"When you're in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, 'Damn, that was fun'." — Groucho Marx
Evel Knievel- Rest In Peace
Evel Knievel was a household name. We loved to watch and talk about his stunts, not to mention pretend to recreate them. I can remember more than one occasion in which my mother specifically told me not to try and do what Evel had done.
The good news was that because I was just a boy I never had the opportunity to really imitate him, but my continual attempts to jump the Snake River, buses or through flames probably caused her and my father to lose a lot of sleep. For posterity's sake allow me to clarify that these attempts were made using ordinary household products and all of the resourcefulness young boys could come up with.
So that meant building ramps out of wood and boxes, jumping on and off of the curb and doing all sorts of stuff that today would have made me and the boys contestants in the X-Games. Did I mention jumping off of the roof into the swimming pool? No, well let me add that we seriously considered riding our bikes off of the roof and into the pool.
Fortunately for us our parents always spotted our attempt to bring ramp and bike onto the roof so it never did happen.
Anyhoo, old Evel lived a lot longer than my mother said he would. Later today I am going to have to give her a call and ask her if she remembers telling me that sooner or later one of his tricks would kill him and that a smart boy wouldn't try such silly things.
On a side note, I can just picture Evel doing his stunts in heaven, while Howard Cosell provides the color commentary. Perhaps I'll add more to this later.
Some Quotes That Caught My Eye
"The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party - and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, "Meditation on the Divine Will" (September 2, 1862?), pp. 403-404.
"We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland" (April 18, 1864), p. 301-302.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
Shakespeare- Sonnet 18
If thou remember'st not the slightest folly
That ever love did make thee run into,
Thou hast not loved.
(As You Like It, 2.4.33-5)
It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
"A friend is one before whom I may think aloud."
"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
"Give all to love; obey thy heart."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
John Stuart Mill
It was a little bizzare. There is probably nothing to this, but the Celica looked like the '85 or '86 model and then the music which was big when we were in school. Fortunately he wasn't dressed like a John Hughes movie extra because if he had I might have started looking for Doc. Brown and a Delorean.
Anyhoo, for those who are interested here are links to two versions of Mad World and the lyrics.
Mad World- Gary Jules
Mad World- Tears For Fears
M.L.B.F.- Music To Put Me To Sleep
Always on My Mind- Elvis Presley
In The Ghetto- Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds
May it be-Enya
Gentle Annie- Tommy Makem
Ring of Fire 1968- Johnny Cash
"Ain't no Mountain High Enough"-MARVIN GAYE & TAMMI TERRELL
I Melt- Rascal Flatts
Visions of Paradise- Mick Jagger
Mordreds Lullaby- Heather Dale
Californication- Red Hot Chili Peppers
It was a very Good Year- Sinatra
If Fabio Was Commander-In- Chief
"When I first meet him in the summer of 2006, on the occasion of his passing the torch as official non-butter spread spokes-hunk—he juiced annual sales of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! from around $25 million to $250 million—he’s in a voluble mood. Finally unshackled from his major sponsorship obligations, he’s eager to show that he has more on his mind than the ripping of bodices—or, for that matter, the metaphysics of butter.
“The Israeli people have been the sacrificial lamb of history,” Fabio declares. It’s mid-August, and the bombs are dropping in Lebanon as we stand in the kitchen of his sprawling Spanish-style mansion in Los Angeles (his publicist asked that we keep the neighborhood a secret to deter stalkers). The so-called Harlequin heartthrob, a diehard news junkie, has had a lot on his mind lately, particularly when it comes to Middle East policy and the Iraq war.
“It’s about f*cking time,” he says, as Fox News reports on Israel’s attempt to push Hezbollah out of Southern Lebanon. “[The Jews] have been getting killed for 5,000 years. Enough is enough. The rest of the world does not give a sh*t, except America, because the Israelis have no oil. Everyone sticks with those Arabs—because they have the oil.”
"Conversation soon circles back to the Middle East—this time, Iraq.
"I'll tell you my policy," he says confidently. "Invading Iraq was a total fuck-up because you have Muslims—Shi'ite, Sunni, and Kurds—who hate and would like to kill each other to the end of time. Listen, it took a bastard like Saddam Hussein, because he was a fanatic, killing hundreds of thousands, to keep those people quiet. We get there and are like, 'Oh!' Now what you've got is a civil war and we're stuck in the middle. It's like when you step on a nest of rattlesnakes. What are you gonna do? Of course, if we have to go to war with Iran, we are right there. That's the only good side."
He's also critical of how the war has been waged. "We went in too fast," he says. "To me, shock and awe should not be a light touch. Where's the shock, you know?" The model, who served the once-mandatory 18 months in the Italian military after high school, nods a lot when he speaks. He's so damn friendly, even when calling for mass carnage, that I find myself nodding along with him.
"Bomb them for a few years," he suggests, "And when they start coming out with the white flag ... bomb them a little bit more. Then you go in with our soldiers."
"Let me give you an example in life," he says, by which he means a example in fantasy. Fabio is big on outrageous hypotheticals. "You can't go into the ring with Mike Tyson and say, 'You know, Mike, you can't punch me in the face because I have a pretty face, okay? And of course you can't punch me under the belt, and not too hard.' He wants to rip you apart! He wants to bite your ear off, he wants to kill you. You see, it's war. This is what people don't understand."
"Think about it," he goes on. "On one hand, they show Abu Ghraib and Americans are like, 'What's the world coming to?' On the other hand, they chop off your head on TV. And you know, they're watching us and laughing. Because to them we are pussies. It's like they look at us and they're like, 'Oh, look at those wimpy little pussies.'"
