also has exceptional energy and more often than not is on the go.

I love these two, but I am tired, so very tired. Lately it feels like I have little to no time to myself and that is something that I require. I need a few minutes to restore and replenish my batteries.

I am sure that this is just a phase and that the cycle will pass, but sometimes it just wears on me a little and I find my patience to be less than it should be. I feel badly about that because I always want to be excited about playing with them. I can tell that some of this frustration is coming out because my son has a new line.

When he is frustrated he says "For Crime's Sake." I suspect that he is repeating what he thought he heard me say.

Anyway, I don't doubt that the two little ones know that I love them I just cannot help it. I want to be better and do more for them.

More Weird Stories

Here is why you shouldn't argue with the man giving you a tattoo, not to mention another reason to drink beer later and not during.
"Walnut Cove, NC -- A Pine Hall man is in Baptist Hospital, recovering after an attack involving a butcher knife.

Stokes County Sheriff's Deputies were called to a home in Walnut Cove around 3:30 on Wednesday morning. When they arrived, they found Tony Wagoner missing both ears and suffering from a butchered penis.

The Sheriff's Department says Wagoner went to get a tattoo from 29-year-old Gary Thomas Johnson. After a few hours together and after consuming alcohol, Sheriff Mike Joyce says a fight occurred between the two men and 18-year-old Jennifer Arlene Robbins."
They need more exciting activities in Canada.
Rocking to a world record

"Suresh Joachim is rocking his way to his 31st world record.

The 36-year-old Mississauga man, who holds 30 Guinness World Records, is working on his next feat: 75 hours of continuous rocking in a rocking chair.

"It's very comfortable," he said after one-and-a-half hours of rocking at the Hilton Garden Inn in Mississauga, Ont. "But maybe too comfortable.

"I'm rocking back and forth, so I'm going to get sleepy. That could be a very difficult problem."

But Joachim is no stranger to making it through long, repetitive stretches of time. Among the other records he's set:

  • 100 hours of bowling
  • Longest time spent standing motionless 21 hours and 30 minutes
  • Longest modelling on catwalk, 133.2 km
  • Longest time spent balancing on one foot, 76 hours and 40 minutes
  • Travelling up and down an escalator continuously for seven days
  • Longest distance travelled while carrying a 4.5 kg brick in an ungloved hand, 126.675 km
  • Longest dance marathon, 400 hours
  • Longest non-stop drumming marathon, 84 hours
  • Longest non-stop band performance by a 14-strong group of musicians, 42 hours and 52 minutes
  • Longest distance traveled while balancing a milk bottle on a head, 133.3 km
  • Longest distance crawled non-stop, 56.6 km
  • Longest radio DJ marathon, 133.2 km
  • Longest movie-watching marathon, 53 hours
The nice thing about spending 75 hours in a rocking chair is one has lots of time to plan for the future.

And prepare for the future is just what Joachim did.

First, Joachim cracked open Tiger Woods: How I Play Golf to learn the sport he plans to play continuously for 100 hours next year.

Next, he practised guitar so that he could get ready for his attempt at 100 hours of guitar-strumming (no word yet on whether he'll play the same song for the entire stretch).

And then he started flipping through Elvis Presley and Ricky Martin lyrics for an upcoming 100-hour karaoke marathon.

He also plans to set the record for the longest non-stop TV watching marathon (72 hours), but he doesn't really need to practise for that one."

This boy has some real issues.
"NEWBURYPORT -- A 19-year-old man from Salisbury was supposed to be cleaning up a cemetery last week as part of court-ordered community work after he broke into an apartment building last fall.

Instead, officials said, Neil J. Goodwin Jr. invaded the tomb of a Civil War veteran, pulled apart the 142-year-old skeleton, and then played with the bones, balancing the skull on his shoulder and posing for pictures.

''It's bizarre, absolutely bizarre," said Lieutenant Richard Siemasko of the Newburyport police. ''I can't even imagine what was in his head. This is just a whole new level of weird for me."

Goodwin pleaded not guilty yesterday in Newburyport District Court to a charge of desecrating a corpse and breaking into a tomb, both felonies. Prosecutors said he was doing community service in the Old Hill Burying Ground on Aug. 17 when he kicked in the thin marble entrance to a tomb marked ''1863 Pierce" and twisted off the spine, collarbone, and skull.

