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Showing posts from November, 2007

Evel Knievel- Rest In Peace

If you were a boy during the 70's you probably had one of these toys . 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 serio

Some Quotes That Caught My Eye

Here are some quotes that caught my eye. I need come back and clean post up so that it looks better, but for now this will do. "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

Mad World

Ran into a guy from high school at Costco. He was driving an older Celica and listening to Tears For Fears sing Mad World. I don't recall seeing him since we graduated. 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 Lyrics

M.L.B.F.- Music To Put Me To Sleep

Someone ought to remind me that it is never a smart idea to pay bills before going to bed. Left me feeling more than a little bit riled up. So I decided to come here and listen to some tunes. I figured that I'd try and share what I listened to, so here are some links to some YouTube Videos. 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

I was pleasantly surprised to stumble onto Fabio's comments from this interview : "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*c

Blogging About Children- Where Do You Draw The Line

The old Battle Axe post generated more than a few interesting comments. These got my attention: "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 opportunit

"Crotch Durability Problems"

Do you have "crotch durability problems?" Is it just me, or does that sound it should be part of an infomercial. I can just see some old celebrity like Erik Estrada pitching a solution for it. 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

Annapolis Part II

Earlier this week I voiced my concerns about Annapolis and Condi and company's desire for a legacy. That is a scary way to try and conduct diplomacy. Anyone who knows anything about negotiations understands that one should negotiate from a position of strength and not weakness. 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 othe

Some Recent Posts

Here is a quick summary of some recent posts: I Was Protecting My Daughter 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 And your blast from the past: The Day Joy Left My Life The Day After Letting Love Go

I Was Protecting My Daughter

If you spend any time reading this blog you know that I am not a fan of the holiday season and that given the choice I avoid the mall. The last thing I want to do is fight the crowds. The situation was further exacerbated by having to take my children with me. 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

If You Could Read My Mind

Been mulling over bits and pieces to add to Fragments of Fiction. Sometimes just listening to iTunes does it. Here are links to Johnny Cash and Gordon Lightfoot singing If You Could Read My Mind. Lightfoot Cash 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

Five minutes worth of surfing the headlines brought up a half dozen stories about the upcoming Annapolis "peace" conference and its relationship to Condoleeza Rice's legacy as Sec. of State. Here is a brief sample: Rice's legacy on the line at Annapolis conference Can Rice save her legacy with 'Hail Mary' pass? Rice at center of peace talks I 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. 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 inc

Post Thanksgiving Notes

It is just short of midnight and I am still kind of wound up. I am not sure when Thanksgiving turned into such a big production. I can't quite put my finger on when it meant enduring a crazed marathon of chaos and cacophony. 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

Turkey Bowl- The Annual Football Game

Thanksgiving Day 1987. I am 18 years old and standing on the sidelines of an exceptionally muddy football field. Today is going to be my first time playing in my fraternity's annual "Turkey Bowl." There are two games, the pledges versus the young actives and the older actives versus the alumni. 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

A Toilet Revolution

It is sad to think that Mr. Whipple didn't live long enough to lead the toilet revolution. Then again he might have been torn between whether to support the World Toilet Association or the World Toilet Organization. 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 Pacif

I Hate Shopping During This Time of Year

If you ask the Shmata Queen she'll confirm that it is never a good idea to take me to a mall during the so called holiday season. The gaudy decorations, stupid holiday music and the maddening behavior of the crowds make me want to pluck out my eyeballs with a rusty fork. 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

Saudis Punish Rape Victim Part II

Part one of this story can be found here . Our good friends the Saudis, champions of human rights continue to provide the sort of role model we can do without. The AP is running a story about how the Saudis are defending their actions against a rape victim. "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 w

Vocabulary Wednesday

It is vocabulary time again. Here is part one , part two , part three , part four and part five . faineantise [F.] do-nothing-ness; indisposition to do anything; indifference, inactivity fa·vo·ni·an ( fə-vō ' nē-ən ) adj. Of or relating to the west wind. Mild; benign. klazomania compulsive shouting; thus klazomaniac , one who shouts compulsively. zenzizenzizenzic the eighth power of a number zwischenzug [G.] in chess, a temporizing move (i.e., a delay in capturing, usually via a check) oblivionize [fr. L. oblivion -, forgetfulness + -ize] now rare to consign to oblivion

Another Blogger In Court

Unhappy with her daughter's private school, Sonjia McSween created a blog to warn other parents. 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. 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 Am

You Have To Fight For Your Right

Surely there are more important issues to be concerned about. 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?'

Failure

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." Teddy Roosevelt 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 somethi

Deadly Force- Can You Use It to Protect Your Neighbor

Would you consider this a crime? "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."

Textbook Disclaimer Stickers

If you are in school you just might be familiar with a few of these : 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

In an older post I mentioned that I intended to stop reading the labels on what I eat. Well I have done that and found that it hasn't had any sort of negative impact upon my weight. I eat whatever I feel like eating and make a point not to over stuff myself. 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 .

Saudis Punish Rape Victim

Our dear friends the Saudis are beacons of friendship, tolerance and human rights. It is a wonder why they don't have a permanent collection of Nobel Peace Prize winners. "(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

Dancing With My Children

Not unlike many parents I sometimes get caught in reverie about my children and wonder who they will grow up to be. I watch them as they sleep and try to remember when I could sleep like that. It is a slumber that is not disturbed by adult nightmares and worries. Their sleep reminds me a bit of their dancing, it is done without a care in the world. 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 g

Roosevelt Was Right

"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." Teddy Roosevelt "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." Teddy Roosevelt

Cellphone Contracts- Cell Jail & More

I have a love/hate relationship with my cellphone. It is an electronic leash that helps me dramatically improve my productivity while simultaneously acting as a cruel jailer that never really lets me stop working. 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. T

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

When it comes to surfing the net time is my biggest enemy. It is a limited resource so l am cautious in how I use it. That means that I can't hit every blog or content provider I want on a daily basis, so some of them are in a rotation. 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. "3. Why are you doing a blog about consumerism ? Aren't blogs about Hillary Clinton b

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. 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. For the full story click here .

One More Victory Over The Nazis

Through the years I have read many different tales about things that happened during WWII. Those tales contain some of the most horrifying moments in humanity as well as some of the most heart warming. The Shmata Queen tipped me off to a story that I think many of you will find to be quite interesting. 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

The Attack of The Apple Computer Sycophants

Yesterday I wrote a post I called P.C.'s Versus Apple Computers that has generated a ton of feedback. While I didn't write it for the purpose of generating controversy I can't say that I am surprised by it either. The opening paragraph is a good description of a segment of supporters of Apple Computers: 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 whos

Correspondence Regarding a Job Offer Part II

Part one of this post can be found here . For the sake of simplicity here is the last piece of correspondence I included in the prior post: Dear Mr. Jack Ofalltraydes , 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... 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: 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 ju