Hat Tip to Hot Air
Blogging About Children- Where Do You Draw The Line
"I can't imagine any 12 year old boy having a mature thought like that or any 12 year old girl expecting a mature thought like that to pop into a potential boyfriend's head. I'm sure both would be quite surprised if either was thinking like a 36-year-old Keats wannabe."A Keats wannabe. I like it.
"As a former 12-year-old girl"Don't ask me why, but I find that line to be funny. Makes me want to come up with some sort of sarcastic remark. The author of the line didn't intend for it to be funny or for me to try and come up with any sort of sarcastic response, but as a former 12 year old boy who once pulled a girl's pigtails...
It is a good question. How much information do we share about our children. I suppose that one day my children will read my blog and ask their grandparents why their father is the way he is. It'll be a great opportunity to play the blame game.
I'll blame my parents for screwing me up, They'll blame their parents for screwing them up and we'll all go on the Jerry Springer/Dr. Phil Variety Hour to discuss it.
"Crotch Durability Problems"
Want to know what the story really is about?
WASHINGTON — The Army is retrofitting 1 million uniforms to bolster pants that have been tearing during the rigors of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Soldiers in Iraq began reporting "crotch durability problems" with their combat uniforms in July 2005, according to the Army. Jumping into Humvees, hopping from helicopters and scrambling after insurgents have popped inseams on the baggy pants.
Rougher terrain in Afghanistan prompted complaints this past August from soldiers who said their uniforms gave out quickly.
"This is a result of soldiers working in steep and harsh terrain and literally sliding down steep hills and mountains," Army spokesman Sheldon Smith said in an e-mail.
Single-stitching has caused most of the blown-out inseams, said Erin Thomas, an Army spokeswoman. The new trousers are more durable, she said.
Annapolis Part II
There is nothing remotely profound in that statement, but it bears repeating over and over. To begin with I am done with asking the Palestinians or any other Arab to recognize Israel. It is narishkeit. It is foolishness. It reminds me of my three year-old. She puts her hands over her eyes and says "daddy you can't see me."
Ok, you are right. I can't see you. Screw Haniyeh, Abbas, Assad and anyone else who wants to play this game. Keep walking in the dark. I hope you trip over a table and break your necks. Because it has become glaringly apparent to me that they see this request for recognition as being a sign of weakness. Take it off off the table. We have what you want, not the other way around.
This is not going to be seen as being popular, especially not within the U.S. As Ralph Peters writes in the New York Post Bush and Co. are starting to look a lot like the Clinton administration.
"In the Middle East, you can't buy peace. You can only buy time. If we want to help at all, the fundamental requirement is to have realistic expectations.
At present, the situation is aggravated by the Bush administration's desperate quest for a headline-worthy foreign-policy success - mirroring the Clinton administration in its closing years. But desperation's a poor basis for dealing with a geopolitical problem of near-infinite complexity, with ill will on every side except our own.
What happens in the course of Middle East "peace" talks under such circumstances? Whether the American administration is Republican or Democrat, it pressures Israel for concessions - since the Arabs won't make any. Prisoner releases precede each summit; territorial handovers come under discussion.
For their parts, Arab leaders and their representatives assume we're sufficiently honored if they just show up. We hear no end of nonsense about the great political risks they're taking, etc. We're suckers for any fat guy in a white robe with an oil can."
So in my non professional opinion we need to rethink and restructure. Besides let's take a moment to look at what is going on here. CNN has some of the interesting news.
The official said some of the 40 nations represented at the summit have offered Israel a chilly welcome, but their participation alone is encouraging.
"The Saudis won't shake our hands; the Syrians won't say nice things about us," the Israeli official said. "But they're here."
It warms the cockles of my hearts to read this. The good old Saudis who punish victims of rape and fund terrorists all the while shaking their fingers at Israel as if they really were arbiters of morality.
The fine Syrians bolstered by their pipsqueak leader who are only in attendance because baby Assad is desperately trying to make a name for himself. I never thought that I'd say this, but I would have felt differently had his father been in Annapolis. The man didn't need to prove that he didn't wear diapers. But I digress.
Did you see that Iran is holding its own peace conference.
The good old Iranians, benefactors of that other Palestinian group. You know the ones I am talking about, Hamas. Remember the guys who currently control Gaza.
Elham indicated the Tehran meeting would be a riposte to the conference bringing together Israeli and Palestinian leaders which started in Annapolis outside Washington on Tuesday.
"It means that the Annapolis conference is not representing the Palestinians and not talking on their behalf, but on the contrary is moving against their rights," he said.
In simple terms Israel isn't negotiating with representatives of all of the Palestinians, just some of them. And that my friends is just one of the 1,876,098 reasons why Annapolis as currently constructed is doomed to fail.
"Hamas parliamentarians in Gaza signed a petition declaring their opposition to Palestinian "concessions" in Jerusalem and on the refugee issue, Israel Radio reported Monday.
"Any settlement that does not include the return of the refugees, [Israel's] ceding of the land and the holy sites, and the release of the prisoners is ridiculous," Ahmad Baher, deputy chairman of the Palestinian parliament said at the signing of the document. "The attempt to force such a solution led to the second Intifada."
Among the signatories was Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
"The people believe that this conference is fruitless and that any recommendations or commitments made in the conference that harm our rights will not be binding for our people," Haniyeh said as he entered the Palestinian parliament building in Gaza. "It will be binding only for those who sign it."
There is going to be more bloodshed, more pain, more death and more harm and for what? A chance for a lame duck president and company to claim space in a history book. It is just shameful.