''Every time you think you have seen it all, something like this happens," Siemasko said. ''We just can't understand why anyone would do this."

Man forced to have sex at gunpoint

This happens to me all the time, but I never bother to report it because who would believe it. In other news tourism in South Africa just quadrupled.

"Johannesburg: The hunt is on for three women who ambushed a 30-year-old man and forced him to have sex with them at gunpoint.

According to police spokeswoman Paula Nothnagel, a case of indecent assault had been opened and identity kits would be released soon. The man cannot be named because of the nature of the offence.

Nothnagel said that on Saturday night the man was walking through Roodepoort when the women pulled up next to him in their maroon BMW.

They asked him for directions to the Savoy Hotel and he got into the car to show them the way.

At the hotel the women persuaded him to join them for a drink, before asking him for directions to yet another hotel. While on the road to the Station Hotel the women suddenly changed direction and drove to a dark and empty field near the Durban Deep mine.

"One woman produced a firearm and held the man at gunpoint," Nothnagel said.

"The women got undressed and all three took turns to have intercourse with him."

The man was then ordered back into the car and dropped off along Main Reef Road.

Nothnagel said the man then went home before opening a case at the local police station. The West Rand Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit is investigating. They suspect the women were all aged between 20 and 30."

Frantic Blogging Comments

I received an email a short time ago in which I was asked to slow down the frantic blogging because I wasn't giving people enough time to keep up or catch up as the case may be.

This is an area I addressed several months ago but I cannot recall exactly when or what the title of the post was to refer to it, so I'll just start from scratch.

There is merit to the suggestion of slowing down somewhat and spending more time on making sure that the posts I put out are of the highest quality. I compose on the computer and almost never rewrite anything. I usually make it work without too much trouble.

But there is the QA issue and I have to admit that if I wanted to I could slow things down and raise the quality of some posts by rewriting them. There is a simple reason why I do not do so.

I don't want to.

I like rambling on about whatever thoughts are in my head and commenting about the various stories that catch my eye. I find it to be enjoyable and oftentimes relaxing and frankly my brain often operates at hyperspeed so this provides a snapshot of me.

One other thing to mention. As far as I am concerned there is no rule or reason why people cannot comment on older posts. And for that matter if you think that a post was outstanding and want it to be noted as such let me know and I'll file it somewhere so that it can be revisited at later date.

I will go on vacation again so I'll need some material to keep the troops entertained.

User Friendly Blogs

I underwent Lasik surgery a little more than four years ago. It was great! After 20 years of glasses/contacts I was finally able to see again and see quite well. I know from the experience of the past several years that my vision is excellent.

It is superior to many of the people around me which is why I get especially irritated when I encounter blogs that are not user friendly. They have strange colors, fonts that are intentionally mismatched and all sorts of other crap that just gives me a headache.

In my book they are right next to the people who constantly have to blog about their cats, which is to say not very high.

Seven Years Ago Today

On August 25th, 1998 one of my closest friends died. Three brain tumors and the issues surrounding them robbed him of the opportunity to get married, become a father and experience so many things.

I debated whether to mention this on the blog and obviously opted to make it a public remembrance. I am not willing to spend much time on this because it feels a little more raw this year. I don't know why, but this time just catches me in a way that I haven't felt in a while.

And so I want to end this by saying with the hokey but true acknowledgement that I am ever so thankful for the 15 years we had together. That includes time spent in Israel, driving across country, flying and more mischief than anyone should ever be privileged to engage in.

Tonight I'll go to bed with a rueful grin and a bittersweet feeling in my gut.

Bulletproof vests not fail-proof

Oh this makes me ever so comfortable.
"Bulletproof vests similar to those still worn by thousands of police officers failed to stop at least one of six bullets fired at them 58% of the time, according to a new analysis by the Justice Department.

The findings from the department's review of 103 vests containing the fabric Zylon comes two months after the nation's largest vest maker, Second Chance Armor, urged police agencies to replace nearly 100,000 vests containing the fabric. The company - which two years earlier recalled 130,000 vests partly because of problems with Zylon - said the fabric could break down, weakening the vests and potentially resulting in deaths.

Of the vests that were not penetrated in Justice's tests, 91% showed "excessive deformation," indicating that an officer with one of the vests would have been at risk of an injury, the analysis said.

