Sunday, April 30, 2006

Death And Remembrance

"The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them." ~ Lois McMaster Bujold

It was a difficult week last week here at my house. Starting on Monday, my car, which I depend on for my livlihood, began running so badly that I feared it might not make it to my daily stop in Lititz, Pennsylvania. It was a fouled spark plug wire. That is not a problem one wants when the gas prices are up to nearly three dollars a gallon.

Tuesday morning, as I watched the mechanic down the road do a simple tune up, I happened to notice my right front tire was badly worn on the outside edge of the tread. It wasn't that old a tire. Signs that the front end was out of alignment. (That explained the violent shaking when my car reached certain speeds)

I couldn't afford to get that problem taken care of immediately, but I did have to take the car to get a new tire, which I did, immediately after the tune up.

Friday morning, I arrived at my office to find the owner of the company and a man I didn't know in the office. My dispatcher, Sharon, was not there. She always had my paperwork filled out and my proof bags ready to go, in order, but this day, I had to do that myself. It caused a delay getting started.

But the really bad part was yet to come. It was at this point that I was told that they were closing this office down, and from now on I would have to do my pick ups and drop offs at a storage facility.

On top of that, I learned Sharon had been laid off. I will miss her and her husband, who also worked with us. They were both fine Christians. Both were veterans. Both were Republican Conservatives. Jerry, my dispatchers husband, is a minister and the administrator of a private school for veterans children in Scotland, Pennsylvania. They are part of a growing population of Black Conservatives, one of the rapidly growing groups that the Democrats are most afraid of.

The change will actually make things a little bit better for me, overall, but usually I dislike change in my routine. Even if it's for the better in some ways.

However, probably as a direct result of this change, one of the other drivers missed his connection, and at the end of the day, when I picked up the proofs for delivery to Lititz, I not only had to pick up mine, but another drivers, as well. I barely had room, stashing my trunk full and stuffing the entire back seat, also.

So, loaded down this way, I began my 100 mile trip to Lititz.

Just as I approached Harrisburg, I heard a familiar sound. The left rear tire had gone flat. I had to completely empty the trunk of approximately 21 bags of bank proofs to get to the spare, but I changed the flat while Semi trailer trucks sped by mere feet from where I was squatting.

I was late to my stop.

Further delays happened later the same evening as I got to within a mile of my home. I came upon a blockade of U.S. Highway 40, forcing me to take a detour home. There had been an accident on the highway, and traffic was being routed around it.

I made it home without further incident.

The next day, Saturday morning, I went to Sears and got both a new tire and an alignment. Later, my son, who had spent the night with a friend, came home and informed me of the unfortunate details of the accident. It had been a three car collision, resulting in two fatalities.

Including the death of one of his best friends and classmates, William Daniel Bynaker, 16. My son, John, knew him as Danny. Once again, in the space of a few months, my son lost another friend through tragedy.

It would seem that this friend of my son's life was somehow destined to end prematurely. His was one of the names on another students hit list a few months ago. A student that had brought a loaded gun and extra ammo to school one day. And a list of students he intended to kill.

Somehow, the events of the previous week become insignificant. My son is handling this well, although he is unusually bad tempered. It is the way he deals with pain. I understand.

Last night, I went to see the new film, United 93. It was a very powerful film. It captured the confusion and terror of that fateful day. After it was over, and the patrons filed out, there was none of the usual discussion of what we had just seen. Nothing but silence. Except for the sound of people choking back tears.

I highly recommend seeing the film. Not for entertainment, but to remind us of the reason we are currently engaged in this struggle against Global terror. I think sometimes we get complacent and we tend to forget in the course of our day to day lives. This film should serve as a stark reminder of what it takes to preserve freedom.

This struggle must continue. We must see it through to conclusion, no matter what it takes. We cannot fail. The lives of every man, woman, and child in America, and indeed, the free world, depend on eradicating terrorism permanently.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Conspiracy Theory

"The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one." ~ Adolf Hitler

A few weeks ago, A Commenter on my blog placed a link to a film in his comment. I linked to it, and found a well done professional quality film that enumerates several reasons why the filmmakers believe the 9/11 attacks were an elaborate government conspiracy.

If one were given to believe every crackpot theory that spreads like wildfire over the internet, this one would seem to be legitimate. At least of the surface. It depends on the fact that the average gullible American doesn't really know very much at all about the events that transpired on that fateful day in 2001.

In fact, at least one blogger that I read often linked to the same video over at his place. I don't necessarily believe that particular blogger believes the film is factual. In fact, since I respect the bloggers intelligence and honesty, I believe he was just linking to it to stir up some controversy.

But this is how these things grow legs, in my opinion. I don't think he really believes it. He is much too intelligent to buy a theory without doing extensive research. In fact, he usually does much more research than I do.

I brought that up so I could bring this up. AOL news this morning has reported on this very same video, which could bring the filmmakers a modicum of credibility. If you don't read the whole story. I have found that often people in general more or less skim the news sometimes and miss some very important information.

I, myself admit to skimming sometimes. I did it just the other day over at ER's place and missed part of the story he published that was a tip off to the fact that it was a satire and not a legitimate story. I did discover the deception, but later in the story then others did.

Read the story from AOL.

The article at first appears to promote the veracity of the video until 15 paragraphs into the story when we are told:

"Most of what the film alleges is refuted by the evidence at hand. Anything not answered definitively by the government is interpreted by the film as proof of a coverup.