Some Recent Posts
I Was Protecting My DaughterAnd your blast from the past:
New Voicemail Greetings For My Phone
I Never Did Like Niedermayer
How To Eat Sushi
If You Could Read My Mind
Rice's legacy on the line at Annapolis
The Day Joy Left My Life
The Day After
Letting Love Go
I Was Protecting My Daughter
Walking through the mall with kids is like walking blindfolded through a minefield. There is no way to get through it without getting hit with multiple cries of "Daddy! I want that!" No matter how many toys they have there is always that one that they must have, and then the other, and the other and the other....
So before we left I briefed them on the goals of this mission and how it was to be conducted. But if you ask any general they'll tell you that no matter how well you train your troops there are always going to be surprises that pop up in the field. And sure enough we hit one.
We were upstairs near the food court. The goal was to buy a pretzel for the kids to split. A simple, yet effective way to keep a three-year-old occupied, not me, my daughter. ;) And then the incident happened.
Let me set the scene. Music is playing. It is not the normal holiday crap. No, it is Tootsee Roll by The 69 Boyz. If you recall last week I blogged about Dancing With My Children. Well, when I heard the music I decided to try and make the kids laugh and started screwing around. Picture big goofy dad screwing around and two children laughing hysterically.
There we are bouncing around when all of a sudden I see this woman heading for my daughter. She is talking on a cellphone and is most definitely not looking at her feet and I just know that she is going to run my daughter down.
Presto-Change-O! Dancing Daddy is now doing his impression of the Secret Service. I take three quick steps forward and bend over to grab my daughter and pull her out of the way. Success! Ok, maybe not so much.
I have managed to pull my daughter out of the path of the oblivious shopper, but in the process I have placed myself directly in the path of one of the makeup girls from Macy's. Because I bent over to grab my princess she winds up falling on top of my back and then as I straighten up she gets flung off of me.
With a loud oomph she lands on the floor next to me, plaid skirt splayed covering everything but what it is supposed to cover. Time stands still and all you can hear is my son telling us how cool that was and can we do it again.
I apologize and ask her if she is ok. For a moment she gives me the female look of death. I am tempted to explain to her that growing up with 1,987,093 sisters, a mother and having been married for 909 years has given me immunity but think better of it.
Fortunately she has a sense of humor. When I tell her that I was trying out for Dancing With the Stars she smiles and assures me that she is ok. As she starts to walk away with as much dignity as she can muster my son says far too loudly, "dad, her underwear was torn right up her butt."
I did what I could to try and shush him. I told him that it wasn't polite to speak about other people's underwear, but he wasn't going for it. "Dad, I hope that she did a good job of wiping her tushie or her mom is going to be really upset."
Oy, as if the woman wasn't already embarrassed, or maybe that was me. Either way it wasn't good.
Now, do you see why I hate the holiday season.
New Voicemail Greetings For My Phone
I kind of like this last one. Don't mess with the man with no eyes.
I Never Did Like Niedermayer
How To Eat Sushi
If You Could Read My Mind
And just for the heck of it here is Johnny's cover of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails
"What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end"
Rice's legacy on the line at Annapolis
Rice's legacy on the line at Annapolis conferenceI don't know about you but the term legacy in regard to a peace process makes me very uncomfortable. In theory diplomacy should be conducted dispassionately and without concern that any of those involved are doing so for anything but altruistic reasons.
Can Rice save her legacy with 'Hail Mary' pass?
Rice at center of peace talks
The term legacy makes me question that. I don't want the players to be worried about how history is going to view them. I don't want to be worried that they're trying to win awards or a place in the history books.
Legacy just rubs me the wrong way. It is a bit like the doctor saying "this might sting a little" right before they shove a six inch needle into your spine.
I just hope and pray that the legacy of Annapolis isn't written in our blood.
Harvesting Elephant Sperm
Post Thanksgiving Notes
Most years it is held at my parent's house. It is the house I grew up in so it is filled with memories. I still venture into my old bedroom. My parents have turned it into sort of a den/office. It has a desk, a computer and a flat screen on the wall. Pretty different from the various posters I once had and the men at work sign I put on the ceiling. (Point of information- it was a construction sign that had nothing to do with the band.)
Sometimes I find myself wandering through the house looking for my grandfather. It is 18 months since he died and yet I still expect to find him sitting in his chair. Every now and then I am surprised that I haven't heard him yell at the dog to get out of the way.
Speaking of the big lug it is times like this when his absence is even more noticeable. It used to be that you didn't worry about dropping food. We didn't care when my baby nephew through food on the floor because the furry vacuum cleaner would get to it before we did.
Some things have always been the same. My parents kvetch at each other about a few little things. My mom yells at my sisters about doing more to help and my dad tells me to stop aggravating everyone. With a twinkle in my eye I beg my father to send me to my room and he mutters something about disconnecting the computer and the flat screen.
Dinner is loud. There must 287 people stuffed around three tables. I try to sit at the kids table and am scolded by my six year-old niece for being too big. My three year-old nephew thinks it is great. He and his cranberry filled hands are only too happy to pat me on the back.
It is loud, really loud. I have a grandmother and a sister who wear hearing aids and a grandfather who probably should. One of the 929,983 kids turns on the television and 290,873 adults yell at him or her to turn it off. Instead of it being turned off the eldest nephew deftly turns on some kids show and now the 929,983 kids are assembled in front of it.
This raises a dilemma. They're relatively quiet and occupied. Do we mess with the quiet and insist that they visit. They've been hanging out together since the day before, having all survived the sleepover at grandma and grandpa's house.
My two remaining grandparents are relatively quiet. Just short of 94 it is clear that they are slowing down. They still interact with us all. They're happy to play with the kids and want to know what is going on in our lives, but still, I see that they are getting tired faster than they used to.