The report led the Justice Department to issue an alert Wednesday to law enforcement agencies that warned officers of the potential risk posed by the vests. The department also said it would add $10 million to its $23.6 million vest replacement fund to help agencies buy new vests.

Chuck Canterbury, national president of the 300,000-member Fraternal Order of Police, said thousands of officers are still wearing the defective vests. He urged them to keep wearing the vests until they are replaced because any protection is "better than nothing." But he warned cities and states that they could be held liable for some officers' injuries if they do not quickly replace the Zylon vests, which have cost up to $700 each."

Three Reasons to live in detroit

  1. It is a step above Buffalo.
  2. Riots break out on a regular basis so you can be sure to upgrade your home with the other looters.
  3. Because prison food gives you the runs.

Rough Toilet Paper/Getting Dressed in the Dark

I got a rough start to the day. Due to circumstances somewhat beyond my control I didn't go to bed until a few minutes after one and I distinctly remember looking at the clock at 1:15 am and wondering why my eyes were opened.

My daughter is teething now. She is 13 months an until the other day had about three teeth, or at least those were the ones we could see. She is now intent on proving that she can cut new teeth faster than sharks and has moments in which she turns into the Exorcist baby. She screams and flails and is generally miserable.

Most of the time these bouts hit her somewhere in the middle of the night, ok they hit during the day too, but since I am working I miss most of them. But I sure didn't miss her at 4 am this morning. Tried hard to console her and make her feel better but by 4:30 I was relatively certain that sleep was unlikely and by 5:15 had confirmed it.

Left the house shortly afterwards to go to work and was midtrip when I realized that nature was hollering at me. Quickly pulled into the local Walgreens where I had to force my way by three young men who were on the tail end of an all-night long bender.

Hit the stall just in time and was pleased to see that Gigantor had not managed to follow me and then was unpleasantly surprised to discover that the toilet paper in Walgreens is organic. They gave me Pine Cones and leaves with a sprinkling of sandpaper. Ok, don't, silence is better.

For some of you this will be in the category of too much information, but what the hell is wrong with the manufacturers of toilet paper. Am I unfamiliar with some law of basic hygiene that says that if your tuchus is not on fire you are not properly clean. Is there some sadistic SOB who needs to know that he has incredible control over others.

What is so hard about supplying soft toilet paper or even a small pressure washer. Why do I need to be reminded hours later that I had this experience. I don't know.

Enough on that and now for a word about getting dressed in the dark. Not unlike many others I am fortunate enough to own several pairs of shoes. Just so that it is clear, I am not like so many women who must own at least 700 pairs of shoes. And yes I am the guy that went to the Shoe Blog and argued with people there because I could.

Anyway, I grabbed what I thought were a pair of black shoes and went to work. It wasn't until I got here that I realized that I am wearing two different shoes. They are both black, but they are not the same. So I have now forced the two to intermarry, The Rockports just met their distant cousins the other Rockports. No word yet on whether the shidduch was truly successful.

All I know is that I am tired and cranky and today is the day when my bite will be far worse than my bark. And to the truckdriver on the freeway who drove that rig as if his own ass were on fire, let us be happy that you and I didn't get to dance today. You damn near killed me you big oaf.

Ok, one quick cleansing breath and I am returning to my normal state of calm and collected coolness. Oh, who am I fooling. I am pissed off and it will take a little while for me to calm down.

Bathroom Etiquette- A Follow Up to The Courtesy Post

Last week I wrote about my elevator experience so today I thought that I would share my latest experience with the growing lack of courtesy in society, but most specifically in my office building.

This afternoon I headed off to the restroom. Long time readers may recall that this past January I wrote about a man whose odor nearly forced evacuation of the building or at least the purchase of a new Hazmat suit. I kind of like the one in white. It is traditional and somewhat elegant with a bit of a modern feel to it. But the one on the left is cool too. I do enjoy a nice blue. It goes so well with my olive skin.
You may also recall another bathroom themed entry a few months ago. In that one I discussed a number of other issues related to bathroom activities.

But today I have a new one to share with you, a new experience that needs to be presented to the world because surely I am not the only person to have this happen.

It was almost the end of the business day and three cups of coffee and lunch were demanding a quick exit. They were pounding on the door and begging to be let go the way Midwesterners pour into California midwinter begging for sunshine.