Among the assertions in Loose Change is that a missile hit the Pentagon even though eyewitnesses saw the jet, numerous pieces of wreckage were found including the flight recorder, and those on the flight and in its path at the Pentagon are dead.

There is also the claim that because jet fuel burns at up to 1,500 degrees and steel melts at 2,750 degrees, the World Trade Center's infrastructure could not have been brought down by the airliners. However, as reported by the Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, steel loses 50% of its strength at 1,200 degrees, enough for a failure.

"The only thing they (the filmmakers) seem to have gotten right about the Sept. 11 attacks is the date when they occurred," says Debra Burlingame, whose brother was the pilot of American Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon.

"They aren't truth-tellers looking to save the world," she says. "They're con artists hoping to sucker conspiracy-theory paranoids or anti-government malcontents into shelling out their hard-earned dollars."

Then the article goes back to indicating that there is a legitimacy to the story.

This is how these crackpot conspiracy theories get the publicity they shouldn't. They rely on the ignorance and willingness of the rank and file Americans to confuse and cause division in this country.

And many gullible, uneducated people fall for it, hook, line, and sinker.

Friday, April 28, 2006

One Year Anniversary

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." ~ George Santayana

One year ago today, I started this blog. It began as a simple commentary on news of the day, an opportunity for me to express my particular opinion as seen from my peculiar perspective. Hence, the rather odd blog address, describing my perspective as coming from somewhere out in left field.

One of the first commenters I ever had in the beginning pointed out that I should have named it right field perspectives, since my ideology is decidedly right wing. He had a point. I responded brilliantly, of course, by saying, when you are seated 4 rows back in the bleacher seats in left field, and facing left field, it is on your right.

Looking back over the past year, There have been many changes, both to America, and to the style and substance of my blog. As a way of celebrating this milestone I have decided to republish what I consider to be the best opinion piece I ever wrote.

And announce, that after today, I will not be quite as committed to making sure I post something everyday, as sometimes I just don't seem to have an idea of what to write about. I will try to write as often as I can, and indeed, I still may post something everyday, but if I don't, you will understand. I lost a personal relationship due to my commitment to this blog, and that will not happen again. I learn from my mistakes.

The following was posted here July 2, 2005:

A Question

Someone asked me today, "Do you really believe all the things you write about in your blog?" I had to stop and give it some thought.

So, I thought back, to a 7th grade classroom and the intercom crackling to life with the news that the President had just been shot. The ultimate disrespect for the office of President.

Then I thought back 5 years later and the bullets of the false revenge struck again. Twice.

And I think about all the rights that we were supposed to be guaranteed to us by the constitution, the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And how they are being continually and methodically stripped away.

A court case decided that a woman has the right to kill her baby. It was called Roe vs. Wade.

I remember how my belief in the integrity of the senate was drowned in the murky waters of Chappaquidick.

And the images of soldiers returning from Viet Nam being spat upon and called "baby killers" by the people with whom I had once identified. And the way they were reviled by the very government that should have thanked them for their service.

Murderers and child molesters being freed by technicalities and "race cards". And innocent people being persecuted for their faith in a God whom the founders of our country based our system of government on.

I can think of cases where children are being suspended and expelled from public schools for writing essays on Jesus, the Bible, or their personal belief in God. And being sent home for wearing T shirts that proclaim "Jesus loves you" while other students are allowed to wear T shirts with the images of Marilyn Manson,Godsmack, and other "death metal, Satanic Bands, and pentagrams.

I remember Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his commitment to legalize murder of the elderly and infirmed.

I think of how the Supreme Court keeps ordering the removal of the ten commandments from Courthouse lawns, the very rule of law our system of justice is based on.

Hate speech by politicians, news media organizations, and radical associations.

Then I remember the pain and anger I felt when terrorists flew jet airliners into the world trade center towers and pentagon. And then there were people who blamed the attacks on our own government and those who support it.

Muslim extremists terrorists sawing off the heads of innocent civilians, some of who were in their country to help them.

Then there was the starving to death of a young comatose woman in Florida, not just a mercy killing, but a long agonizing death, and the numbers of people that think it is ok to do that to someone.

A hurricane strikes New Orleans, causing a canal wall to break apart, flooding the entire city, leaving death and destruction in it's wake, and some reprehensible people use the suffering to politicize and take advantage of it for political capital.

The mother of one of our brave men who sacrificed his life for our country uses his death shamelessly to protest the war against global terrorism, to the point that she has made his death meaningless and herself a national shame.

People lobby to keep cold blooded murderers alive and/or complain that the execution by painless lethal injection is not painless enough, while the families of the victims receive little or no sympathy.

And now, My President is being called a liar and a loser and a murderer by politicians and news media who want to undermine him and his efforts to create a better world for our children

And on, and on, and on, and on.

So, Whenever someone asks me, "Do you really believe the things you write about in your blog?" I smile, and wink, and say, "Hell no, but the money's good."

For what else could I say to such a question?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Oil Price Solutions

"Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." ~ Laurence J. Peter

As some one who drives for a living, these gas prices are particularly worrisome for me. Gas at nearly $3.00 a gallon is becoming a major investment for me.

But the solution to this problem, I think, is much easier and more practical than the majority of Americans believe.