In the kitchen my mother is yelling at someone. She is not really angry. This is her "I am really tired voice." I suspect that one of my brother-in-laws has been caught trying to sneak a piece of pie before she is ready to serve dessert. He should have asked me for my assistance. I am an expert at smuggling a pumpkin pie into the service porch where I can sample the wares before they are placed for all to eat.
Suddenly I realized that my mother is yelling at me. She suspects that I have tried to use the BIL to do my dirty work. Note to self, mom hasn't lost a step. She remembers all of my tricks so I need to keep coming up with new ones. In this case she is wrong so it is easy for me to smile and say that I am innocent.
BTW Mom, if you ever read this, I did get a piece of pie. Remember the pie box that looked like someone had accidentally dumped upside down, well you did tell me to take care of it. I shouldn't admit this here, but that cool whip that you saw on inside of the box didn't get there because someone dumped it. It was intentionally smeared there.
Amazingly enough the kids make it through the night with minimal fighting. Not too shabby considering how much time they spent together. My three year-old nephew is fearless and tried to take on my almost seven year-old son. Nephew didn't fare as well as he thought he would. His big brother is very tolerant of his shenanigans. His cousin is not so tolerant, but was careful to try not to hurt the three year-old.
My daughter and niece beg me to play makeup and dress up with them. Thankfully there isn't time. It is far too late and I take the kids home. But something tells me that tomorrow they'll hit me up early in the day. Uncle Jack doesn't look great in drag, but I wouldn't want to disappoint the kids now would I. Maybe we'll take pictures.
Then again maybe I'll consider moving to cleveland. I am spent. Time for bed. See y'all in the a.m.
Turkey Bowl- The Annual Football Game
It is a physical game. We don't play touch. We don't play flag. It is tackle football. It is violent and brutal. You don't wander onto the field unless you are willing to get hit. We have have heard all of the war stories. Broken noses, ruptured spleen, shattered eye socket and bruises galore.
We don't just beat the actives. We dominate them. I play noseguard. It is a position that suits me. I don't mind the dirt. I like the contact. I love the challenge, the chance to impose my will on another.
As I age I remind myself that playing might not be so smart. I am not afraid. Fear is what causes injury. No, I am wary of the three days of recovery time. Pick up basketball doesn't prepare you for this. This is far more physical. I go hard every play. Every time I line up I try to knock the guy in front of me on his ass. Hit him hard and hope that over time he'll get tired of getting hit.
Usually it works. More often than not they get tired of getting pounded on, worn out by the constant tug-of-war. I start to get into the backfield on every play. The quarterback is my prey. I haven't managed a sack in a couple of years and my ego is bruised. I used to average one a game. Way back in the glorious year of 1993 I had four.
In '94 I was 24. No kids, no wife, no mortgage, no responsibilities. I am determined to prove that I haven't lost it. Perhaps I am a step slower. Certainly I am a bit softer in the middle than I was. But now I have the guile that comes with age. A crafty veteran of numerous battles I use economy of motion to maximize productivity.
Every play I bait the center. I dare him to go head to head. I promise not to embarrass him too badly. Initially it works. When I was 20 I too was young, dumb and stupid. He really does believe that the old man crouched in front of him can't possibly keep it up. He is wrong.
This game gives me a rush. It is like having a caffeine drip inserted directly into my veins. It is an addiction. I can't bear to think of the day when I am not able to play because I can't. Imagine a 240 pound five-year-old with three days growth.
I start preparing to play two months before. September rolls around and I roll out the Turkey Bowl workout. More push ups, more tricep extensions, crunches, bench press, curls and more. I work on creating a body built for punishment.
One hour of play. That is all I have to withstand. One hour of getting out there and giving the game all I can muster. Sometimes I play both ways. Defensive line and offensive line, with the odd bout at fullback.
Game day arrives and the alumni assemble. On the far end of the field we huddle up. Hells Bells by AC/DC plays in the background. As the bell tolls we pump each other up. We know that we are weekend warriors. There are no illusions. Most of us are decent athletes, but we didn't play pro or college ball. We have our limitations, but not when it comes to heart. In a few minutes kickoff we'll come and we'll charge the actives in our own miniature war.
Twenty years go by in the blink of an eye. Thanksgiving day 2007. When I wake up I roll out of bed and hobble to the shower. My body aches from two hours of basketball. I suspect that my posture resembles that of a question mark. Inside the shower I focus on stretching and working out the kinks.
A few hours later I am standing on the sidelines. I have reluctantly decided not to play. My body still feels like hell. I tell myself I am being smart, mature and responsible. Inside my head there is a voice screaming at me. He is berating me, taunting me, teasing me, asking me when I turned into such a little man. I do my best to ignore him.
It is not working, but I am not dressed to play. I tell myself that I'll just hang out and talk to the guys. There are a bunch who don't play. It is nice to catch up with them. Still, I find myself staring at the field. Eventually I'll give in. I'll tell myself that it is ok. I'll rationalize it by saying that I compromised. A partial game means a shorter recovery time.
So here I am many hours later. I am happy, but the truth is that I am a man who has a terrible itch. I wish that I would have played longer. I should have just played. I am not that old yet. I can still get out there and next year I will.
A Toilet Revolution
Maybe they need to a hold a world series of toilets or some kind of cage match between the organizations. I'd really hate to think about how much we're losing because of competing organizations. Can't we just flush along.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- The World Toilet Association kicked off its inaugural conference Thursday, hoping to spark a sanitation revolution that will save lives through better hygiene and break taboos about what happens behind closed bathroom doors.
To the celebratory rhythms of a percussionist beating on toilets, dozens of government delegates and U.N. representatives began two days of discussions on improving bathroom facilities for the 2.6 billion people worldwide who lack access to proper restrooms.