And thus I found myself hurrying down the hall to the establishment in which I could attend to these needs. And that is where my story really begins.

I was in serious need and required immediate attention so as I entered the room I was unbuckling my belt because haste was required. With due speed I entered my stall and was already occupied when I noticed that there was a third foot in my stall.

I looked down in disbelief. A third foot wearing a scuffed up pair of black wingtips. I own two pairs and they both are beautifully polished so I knew that it was not my foot. Ok, I knew for obvious reasons, but just go with it.

Not only was this foot in my space, it was in a place that I hold sacred. That space and privacy is mine and mine alone and there was an invader. So I stared at the foot and pondered what to do. I wear a 12 Triple E. For the ladies that means that I have a very large foot, but this one was bigger. So it stood to reason that he was probably larger than myself.

And I began to consider just how big this man could be that he would require so much space. It occurred to me that all things being proportional and equal he might be quite large, so kicking his foot might not be the best course of action. Yet at the same time I was reluctant to ask him to move it because he had to be aware that I was in there and still he didn't move it.

I began to get irritated with this jerk who so thoughtlessly had taken my land. I was angered at having to sit in the Occupied Stall and I considered what form of resistance to take. The more I sat there with his foot the more irritated I became.

Finally I gently bumped his shoe and apologized for getting it dirty. He said "what" and I explained to him that I had run out of toilet paper and had taken advantage of the uneven surface of his shoe to clean myself.

There was a mighty grunt and the shoe was removed. Simultaneously I burst out of my stall and washed my hands in world record time and headed out of the restroom for freedom. It was a rough moment, but I was proud of having freed my land from the occupier with nonviolent means.

But I fear that there will come another day in which Gigantor and I will be forced to share a small space again.

The Class of 2009 Grew Up in a Different World

I found this article to be pretty interesting.

"BELOIT, Wis. - For this year's crop of college freshmen, Starbucks has always been around the corner, "America's Funniest Home Videos" has always been on the air, and men named George Bushave been president for more than half of their lives. Born in 1987, the freshmen attending their first college lectures around the country this term grew up with pay-per-view television and voice mail on their phones, dirty dancing at school proms, and the United States as the only superpower.

Those are some of the cultural landmarks on the Beloit College Mindset List, an annual compilation that offers a glimpse of the world view of each incoming class. The list was released Wednesday by the private school of 1,200 in this southern Wisconsin city.

The Class of 2009 has never known Andy Warhol, seen Jimmy Swaggart preach on TV, or watched Arsenio Hall.

Jimmy Carter? "That's just another name people throw around," said Abby Engebose, 18, who was going through orientation Tuesday on the school's 40-acre campus.

Technologically savvy, the students grew up with home computers, digital cameras, and souped up car stereos. Cable television has always been powerful and has blurred the lines between news and entertainment.

Like most of the men in his class, Joe Erkenbrack, 18, of Pella, Iowa, admitted that he didn't know how to tie a tie. He doesn't even own one.

The list reminds older generations what's happened in the last 18 years and aims to educate professors about the lives of their young students, said Tom McBride, a humanities professor at Beloit who has compiled the list for seven years."

If you want to review the complete list you can go here.

Pat Robertson Backpeddles

Yesterday I wrote about Pat Robertson's call to assasinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. As you'll recall Robertson said this:
(CNN) -- Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson has called for the United States to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him "a terrific danger" bent on exporting Communism and Islamic extremism across the Americas.

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson told viewers on his "The 700 Club" show Monday. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war."
But today he claims that he was misunderstood. Read this:
"I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP [Associated Press], but that happens all the time," Robertson said on "The 700 Club" program."
So the real question is whether the AP misquoted him. From my vantage point here I think that old Pat was quoted accurately and now that the heat is coming down on him he is looking for a shady place.

Or as an old friend used to say "a drunk penis has no conscience and feels no shame until it get's caught in the zipper." Kind of a colorful way to put it, but it works for me.

Yahoo! Audio Search

I just stumbled across Yahoo! Audio Search. I thought that it was pretty cool as I am always looking for cool sound files to listen to.


Tour de France director: Armstrong "fooled'' the sports world

More charges against Lance Armstrong and claims that he used illegal substances to enhance his performance. There is no doubt that he is an exceptional athlete and I suspect that this would be the case no matter what.