I was standing on line at the bank the other day, and watching the television provided there for those who are waiting to talk to a banker for various issues. It was, as all seem to be, tuned to CNN.

Now, I personally, wouldn't watch CNN voluntarily unless my children were being held hostage and watching CNN was a condition of their release, but on this day, I saw an interesting graphic posted on the screen. As usual, the volume was so low I couldn't hear what the commentators were saying, (which is a blessing, really, when it's CNN) but the graphic spoke volumes to me.

It was a list of the prices of gas in other parts of the world.

Most of us have seen such lists, and we are often told that we should be thankful we don't live in Australia or Europe etc, as the prices in some of those other countries are so much higher.

But the higher prices weren't the ones that made my jaw drop. It was the lower ones.

The graphic didn't linger on the screen long enough for me to memorize the entire list, but 2 of the country's prices were unbelievable. At least compared with what we have to pay here.

I am seriously considering a move to Caracas.

In Caracas, Venezuela, The average price of a gallon of gas is $.12.

12 cents.

Twelve cents.

In Kuwait, it's $.95. As in ninety-five cents.

Why the disparity in oil prices between them and us? They have their own supply. They do not have to import oil. They do not have to buy from other countries and pay the tariffs, fees, and taxes that we do when we import from The UAE, for instance.

From the information I am hearing around the internet and the radio and television news, It isn't the oil companies that are gouging us, so much as our very own government.

The average profit the oil companies make on one gallon of gas is, I've heard, is between 8 and 9 cents a gallon, while the tax on one gallon of gas, both state and Federal, is as much as 40 cents. Drop that tax off, and the price of a gallon of gas drops to approximately $2. 49 cents a gallon at some stations around here. That's still too high, but it's a start.

It seems to me, after seeing such startling figures on CNN, that the solution to this problem lies within our borders.

There have not been any new refineries built in the United States in 30 years.

The United States Government bows to pressure from the environmentalists lobby, by refusing to allow oil companies to drill anywhere within our borders. Or even offshore. There are unlimited supplies of oil all around us. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the Gulf of Mexico have vast areas beneath them that are full of oil. Just offshore.

And, of course, the biggest flap is over ANWR, a tiny parcel of land on the extreme northeast tip of Alaska. So far north, in fact, that one could throw an ice ball and hit Santa's workshop from there. Estimates of the amount of oil that could be found there vary according to who you get your estimates from, but I believe, all agree that it has enormous potential to help us wean ourselves off the teat of unstable middle eastern oil brokers.

But the environmentalists complain that drilling for oil there would endanger some caribou. Well, it might. But the again, I doubt it sincerely. Even the most substantial of oil rigs and refineries wouldn't take up so much room that it would run any animal from any breeding grounds. The room they take up is minimal compared the to vastness of the land unspoiled.

I say to Hell with the caribou and to Hell with the environmentalists whackos. I don't think either of these entities are more important then the economic survival of America.

Drop the taxes on gasoline to a more reasonable level. Or drop them completely.

Let's start drilling for oil offshore and in ANWR.

Build some new refineries.

We need to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. Completely. Let's go domestic.

Get serious about finding viable alternative sources of fuel. Debate only causes more delays. Let's settle on a plan of action and then implement it.

And as long as I brought up alternative fuels, we need to examine ethanol a little more closely. Not because I believe it's a viable alternative. Because so far, it's not. Did you know that the process of refining the grains from which we get ethanol is vastly more expensive that the process of refining oil?

Yes, ethanol would likely be more expensive than gasoline. That is no solution. Not yet.

And most importantly, let's get Government out of the oil business and give it back to the oil companies. They make better managers than Senators, Congressmen and the President.

And so what if oil company executives get rich? Who cares? If I am paying less than a dollar for a gallon of gas, I say they earn the right to a $400,000.00 retirement package.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Health Care Crisis

"Preserving health by too severe a rule is a worrisome malady" ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Today, I am again typing this entry on the computer at the local county Library. The problem I had with my cable connection yesterday was fixed at approximately 2:50 PM yesterday and I was able to go online the remainder of the day (after I got home from work, that is). This morning, when I got out of bed, it was again down, but this time it had to be fixed by a technician actually coming out here and fixing the problem in the overhead lines. As I type, it is still not operational. I had most of this post already typed and saved to documents, but, alas, I cannot access my documents from the Library computer, so I basically had to completly re-write this.

I recently received an e-mail from Shaun Mullen, the administrator of the moderately progressive Liberal blog, kikos house, inviting me to be a guest blogger on the topic of the healthcare crisis in America. The following is part of the e-mail he sent me:

Year in and year out, reforming America's troubled health-care system is the biggest third rail issue in politics. No matter how you approach it and no matter how you want to fix it, you're going to get shocked.

I previously asked visitors to Kiko's House to guest blog on reforming the U.S. immigration system and for their comments on the third anniversary of the war in Iraq. I am now extending an invitation for you to share your views on how to fix health care.

A little background:

America spends far more for health care per capita than any other first world country.

Nearly 45 million Americans have no health-care insurance. A surprisingly large minority of this group are technically not poor.

Emergency rooms are groaning under huge loads because many patients don't have family physicians, let alone insurance.

Previous efforts at cobbling together a national health-care system have been disasters, although Massachusetts will begin experimenting with a new near-universal system beginning next year.