Dr. Shigeru Omi, western Pacific director of the World Health Organization, said 1.8 million people die annually due to diseases related to inadequate sanitation, 90 percent of them children younger than 5.
Providing healthy bathroom facilities worldwide would cost some $10 billion a year -- equal to 1 percent of world military spending or what Europeans annually spend on ice cream, he said. The new association aims to provide toilet facilities to impoverished countries, provide for urgent sanitation needs after natural disasters and spread information and technology for improving toilets.
The South Korean government has given strong backing to the World Toilet Association, which has been spearheaded by the country's "Mr. Toilet" -- parliament member Sim Jae-duck. He earned his nickname for improving public restrooms for the 2002 World Cup as mayor of Suwon city.
"The restroom revolution will provide hope and happiness to mankind," Sim told delegates.
The group is not associated with the World Toilet Organization, another body that was founded in 2001 by Singapore's Jack Sim, has 44 member countries and similarly seeks to improve toilet sanitation in the third world.
South Korea's Sim, who has built a toilet-shaped house in his hometown, was unanimously elected Thursday as the new association's first president.
I Hate Shopping During This Time of Year
Thanks to the magic of online shopping I have managed to dramatically reduce the amount of time that I have to spend in these overcrowded cattle cars. Each year I say a sheheckeyanu for Jeff Bezos and company. In plain English that means that I give the dude a chunk of my hard earned cash and a hearty thank you.
But sometimes you get stuck and you are forced to go to the dreaded mall. Today is one of those days. I wonder if someone didn't go and replace my brain with a soft melon. What the hell am I thinking. I'll tell you what I am thinking.
I am thinking that if I get some Chanukah gifts today I can send them back courtesy of my sisters and company. I am thinking that they can pack them up and hold onto them until the holiday starts. I am thinking that instead of scrambling at the last minute I can be ahead of the game.
Still, I am a like a little kid that doesn't want to go to school. I dread the idea of going. Just thinking about it makes me want to bang my head against the wall. You'll have to excuse me. I am going to go sedate myself with a big latte and then hit the mall hard and fast.
Saudis Punish Rape Victim Part II
The AP is running a story about how the Saudis are defending their actions against a rape victim.
Such compassion is heart warming is it not. CNN has additional information in which we learn that the victim's attorney had issues with the judge. Not to mention the victim's husband who suggests that this was an isolated incident.
"The Shiite Muslim woman had initially been sentenced to 90 lashes after being convicted of violating Saudi Arabia's rigid Islamic law requiring segregation of the sexes.
But in considering her appeal of the verdict, the Saudi General Court increased the punishment. It also roughly doubled prison sentences for the seven men convicted of raping the woman, Saudi news media said last week.
The reports triggered an international outcry over the Saudis punishing the victim of a terrible crime.
But the Ministry of Justice stood by the verdict Tuesday, saying that "charges were proven" against the woman for having been in a car with a man who was not her relative.
The ministry implied the victim's sentence was increased because she spoke out to the press. "For whoever has an objection on verdicts issued, the system allows an appeal without resorting to the media," said the statement, which was carried on the official Saudi Press Agency."
Sorry, I can't buy into any of this. The Saudis are among the worst violators of human rights and common decency. It sickens me to see the U.S. lie in bed with them.
"If this sentence is based on the law then I would've welcomed it," he said. "But it is harsh and the Saudi society I know and belong to is more sympathetic than that. I do not expect such harshness from Saudis, but rather compassion and support of the victim and her rights."
Saudi society, he said, is "is very respectful to women in general."
"If a woman raises her voice to a man in public, it would be very unusual for the man to respond or argue," he said. "When a woman enters a bank for instance and there is no women's section, all the men make way for the woman to go ahead of them and get her business first. I would think that putting seven men in jail for rape shouldn't be difficult."
Despite the treatment given his wife by the Saudi judicial system, he believes his society respects human rights and he is optimistic about the future.
"Through this case, as a citizen and stemming from my sense of security and patriotism, I believe in the future... And I have faith and trust in the system," he said.
[F.] do-nothing-ness; indisposition to do anything; indifference, inactivity
- Of or relating to the west wind.
- Mild; benign.
compulsive shouting; thus klazomaniac, one who shouts compulsively.
the eighth power of a number
[G.] in chess, a temporizing move (i.e., a delay in capturing, usually via a check)
[fr. L. oblivion-, forgetfulness + -ize]
now rare to consign to oblivion
A Six Year Old Videographer
Another Blogger In Court
The unexpected result: The New School of Orlando Inc. slapped McSween with a defamation lawsuit to stop her from publishing and talking about the school and force McSween to pay damages.For the full story please click here.
Some say it's a case of censorship. Others say First Amendment rights have nothing to do with it."Lots of people, private and public, can have thin skins," said Rebecca Jeschke, spokeswoman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates digital free-speech rights and maintains a legal guide for bloggers. "People need to get used to this new world where everyone has a soapbox and can use it."
The Internet is what gives the New School case a new dimension.
"It's one thing for a disgruntled parent to go around bad-mouthing you to her small group of friends," said Lyrissa Lidsky, a law professor at the University of Florida whose expertise includes First Amendment and Internet-speech law. "It's another to bad-mouth you to the world at large on the Internet."
Also known as New School Preparatory, the kindergarten-through-eighth grade school alleges that McSween deliberately told unflattering lies, causing enrollment to drop. It alleges defamation, libel, slander and interference with business relations. McSween contends that she was just sharing what happened to her and her daughter, Logan.
"When I created this Web site, I did not do it with malice," said McSween, 28, a single mother who lives in west Orange County. "I created it with disappointment about my experience."