PARIS (AP) -- The director of the Tour de France claims Lance Armstrong has "fooled'' the sports world and that the seven-time champion owes fans an explanation over new allegations he used a performance-boosting drug.

Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc's comments appeared in the French sports daily L'Equipe on Wednesday, a day after the newspaper reported that six urine samples provided by Armstrong during the '99 Tour tested positive for the red blood cell-booster EPO.

"For the first time -- and these are no longer rumors, or insinuations, these are proven scientific facts -- someone has shown me that in 1999, Armstrong had a banned substance called EPO in his body,'' Leblanc told L'Equipe.

"The ball is now in his court. Why, how, by whom? He owes explanations to us and to everyone who follows the tour. Today, what L'Equipe revealed shows me that I was fooled. We were all fooled.''

On Tuesday, Leblanc called the latest accusations against Armstrong shocking and troubling.

Armstrong, a frequent target of L'Equipe, vehemently denied the allegations Tuesday, calling the article ``tabloid journalism.''

"I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance-enhancing drugs,'' he said on his Web site."

The XBox

My neighbor decided that he didn't want his XBox anymore and gave it to me. Yes, he gave it to me. Oy. I love video games. Always have.

When I was a much younger lad, so much younger than today I never needed any help playing a video game, but that is not longer the case. The old Atari 2600 looked like the unit below.
It used a simple joystick and paddles. It was very basic and quite a lot of fun.
This XBox is insanely cool and complicated. Look at the controller. It has so many buttons. I feel like such an old fart. I am slowly growing accustomed to it, but it is taking time.
Tonight I purchased a game, Madden NFL '05. The '06 version is out but it costs an additional $18 so I said screw it and saved the money.

I am 36 and playing video games again. I love it. I feel like that little boy playing Pong or Space Invaders. I can't wait to play with my son. I better start now while he is only 4.5 because pretty soon he'll be better than me.

But in the meantime I'll take advantage of my superior motor skills for what little time I can.

Dear Palestinian Bomber

I shouldn't laugh at this story, but I can't help myself. Thanks to David for tipping me off to this one. Too bad they didn't contact me because I could have a field day with this kind of thing. You know that I love telemarketers.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2005 Officials at JP Morgan Chase have apologized and promised to improve their screening policies, after a credit card solicitation letter sent to a 54-year-old naturalized American citizen came addressed to "Palestinian Bomber."

The form letter for a Visa Platinum card arrived earlier this month at the home of Sami Habbas, a grocery store manager from Corona, Calif. The words "Palestinian Bomber" appear above his address and the salutation reads, "Dear Palestinian Bomber." The document included the signature of Carter Franke, chief marketing officer for Chase Card Services.

Habbas is a naturalized U.S. citizen of Palestinian heritage. He told ABC News he is "extremely upset" at receiving the letter, pointing out that he has lived in the United States for 51 years and also served in the U.S. Army, receiving an honorable discharge in 1969.

"It's upsetting, derogatory and slanderous," Habbas told ABC News. "I have no idea how this sort of thing happened."

Habbas was even more shocked when, on several occasions, he said he called an 800-number for JP Morgan Chase and spoke to operators in an effort to complain. Each time, he says the operators called up his information on a computer but apparently didn't catch on. According to Habbas, "The operators always said, 'Yes, Mr. Palestinian Bomber, how can we help you?' "

Stupid telemarketers.Don't they bother to read.

I like To Debate, Or Should I Say Argue

Longtime friends, acquaintances, family and colleagues will all tell you that I enjoy a good conversation. I mean debate, I mean argument. Or maybe I mean all of the above.

I just like digging into the meat of a discussion and pulling it apart. It is one of those traits that can be viewed as a positive or a negative. Most of the time it all depends on which side of the fence you are standing on. If you are in agreement with me it is positive, but if you disagree it can be viewed as a huge negative.

Or should I admit that I have been told more than once that it is not endearing and that it is ok to give in. Ok, I admit it. I don't like apologizing and I don't like being wrong. The beauty of getting older is that it is much easier to admit that I am wrong, but still challenge to offer an apology. Usually you'll get "you were right, I was wrong" but don't expect the "I am sorry" to go with it.