Pharmaceutical and insurance companies have a disproportionately powerful voice in any discussion about fixing health care.

What do you think needs to happen to fix this mess?

The following is how I responded to his query. It will be posted on his blog, I assume, somewhere around May 6:

In response to your question on how I would fix the Health care system in America:

I believe we are looking at the whole problem backwards. We are constantly trying to focus on how to pay the high costs of health care, and not on how to lower the cost of health care, which I consider more practical.

I am unashamedly Conservative, which already puts me at odds with Kiko and the majority of the readers of his blog. Be that as it may, my solution to the health care crisis in America is one which I formulated many years ago, when I considered myself a Liberal.

So it may be a Liberal solution. I don't know. Nevertheless, I still think it's a very good solution.

We regulate many types of businesses in this country. We put a ceiling on what private enterprise can charge for goods and services. The oil industry is a good example. Gas gouging is illegal. Independent oil companies are not allowed to charge more than a set amount for gasoline.

Similarly, other industries are equally regulated. Grocery stores have a ceiling on prices. As do most industries dealing with essential human needs. Telephone, gas, electric, and trash companies have to obtain permission from the government to raise prices, and then they are limited to how much of a raise they can institute.

Why not healthcare? Doctors and pharmaceutical companies currently have no restrictions on how much they can charge for their goods and services. Why not? Are they somehow better than the oil companies, and the utilities?

Here is my solution: Do not allow doctors and pharmacists to be paid more than a set figure per year. When I first entertained this idea, my original dollar figure was $50,000.00 per year, but with inflation, that is much too low in my opinion. However, I do think $100,000.00 a year is quite enough for doctors and pharmacists to live on.

Besides, a doctor who is a good manager of his money can turn a little money into riches through other means. This plan would not prevent doctors from getting rich. It merely forces them to find more inventive ways to reach a fiduciary goal. Doctors who manage their money well can still become millionaires with this plan.
This will have several related benefits.

First, and most importantly, healthcare costs will plummet, making health care much more affordable for the average American.

Second, this plan would eliminate the mercenary doctor, who only became a doctor to get rich, and couldn't care less about the welfare of his patients, as long as he gets his fee.

The only doctors and pharmacists left would be the ones that genuinely care about the patients health and will do whatever it takes, and explore every avenue to that end.

Additionally, the research scientists would have no more reason to milk the coffers of charitable organizations such as the American Cancer institute, etc., and would likely miraculously find a cure. A cure, that I am quite sure they already know about, but it is relatively inexpensive and if it was permitted to be used would seriously affect he yearly incomes of the doctors.

In short. Don't regulate the patients. Regulate the healthcare profession itself.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

No Post Today

"To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer." ~ Farmers' Almanac

In keeping with my personal commitment to create a new blogpost everyday, I am posting this to explain why I cannot create a blog post today.

I had an early appointment to have my car worked on and barely got up in time to get there. I still would have had time, after I returned home, to write a post, but while I was at the garage, I happened to notice wire showing through the tread on one of my tires. So, instead of sitting down and writing a new post, I jumped into the shower, and drove to Sears for a new tire.

After the new tire was installed, I had barely enough time to get to work on time. But no worries. I have a 2 1/2 hour long lunch period in which to write a post.

Wrong again. I had almost completed very insightful blogpost for today when I got booted from the internet. I lost the whole thing. Seems something happened with the local cable company and all internet cable service went kaput.

I have no land line. I use my cell phone for all phone calls, so I have no land line to fall back on in cases like this.

( I am typing this at the local library)

So, no post today! Sorry, "Casting Pearls" junkies!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Stupid Things I've Done

"Lord, what fools these mortals be!" ~ William Shakespeare

I spend a lot of time thinking and regretting all the stupid things I've done in my lifetime. Perhaps too much time. But the stupid things are the very same things that ultimately led to the man I am today. In many ways, they have a direct influence on the shaping of my own self image as a failure.

I won't begin with the stupid things I've done as a child. There are just too many of them, and anyway, what child doesn't do many stupid things? So, I will focus on some of the things I did since I became an adult.

One of the first big stupid mistakes I ever made as an adult, was my refusal to take my education seriously. When I was in college, I was more interested in the girls and campus radicalism then in pursuing a degree. That led, ultimately to dropping out of college. That, and the lack of funds for tuition. But, although I often use the excuse that I couldn't afford additional schooling, I know there were avenues to attain those funds that I didn't investigate.

The next one goes hand in hand with the first, in a way, as it is indicative of my naivete in regards to just how difficult is in this world to make a success of oneself. While attending school part time, I was working full time at Beech Aircraft Corporation in Wichita, Kansas. It wasn't the best paying unskilled labor in town, but it ran pretty much in a tie for third best, behind Boeing and Cessna.

I screwed around and loafed and avoided working, and made up excuses for missing work until the company decided I was more of a liability than an asset, and terminated my employment after 2 years. Stupid of me. All I would have had to do to remain employed was do my job, and now I would have over 30 years in, be a supervisor, and a mere 8 years away from retirement, probably with a nice nest egg. Beech is now Ratheon, the aerospace mega-corporation. I would no doubt be pretty comfortable financially now.

If I hadn't done stupid things.

Following that, there have been a series of bad jobs with bad pay interspersed with stupid mistakes throughout. All because of those first two stupid blunders that could have easily been avoided.