David Simmons, an Orlando attorney representing New School, said the lawsuit, filed in late October, was prompted by McSween's postings suggesting a possible kickback scheme between a psychologist and the school. Simmons described that allegation as "ludicrous" and "damaging."
You Have To Fight For Your Right
Swedes fight for topless rights
Swedish women have launched a campaign called Just Breasts which fights for their right to go topless on beaches and in swimming pools.
Scandinavian feminists were outraged when two women were asked to cover up their breasts by a lifeguard at a public pool near Stockholm.
One of the pair (sorry), 22-year-old Ragnhild Karlsson, said: 'If women are forced to wear a top, shouldn't men also have to?'
Dad Has To Be Shrek
Failure. As of late it has been on my mind quite a bit. It has been a rough year with more than a couple of challenges within my personal and professional lives. There have been more than a couple of moments in which I felt like I should be named Sisyphus. It felt like no matter how hard I tried it wasn't good enough.
So after a while I began to wonder if I should just hang up my spikes. If I couldn't get it done than maybe the smart thing to do was to walk away. But the thing is, safe is not my nature. I am a gambler and a dreamer.
That is not to say that I don't know how to be conservative. I do. I am more than capable of taking a deep breath and following the main road to the city. It is something that I do more often than not. Still, I can't help but search for the Yellow Brick road. I can't help but wonder what would happen if I tried something new.
So I take a moment to try and determine why things happen one way and not another. In some cases I can say that I failed because of the limitations I placed upon myself, not because I couldn't do it.
That is a bitter pill to swallow. It is uncomfortable. Yet, it is also an opening for opportunity. It is a chance to say that I can do better. It is a chance to ask myself what I can do to avoid falling into the same trap.
And that is why I like Roosevelt's quote. It is a reminder to me that life is meant to be lived and that failure needn't be worn as a badge of shame. I own my failure. Don't misunderstand my smile to suggest that I enjoy or am proud of having failed. I am not.
But I haven't any problem saying that I am proud that I was willing to take a chance and that I am confident that the lessons I learned from failing will be why I won't fail again,
I'd write more but the syrupy sweet feel of this post is rubbing me raw. See you around.
Deadly Force- Can You Use It to Protect Your Neighbor
"A so-called "castle doctrine" law recently passed in Texas allows people to use deadly force to protect their homes and property. However, a case in which a Houston-area man in his 70's killed two apparent burglars he observed breaking into his neighbor's house has raised new questions about how far that doctrine might extend.
The man called an emergency dispatcher when he first saw the alleged burglars, saying "I've got a shotgun, do you want me to stop them?"
"Nope, don't do that," replied the dispatcher. "Ain't no property worth shooting somebody over, ok? ... I've got officers coming out there. I don't want you to go outside that house."
"I understand that," the caller replied, "but I have a right to protect myself too, sir, and you understand that. And the laws have been changed in this country since September the 1st, and you know it and I know it."
After five minutes, the dispatcher was no longer able to restrain the caller, who stepped outside and shot both men, reporting, "Here it goes, buddy. You hear the shotgun clicking and I'm going. ... Boom, you're dead. ... I had no choice."
A grand jury will decide whether the man can be charged with a crime. He will probably be found to have acted legally if it is determined that the neighbor whose house was broken into had asked him to protect his property, but not otherwise."
Textbook Disclaimer Stickers
This textbook suggests that the origin of life was a wholly natural event. Because this view contradicts what fundamentalists want their children to believe, readers are encouraged to burn this book along with the author.
This textbook asserts that gravity exists. Gravity is a theory, not a fact, regarding a force that cannot be directly seen. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.
This textbook claims that evolution is not fully accepted by scientists because it is just a theory. The author hopes to confuse you into equating scientific theory with cockamamie theory.
Fast Food Calorie Counter
Thus far it is working for me. I may not look like I did at 20, but overall it is not all that bad. However if you want to wreck your day go ahead and click here.
One Million Chocolate Recipes
Saudis Punish Rape Victim
"(CNN) -- A court in Saudi Arabia increased the punishment for a gang-rape victim after her lawyer won an appeal of the sentence for the rapists, the lawyer told CNN.
The 19-year-old victim was sentenced last year to 90 lashes for meeting with an unrelated male, a former friend from whom she was retrieving photographs. The seven rapists, who abducted the pair and raped both, received sentences ranging from 10 months to five years in prison.
The victim's attorney, Abdulrahman al-Lahim, contested the rapists' sentence, contending there is a fatwa, or edict under Islamic law, that considers such crimes Hiraba (sinful violent crime) and the punishment should be death.
"After a year, the preliminary court changed the punishment and made it two to nine years for the defendants," al-Lahim said of the new decision handed down Wednesday. "However, we were shocked that they also changed the victim's sentence to be six months in prison and 200 lashes."
The judges more than doubled the punishment for the victim because of "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media," according to a source quoted by Arab News, an English-language Middle Eastern daily newspaper.
Judge Saad al-Muhanna from the Qatif General Court also barred al-Lahim from defending his client and revoked his law license, al-Lahim said. The attorney has been ordered to attend a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry of Justice next month.
Al-Lahim said he is appealing the decision to bar him from representing the victim and has a meeting with Justice Minister Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh on Monday."
Dancing With My Children
Sometimes I try to remember what it was like to be so carefree. Sometimes I think that if I just work hard enough I can get back to that place where life is simple. There are moments when it feels close enough I can taste it. There are little moments in time when the impossible becomes possible. Dancing with the children is one of those moments.
The kids love to dance. They're not old enough to be self-conscious about it. They're still young enough not to feel silly so they just get up and do whatever they feel like doing. My son kind of flails around a bit like Mick Jagger and my daughter just jumps.