I am working on it, but it is a long and arduous task trying to convince me to do something, even when I am the one trying to do the convincing.

One of the things that I have noticed about myself is that I am beginning to grow tired of these debates far sooner than I used to. It may be a symptom of being relatively busy and more possessive of my time, but there is no doubt that I am losing interest quickly.

But it is also indicative of the quality of these discussions. Far too often I find myself reading the position of the other side and shaking my head because it is just foolishness. Not just because I disagree, but because there is no substance and just emotion propping them up.

I'd write more about this but it is lunch time and I have to finish debating whether the Red Sox have a shot at repeating this year. See you later.

The Trials and Tribulations of Family Photos

This post at Psychotoddler's place made me smile. It reminds me of my own childhood and the hoops my parents jumped through to get all of my sisters and I to cooperate during our family pictures.

Wake-Up Drug Could Help the Sleep-Deprived

'TUESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Shiftworkers, hospital staff clocking long hours, and other sleep-challenged Americans may someday have a means of restoring full alertness even if sleep-deprived.

Researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., say an experimental drug called CX717 temporarily improved performance and reversed the effects of sleep deprivation in the brains of monkeys.

The drug works on a type of brain receptor involved in cell-to-cell communication, boosting the action of the neurotransmitter glutamate.

Reporting late Monday in the online edition of the Public Library of Science-Biology, the team first taught alert, well-rested monkeys to pick out specific images from a range of others flashed on a computer screen. Use of CX717 improved test scores of these fully alert monkeys to near-perfect, the researchers report.

They then had the same monkeys take the test again after being deprived of sleep for 30 to 36 hours -- the equivalent of humans going three days without rest.

Like humans, the primates' performance was noticeably sluggish due to lack of sleep. But use of CX717 brought that performance back to normal levels, the North Carolina team report.

"In addition to improving performance under normal conditions, the drug restored performance that was impaired after sleep loss," senior researcher Samuel Deadwyler said in a prepared statement."

I could use some of this stuff today.

And The English Scream Foul Again

In yet another display of the lack of sportsmanship exhibited by some athletes Diego Maradona admits to using his hand. My apologies to my US readers who are already bored reading this.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Diego Maradona acknowledged that he struck the ball with his hand in the famous "Hand of God" goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals.

Speaking on his local television talk show Monday night, Maradona called one of soccer's most controversial goals "something that just came out of me. It was a bit of mischief."

Maradona appeared to punch the ball into the net, and officials allowed the goal to stand despite protests by the English team. Argentina went on to win the 1986 quarterfinal match 2-1 and then win the World Cup.

In his most detailed comments yet, Maradona said he was unable to reach the ball for a header when he went up against the taller English goalkeeper, Peter Shilton.

Shilton "was very tall. He didn't see anything, and a teammate told him" afterward what happened, said Maradona.

After the score, Maradona said he quickly realized the line referee had allowed the goal but none of his teammates had rushed to celebrate with him — themselves figuring the goal would be waved off.

"I was waiting for my teammates to embrace me and no one came," said Maradona, who was the team captain. "I told them, 'Come hug me or the referee isn't going to allow it.'

Pat Robertson- Let's Just Assasinate Him

Boy, you have got to love men like Pat who are willing to speak their minds, even if most of it is nonsensical blather.

(CNN) -- Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson has called for the United States to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him "a terrific danger" bent on exporting Communism and Islamic extremism across the Americas.

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson told viewers on his "The 700 Club" show Monday. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war."
You know, he is right, it is cheaper than starting a war. Of course there are other tactics and strategies to be explored before we investigate more serious options. Maybe G-d left that out of their last conversation.

Of course Pat has a history of making outlandish comments. Within that same article the refer to one of my favorites:

"In May, during an ABC interview, Robertson ignited a firestorm with his response to a question about whether activist judges were more of a threat to America than terrorists.

"If they look over the course of 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings," he said."

Them activist judges are a mighty big problem, voting for civil rights, trying to integrate the schools. Boy I sure wish that life was like it was a 100 years ago. Of course it didn't work out so well for Leo Frank.

Maybe Pat should just tend to his flock's needs by taking a vow of silence.

Lightning Is About To Strike

Lightning is about to strike again, not a doubt in my mind that we're going to see it live and experience in 3D. Some lips are bound to ...