In the current century, I continue to do stupid things. I left my wife for another woman. Yes, it is true that she wanted me gone (and often strenuously insisted)before I ever dallied with the other woman. Any other women, in fact. But instead of working to improve our relationship through counseling and other methods, I bailed.


Once, I drove from Kansas City to Tampa Florida, to meet a woman in person that I had previously met on the internet, only to discover after all those miles, that she thought I had been kidding about actually meeting her. We had spoken on the phone, and made plans together, and I was in love. In retrospect, I was not in love, but in lust. I was thinking with a part of the anatomy that doesn't contain an actual brain, as the saying describes.


More recently, I have alienated and lost friends because of doing stupid things and making stupid remarks, that were hurtful and insensitive. And not my intention at all. And yet, I've done them.


Looking back over my life, I can see, in 20-20 hindsight, that the stupid decisions I've made, and the stupid things I've done created the situation in which I now find myself.

I think there is a distinct difference between doing stupid things and making stupid mistakes. Stupid mistakes generally come as a result of just not thinking. Doing stupid things, requires one to actually think and consider the consequences of a correct or incorrect decision. And then, doing the wrong thing anyway.

It is a thorn in my side, that while I take pride in my intelligence and ability to see many sides to an issue, I nevertheless do so many stupid things that appear to contradict the notion that I have any intelligence beyond that of my dog.

I wonder if I will ever stop doing stupid things.

I wonder if I am the only person who does stupid things.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Oh, God! Another Meme!

"Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man." ~ William Shakespeare

I found this meme over at Etchens place, where I admitted having a slight crush on her. My answers differ from hers and if yours don't differ from mine, I will get a restraining order.

1. Were you named after anyone? Yes. I was named after Abraham Lincoln. He was named in 1809, I believe, and I was named in 1951.

2. Do you wish on stars? No.

3. Do you like your hand writing? No.

4. What is your favourite meat? Roast pork

5. What is the most embarrassing CD on your shelf? I believe the name is Andrea Bocelli. Italian singer of some sort who sings in Italian. Not my choice. A gift from a millionairess ex girlfriend. Never opened, or played.

6. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with you? Yes. I am a charming guy. (He said, with much alacrity)

7. Are you a daredevil? No.

8. Must have accidentally deleted it, b/c I have no idea what it was! So make up your own question here. Actually, Etchen, there wasn't a question here. I looked it up!

9.Did you ever tell a secret you weren’t supposed to? Yes. Too often.

10. How do you release anger? Bottle it up until I blow up in an outburst Thor would be proud of.

11. Where is your second home? My car.

12. Do you trust others easily? Unfortunately yes.

13. What class in college do you think is totally useless? Anything taught by a Liberally biased professor, or, most of them.

14. Have you ever been in a mosh pit? Good God, no. (see number 7)

15. What do you look for in a guy? A guy? Ummmm...lack of any threatening behavior. A gal? Respect.

16. Would you do a bungee jump? See number 7.

17. What's your favourite ice cream flavour? Mint chocolate chip.

18. What is your least favourite thing? Disrespect from others. I reserve the right to be disrespectful to others, although I usually aren't.

19. How many people do you have a crush on right now? 1 serious, several slight crushes, including the aforementioned Etchen.

20. What do you miss most right now? The money I paid to my landlord this month. I paid all I owed, which was more than my regular monthly rent, and now I am short until next paycheck.

21. What are you listening to right now? An infomercial. My son hid the remote (again) and no real man can change channels without a remote.

22. What is the weather like right now? Unseasonably cold and wet.

23. Last person you talked to on the phone? Allegheny Electric Company. Paying a bill by phone. (I have no life, I have no friends, I have no future)

24. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Shape.

25. Favourite drink non-alcoholic? Diet Mountain Dew.

26. Favourite alcoholic drink? Root beer schnapps. (haven't had an alcoholic beverage in months. Not much of a drinking man)

27. Hair colour? Barely brown

28. Eye colour? Hazel

29. Wear contacts? Yes. When I am out trolling for chicks.:)

30. Last movie you watched? In Theatre: Larry the Cable Guy:Health Inspector. TV: The Godfather.

31. Favourite day of the year? First day of Spring.

32. How many people have a crush on you right now? 4 unless I am assuming too much.

33. Scary movies or happy endings? Yes.

34. Summer or winter? Summer.

35. What book/magazine are you reading at the moment? "I Am a Soldier, Too: The Story of Jessica Lynch"

36. What's on your mouse pad? My mouse (Stupid question.)

37. What did you watch on TV last night? I don't remember. Such is the quality of Television programming these days.

37. Favourite Smell? Hickory Smoke. There are many others, but I don't like the smell of manure that the wind sweeps through this valley this time of year.

38. Do you regret ever breaking up with someone? Definitely, yes.

39. Favourite actor/actress? Vincent D'Onofrio(sp?) / Heather Locklear

Y'all's turn. (I'm not a redneck, but I play one on blogger sometimes)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Just About To Hit It Big

"The person who makes a success of living is the one who see his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication." ~ Cecil B. DeMille

For those of you who don't have or use AOL, there is what is known as a "buddy list" where you can put the screennames (also known as user names) of your friends, so that you can simply link to them for purposes of instant messaging, e-mails, etc.

ER is on my list. As is Tech, and Mariee, and Jim O'Sullivan, and Sheila, etc.