More often than not she grabs my hand so that I can pick her up. I look down and see these twinkly eyes and a mop of curly hair and I melt. Click here. If you close your eyes you can see my princess and I waltzing around the room. Just hearing the music makes me smile. I can hear her giggle as we spin. I can hear her shriek with laughter. And sometimes, just sometimes you might even catch me with a little tear in my eye.
My son has all sorts of requests for songs to dance to. Sometimes it is for The Bright Sunny South or Above by The Blue Man Group. He has ridden his horse to the theme from The Magnificent Seven and Ghostriders in The Sky by Johnny Cash. He loves Mud on the Tires by Brad Paisley but the night almost never ends without a request to sing along to Mr. Brightside by The Killers.
I do the best I can to soak it all up and imprint these moments permanently upon my brain because I know the day will come when they won't want to dance with their old man any longer. Although I can't really say that I am all that worried about forgetting because all I have to do is put on a few of their favorites and the memories will come flooding back.
And for those who are interested here is short list of what I have listened to this morning/afternoon.
What I have Done
Throw It Away
Pictures of You
I will Find You
She's a Butterfly
More Than This
Born To Hand Jive
You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch
Just Another Day
Roosevelt Was Right
"Don't hit at all if you can help it; don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep."
Cellphone Contracts- Cell Jail & More
In theory if you have my number you have instant access to me. The time of day doesn't matter, because the office travels with me. There are no "banker's hours." Oh sure you can and should make a policy about what time people can call you on it, but is only semi-effective. People still call and regardless of the time I have to make an effort not to respond. That ring generates a Pavlovian response in me.
This past week I was reminded of just how important my phone is to me and why I hate cellphone contracts. You see my Treo 700w died. It didn't give me any warning. It didn't tell me that it was tired of the relationship it just checked out and left me standing there with a confused look on my face.
I called my provider to ask for their help. This is the second time that I have had to replace it. The first one lasted about six months or so. This one made it about five. As you can imagine when I spoke with the provider whose name rhymes with horizon I was less than pleased. I wanted to know why the phone keeps dying. I don't drop it. I don't throw it. It hasn't been folded, bent, stapled or otherwise mutilated. All I did was utilize the standard features of the phone.
So when I spoke with the provider whose name rhymes with horizon I inquired about switching to a different phone. They said sure Mr. Shack, we'd love to help you. Why don't you consider using this fabulous Blackberry. That is all well and good except they want me to extend my contract or pay an outrageous amount of money for the fabulous Blackberry.
The provider whose name rhymes with horizon and their fellows in the industry are very quick to offer discounts to new customers. If you are a new customer they're happy to wine and dine you. They can't work hard enough to help you.
But once you are in the system you are stuck. You can't just walk away from a contract. They make sure of that by sticking you with a large "early termination fee." If you have a problem with the phone they'll do what they can to help you, but that help is limited.
It reminds me a bit of the kid and the shiny new toy. He has a bunch of old toys that he enjoys playing with, but they're not nearly as much fun as the bright new shiny one. That is the one that gets his attention. That is the one that he showers love upon.
You'll forgive me for being bitter that a new customer could buy the Blackberry I am interested in for $100 less than it is being offered to me. You'll understand my irritation at being stuck with a product that doesn't have the life expectancy that it should. It is bad enough that we have to deal with Planned obsolescence, but surely we deserve better than this.
I think I am going to call the provider whose name rhymes with horizon and ask to speak with someone in their customer retention department and see if we can't find a suitable compromise because I really am unhappy about being stuck in the cell jail.
I'll let you know what happens.
Who Knew That Sperm Was Worth So Much
"We also bought about 10 vials of Sperm, at $300 bucks a pop, plus $150.00 to ship, plus paid to store it in NYC (you know, for those last minute insems) at $400.00 per quarter. We also bought BOXES AND BOXES AND BOXES of OPK's at (oddly enough), $24.99 per box, and HPT's at, oh, anywhere from $6.00 to 12.00 per box. And then there was more sperm, at $285.00 per pop,"
Consumerist: Questionable Commenting Policy
Consumerist is part of the weekly rotation. I don't get there every day, but I do check in throughout the week. Even though I have been lurking around the site for months I haven't ever been interested in commenting, until today.
And today I learned that one cannot just begin commenting because you have to audition. Yes, that is correct, you have to audition. They don't just want any commenters, they want very special people because
"our editors want to spend more time providing new content and less time moderating comment threads."It is their world and they can run it anyway they like, but something about that is a bit off.
Did you see that little blurb about intimidation tactics silencing critics. Well it seems to me that they are not much better. Not very impressive.
"3. Why are you doing a blog about consumerism? Aren't blogs about Hillary Clinton being a lesbian and Tara Reid drunkenly shoving firecrackers up her nose?Because it's not being done anywhere else, at least certainly not with a good sense of humor. Because in this age of a renewed crisis of the commons where companies use intimidation tactics to silence criticism, it's important for an independent voice to provide that critique."
Busted By Facebook
The youth of today. Oy.
Who says Facebook is the province of the young? Increasingly, the 30something bosses of naive recent college grads are proving adept at turning the social network against its earliest adopters.For the full story click here.
Kevin Colvin, an intern at Anglo Irish Bank's North American arm, was busted when he told his manager, Paul Davis, that he'd miss work due to what colleagues took to be a "family emergency". Davis turned up the photo above, freshly posted to Facebook from the Halloween party Colvin apparently missed work to attend, and attached it to his reply, copying the rest of the office as he did it.
I Never Dressed Like This
Anyway, I present to you the JC Penny 1977 Catalog.
One More Victory Over The Nazis
The Shmata Queen tipped me off to a story that I think many of you will find to be quite interesting.
For the full story please click here.
BERLIN -- As a young girl, Katrin Himmler asked her grandmother about the man in a black suit in a photograph hanging on her living-room wall. Her grandmother didn't say much, but she cried.
The man in the picture was Ms. Himmler's grandfather Ernst, a brother of Nazi SS chief Heinrich Himmler. The little that Katrin's family did tell her about her grandfather, who disappeared during fierce fighting in Berlin in 1945, was that he was apolitical.
Decades later, Ms. Himmler discovered that her family's story was untrue. Her father, long suspicious, encouraged her in 1997 to go dig in wartime archives that the U.S. had recently returned to Germany. Ernst Himmler, she learned, joined Hitler's National Socialist German Workers' party as early as 1931. Two years later, he joined the SS guard, the special unit responsible for carrying out many of the Nazi regime's worst atrocities.
Now 40 years old and married to an Israeli Jew, Ms. Himmler says she was shocked when she found out that Ernst was in the SS. "It might sound strange, but I never considered this possibility," she says.
Giving Hitler Hell
Hitler's Plan To Use Sex Dolls
Hitler's Gas Problem
The Attack of The Apple Computer Sycophants
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I was a devoted member of the Apple Computer cult. I was a dyed-in-the-wool Kool-aid drinking guarantor of the superiority of Apple computers versus a P.C. At that time I couldn't stand to use a P.C. It was an affront against my sensibilities.The post wasn't ever intended to be a discussion of the technical merits of operating systems. Had I wanted to compare Linux versus Windows versus Mac OS I would have done so, but I didn't and I don't care. You want to find that, go seek out Slashdot, Linuxworld or MacNN.
Anyhoo, I thought that I'd share some comments from some of the keyboard banging monkeys whose toes I stepped on.
Here are two from the post:
At 11/12/2007 12:42:00 AM, Mstr. E. Anderson said...Ya know, I have absolutely no doubt that after 10 years of drinking MS Koolaid you feel that a PC with Windows as an OS is better--even though you just hint at why but don't actually make any explanations.Mstr E. Anderson,
More power to ya! Believe whatever you want.
Just one thing: P.C.= Personal Computer. Dell makes PCs. Apple makes PCs. Dell's PCs run Windows (or you can get some form of Linux). Apple's PCs run the Mac OS (and can also run Windows, many flavors of Linux, and other OSes).
So your article is NOT "P.C.'s Versus Apple Computers." If you wanted to discuss that you would discuss hardware from Dell, Gateway, Lenovo, HP, Sony, and Apple. But you didn't do that.
Your discussion was MS Windows vs. Apple Mac OS.
Respectfully, your total lack of understanding of the difference between hardware and OSes makes your entire "random thought" nothing more than Microsoft FUD.
Read the comment above. You're right. Bill Gates is paying me hundreds of thousands of dollars to spread MS FUD and propaganda. Jobs and company just don't pay as well which is why I didn't praise them.
At 11/12/2007 01:30:00 AM, Anonymous said...
This blog defines randomness in all it's vapid glory. You may just as well have posted with a headline "Concrete Versus Wood fence Posts" In fact you could have just left it at the title and forgotten about the rest - there's just nothing there; no explanation, no insight, no nothing....
You're anger is displaced. You spent 2.5 hours actively surfing through my archives. What's that say about you.
Perhaps I'll update this later on and share more feedback. We'll have to see what happens.
Correspondence Regarding a Job Offer Part II
Dear Mr. Jack Ofalltraydes,So I spent a little time trying to determine what the most appropriate response to Mr. Johnson Craig would be. This last note reminded me a bit of my friend Lloyd Dobler who once said:
We are pleased to accept your position. In order to process your employment we need your banking information. Please send me to this at Johnson.Craig@Alum.com or you will not be functional.
God bless your person,Mr. Johnson Craig"Sole Proprietor"Craig Textiles...
Lloyd Dobler: I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.My inclination was to just cut and paste this as part of my response, but something compelled me to try and come up with my own reply. Here it is:
Dear Mr. Johnson Craig,Apparently Mr. Johnson Craig was not pleased with my answer.
By your last email's voice I see that you wish to process me for employment purposes. I understand that you need my banking information so I shall do my best to fulfill your request to explain my banking information.
I used to have a mason jar that I filled with spare change. For years I kept it beneath my bed, but not under my mattress because that made it too lumpy. I called it the Bank of Jack.
The Bank of Jack was one of my best inventions. Unfortunately my sister Jill found it. When I saw her with my bank I yelled at her. She took it and ran up a hill. I ran after her. I almost caught her at the top of the hill, but I tripped and fell down and Jill came tumbling after.
Sadly the Bank of Jack broke and I was forced to try something else. Since I could trust Jill I went to the city and opened up an account at a place called This Old Man. And wouldn't you know it, with knick, knack, paddy whack, this old man earned interest on my money.
Does this answer your questions? Please let me know and I will be happy to provide more knowledge from my well.
Mr. Jack Ofalltraydes
Dear Mr. Jack Ofalltraydes,Now I wouldn't want my dear friend Mr. Johnson Craig to be disappointed in me so I sent him a response:
We have made a serious offer of trade and employment for our growth and benefit. I must know your account information so that we can access it to place your deserved rewards and earnings inside it.
If you do not respond within one day we shall reserve this offer of employment.
God Bless you,Mr. Johnson Craig"Sole Proprietor"Craig Textiles...
Dear Mr. Johnson Craig,I am curious to see if he actually answers this last note. I was going to try to come up with something more clever, but I got bored. We shall see.
It is important to me that you know that I do not think that this is a joke. When I received your offer I made a video that shows my excitement over this position. Tell me specifically what your heart desires and I shall strive to help you achieve it.
Mr. Jack Ofalltraydes
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