An interesting feature of the buddy list is that anyone on AOL or AIM who sends me an e-mail or an instant message that isn't already on it, automatically gets added to the list under the heading of "Recent Buddies".

This morning, as I was sitting in front of my monitor trying to think of something, anything, that I am interested enough in to write about, a name popped up there, meaning someone who had e-mailed me or messaged me sometime, had just signed on.

Scott Ott.

OK. Who is Scott Ott you might ask? He is the administrator of a blog called ScrappleFace, a very popular humor/satire blog with a decidely Conservative slant.

How popular? Well, I'm quite sure since Rush Limbaugh has mentioned that he reads it, it is a bit more popular then before. But it is very popular.

I will confess right here that I am envious of anyone who's blog can attract the attention of someone like Rush, or Hannity, or Laura Ingraham, etc. So, since he is on my buddy list, I took the initiative of sending Mr. Ott an instant message. I told him he is on my buddy list and asked him if he is the same Scott Ott who's blog was mentioned by Rush Limbaugh, and he responded in the affirmative.

After that, a conversation ensued in which I touted my own blog. I proudly guided him to my recent post on which a record (for me, anyway) 83 comments were posted. He said, "That's up there". Whereupon, he apparently checked mine out and then offered the suggestion that I go with a light background and dark text if I wanted serious attention from major players like Limbaugh, etc.

I found him to be very gracious for a big time important blogger type fellow.

Except for the fact that I had no idea what he was talking about. Obviously, Mr. Ott is much more computer savvy than I am. I appreciate the help and advice he offered. I really do. But all that "Geek Speak" is "Greek speak" to me.

I am, after all, a "techno-moron". (A phrase, by the way, that I myself coined way back when the earth was cooling and computers were still DOS's.)

Anyway. I am inspired. Look for changes in my template soon. As soon as I get the courage to attempt to make a change that I fear, perhaps unreasonably, will wipe out my entire blog permanently. Actually, I know it can be done...Frenzied Feline did it.

Let me add here, that I have been distracted from blogging as of late, which should explain to some, the absence of comments from me on other blogs and the creating of posts, the quality of which I otherwise would never of been satisfied with before. I will try to come up with better, more original posts in the future. In the meantime, bear with me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

What Hu Really Said

"Communism is like prohibition, it's a good idea but it won't work." ~ Will Rogers

I heard this on Rush Limbaugh's program today. He translated Chinese President Hu's speech at the White House. This very easily could be the exact translation as far as we know. Who here understands Chinese?

So, anyway, the bit opens up with the Chinese Presidents voice intoning in his native language, and then Rush translates. All the while Hu can be heard speaking in the background. I think it's funny:

Thank you, Mr. President, for your kind invitation that I know you really don't mean. I wanted a full state visit complete with state dinner. You denied my request. Instead I have to stand here in the sun, making like I'm enjoying this. I know you hate state dinners because you go to bed at nine o'clock but I wanted to party, like when our good friend Bill Clinton was here -- and I would have told you where bin Laden is if you'd given me the chance to boogie. Do you really think I would spend time in your shack in Texas? I see enough shacks every day without going to yours.

No way was I going to have a summit in a shack, as you originally wanted. No ChiCom leader will be caught dead in a photo-op chopping wood. In fact, no ChiCom leader will be caught dead. I also want to thank the American people for stopping the Dubai Ports deal. We, we own your ports...

(Protestor calling out.)

...and we will strangle you.

We didn't need Dubai. Everybody from Bill Gates to George Bush is complaining to me about intellectual property. Well, know this, America. Your intellectual property is ours. Bill Gates is an idiot, thinking he can intimidate me. I wouldn't use Windows if he paid me. I'm a Mac guy. That gaudy house of his made me sick.

(Protestor shouting)

Why don't you shoot that protester or run her over with a tank or send her to your prison called Club Gitmo and torture her? This is sabotage! Are you telling me that President Bush can't shut that woman up? Kim Jong Il warned me about this. I should have listened. Anyway, back to Bill Gates. That gaudy house of his made me -- somebody shut that woman up or I'm leaving! That gaudy house of Gates' made me sick. He's a true capitalist pig and he's proud of it. Such arrogance! And his menu, only three courses for the future dictator of the world? And I had my choice between halibut and steak? I'm tired of eating fish. You can't eat filet mignon with chopsticks.

I was tempted to tell him I wanted some white rice with missiles from Comrade Charlie Trie's restaurant in Little Rock just to see what he would do, and I don't appreciate being lectured to about our currency. We own most of your national debt. We have destroyed a significant portion of your manufacturing base with wages lower than you even pay those fool immigrants. If you keep this up we're going to sell the debt of yours that we own to Dubai. Here's the truth: You are a bunch of weak, devout cowards, more interested in watching American Idol than you are in defending your weak, pathetic capitalist pig country -- and, by the way, the way you portrayed us as inept on your show "24"? We knew Jack Bauer was alive all the time. He's not worth dealing with.

We will bury you.

The Chinese people are slaves. They will die on my command. Besides, I need get rid of about 300 million of them anyway because we can't feed 'em. What better way than by using them to bury you? Which reminds me: how come you're deporting our illegal immigrants who arrive in shipping containers at ports we run, yet you open your border to the Mexicans? You let Fox get away with solving his problems yet you stand in our way while pledging mutual understanding and cooperation?

We will bury you.

You think we have mutual strategic interests? Wrong (unless you Americans want to be buried). You'll believe any phony compliment offered by anybody! You don't even know me and you're treating me better than your own president. I know what your stupid drive-by media is going to do with the protester. They're going to get mad at her. They're going to ask, "Why in the world would Bush allow this to happen to disrespect me, a communist!" You are such softies!

We will bury you.

As far as the lunatic in Iran is concerned, the only thing stopping us from burying you now -- and I agree with that lunatic -- the only thing stopping us from burying you now is George W. Bush. We're patient people. We will wait 'til you elect a Democrat as president. As communists, we understand how to scare the hell out of them. We encourage global warming, because we get away with it without punishment. We know this is because you are scared to death of us, as you should be.

We will bury you.

And don't cry to me about oil and gasoline prices, Mr. President, when we have our meeting. We hope you continue to try and put your Big Oil executives in prison. We admire that, but don't think it makes us your friend. We have every bit the right to steal the world's resources as you do and we will continue to do so. I've already had secret meetings with the Saudis. They know that we are the future leader of the world plus they know we will bury them, too, if they don't supply our needs. We intend to bury them anyway. All this talk about limiting nuclear weapons is boring. Who do you think you are to tell a people of the world they can't kill you and anybody else they want?

We agree with your Democrats Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry. America poses the biggest threat to freedom, security and prosperity. We look forward to working with them in a few years. We also look forward to expanding cooperation and technology and culture, because without yours we don't have any technology, and not much culture. Besides, we don't allow culture. Speaking of technology, we bought quite a bit of technology from our friend Bill Clinton, your ex-president, but we haven't seen all the deliveries. Now we learn that our friend Bill also allowed the stupid Iranians to nuke up. We will not be humiliated like this.

Do not try to export your liberalism to us. We have the real thing in China. We don't need cheap imitators. Listen to me on Taiwan. I'm only going to say this once: "We own it; it's ours, and they are dead or they soon will be." If you stop us, if you even try to stop us we will bury you sooner than we intend to. When I stand here and lie to you about working with the international community to build an enduring peace, I almost gag, because I couldn't care less about peace. We're into domination. But I know your sappy leftists love the talk of peace. I almost thought about showing up here in some Birkenstocks just for the fun of it. The thing is we didn't want peace; we want domination.

We will bury you.

And then we'll take care of the Russians once and for all. I also want to say to the American people I bring with me today a sizable donation to the Cynthia McKinney Legal Defense Fund, just as we contributed to President Clinton's defense fund. The People's Republic of China supports the oppressed peoples of all countries. Now I have to go inside this White House. I have to go into what's called the Oval Office, sit down, and listen to this cowboy preach to me about how wrong we in China are about things. You'll see some pictures of it, and when you do, notice that I am smiling. But that's on the outside, because on the inside, we are plotting to bury you. One other thing. We're going announce during my trip a huge, huge financial and business arrangement with your Wal-Mart. We love Wal-Mart in China. They build big factories, big warehouses. We will someday own Wal-Mart...

...and we will bury you.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

McClellan Resigns

"Criticism comes easier than craftsmanship." ~ Zeuxis

White House press secretary Scott McClellan has resigned. We all know that. My personal opinion I am surprised that he lasted as long as he did. He certainly displayed more than the usual amount of courage and bravery.

Rarely have I seen, in my lifetime, one man endure so much abuse. David Gregory and the rest of the White House press corps were merciless in their attacks on President Bush through his press secretary. McClellan handled it all with dignity and grace.

Some of the relentless attacks coming from the so-called "unbiased" press were absolutely shameful. David Gregory and Helen Thomas, and the rest of those ravenous wolves should make him a nice going away present by apologizing first, and then resigning themselves.

But they won't. This resignation will most likely encourage them to be even more disrespectful to the next press secretary.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Traffic Stop In Manheim, PA

"The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." ~ Frank Zappa

Well, last week I mentioned being pulled over by a Conservation officer, and said I would tell about that later. I guess now is as good a time as any.

On my way to Lititz, Pennsylvania, I have to drive right through the middle of a town called Manheim, PA. On this particular day, I confess I didn't have my mind completely on my driving, as often happens when you drive over 300 miles a day.

I drove up the exit ramp from State highway 283 and stopped at the stop sign. After the traffic cleared I turned left over the viaduct (Why a duck? why not a chicken?), and proceeded eastbound towards Manheim. There are approximately 5 miles between the exit ramp and the city limits of Manheim. As I passed the exit ramp from the opposite direction, I noticed what appeared to be a police car getting ready to turn right off the exit ramp. Then as I got closer, I was able to read the words on the door.

They read, "Pennsylvania State Conservation Department"

Often I pass Conservation department cars and don't concern myself with them as they aren't real police officers. So, I was nonplussed when the car fell in behind me.

Within one minute after that, I spilled the can of Diet Mountain Dew I was drinking from, right into my lap. Actually, what happened was I was holding the can and it slipped from my grasp. I caught it, but when I did, Mountain Dew shot out of the can and all over the drivers side of the car.

OK, no problem. I knew I had some paper napkins in the car somewhere left over from some burger snack I'd eaten on another occasion. But I looked and offhand, didn't see one. I decided they must be under something or on the floor between the passenger seat and the passenger door. So, I began foraging around in my car, as I drove, in an attempt to ferret out any stray napkin lurking just out of the reach of my outstretched hand.

Consequently, I took my eyes off the road for a second, and the right side tires of my car slipped off the blacktop, and onto the shoulder, which is no more than a foot wide, kicking up some dust in the process. I simply steered the car back onto the pavement, and with a glance in the rear view mirror, and noticing the "officer" was still behind me, proceeded down the road into Manheim. During the next 5 miles or so, I managed to find a napkin and sopped up the mess as I drove.

I had passed the town square and was reaching the other end of Manheim, when a glance in the mirror revealed the Conservation officer's car had it's flashing lights on.

Not really sure what protocol is in this situation, I decided to err on the side of caution and pulled over, only to discover, to my chagrin, that he followed me to the side of the road, parking behind me. I was clueless as to what my offense was, but was confident he would no doubt tell me.

He didn't. At least, not right away.

He exited his vehicle and approached my car cautiously, stopping his progress just behind my drivers side window, where he asked politely for my drivers license. I handed it to him and said, "What did I do?"

He didn't answer, but instead, asked, "Do you have your registration, please?"

I handed him my registration and asked again, "What did I do?" To which he replied by asking me if I had a proof of insurance card.

I handed the card to him and again requested that he please inform of what I had done. Still no answer.

Then he ordered me out of my car, and as I got out, I noticed two actual Police cars pulling up behind his car, lights flashing.

Now I was getting nervous. Had I inadvertently, and without knowing it, ran over a pedestrian? The "Officer" then told me I had run off the road 3 times, nearly hitting a telephone pole the first time. To which I replied, "Yes, I did drop off the pavement once, but I never came close to hitting any telephone pole."

The real police officers arrived, one standing to one side of me, the other to the other side and between me and my car. At this point I wouldn't have been surprised if they had pulled their guns and hand cuffs out.

I heard the Conservation officer explain to the first cop that he had observed me driving erratically, and repeated the lie that I had left the road 3 times and almost struck a telephone pole. Only this time, he added that I had driven off into a field.

Explaining to the officer on my left that I was not drunk, and what my mission in Manheim consisted of, I even attempted to pop my trunk to show them the material I was delivering. This action was met with a stern warning to "Step away from the car, sir" and "Keep your hands out of your pockets, please".

I turned my head to the right and saw the conservation officer bending over and into my car, lifting the almost empty Diet Mountain Dew can out of the cup holder, and sniffing the opening.

Now, by this time I was beginning to get a bit annoyed. One of the real officers distracted me again by telling me that careless driving was a crime, too, and I began to wonder what the punishment is in Pennsylvania for encroaching over onto the shoulder of a narrow 2 lane curvy road.

The Conservation officer asked me what was in my cooler. I replied "More Diet Mountain Dew", and he asked if I minded that he see for himself. I had nothing to hide, so I allowed him.

Then the officer that had been radioing in my personal information came back to me, and warned me that I didn't have a lot of room left for more points on my license. I thanked him for stating the obvious, and he handed my papers Back to me.

They "let me off" with a warning of the dangers of driving erratically in Manheim Pennsylvania.

But I was late for my drop off. And all because of an over zealous Game Warden. I think I was released because he wasn't qualified to make the judgment that I was driving carelessly.

Now, if I had been a fish...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Patriotism Or Treason?

" I'm sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we're Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration." ~ Hillary Rodham Clinton

I suppose there are a myriad of things happening in the news and elsewhere today that I could comment on, but the fact of the matter is, I'm just not too interested in anything I've seen in the news or on the internet.

I am mildly interested in the story of those 6 (seven, counting Wesley Clark) ex-Generals that are calling for Don Rumsfeld's resignation. It seems to me strange that they would all of a sudden come out as a group instead of individually. It seems somewhat....oh.....Choreographed.

But why? Why would six ex-Generals seemingly get together to try to force Rummy to step down? Are they disloyal? Traitorous? Patriotic?

I don't know.

My personal opinion is that they are traitorous. But not because of what they said. Because of when. In case the ertswhile Generals haven't noticed, we are still very much engaged in a war. A war that is creating casualties. A war that has yet to be concluded.

Anytime anyone attempts to undermine the efforts of the President and his staff and cabinet during a time of war, it is unseemly, if not outright treason. Unless there is strong evidence of deliberate wrongdoing on the part of the administration, and there is no such evidence.

I know little about them or their service to our country. I would assume they were all capable officers when they were in the service. They couldn't have risen to the positions of command if they were'nt well respected and well educated in the art of war. Could they?

No. I think not.

I am sure they are fine men with fine records and a heart for their country, which they so proudly served. They were all good generals.

But then, so was a General named Benedict Arnold.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tax Day

"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." ~ Albert Einstein

Taxes are due today. Do you all have your taxes done? I got mine in in time this year, thanks to Jackson Hewitt. That wasn't the case last year. Or the year before that, Or the year before that.

I've never been very good with money. I try to budget, but I always forget some big bill, and then I spend more than I should, only to discover to my horror that I forgot to pay something. That happened this weekend. I had more money to work with this weekend due to the fact that my state tax refund check came in. I have been struggling since last year to catch up on certain fixed expenses and it appeared that I finally had enough to catch all of them up. So I did.

Except I forgot a bill.


Well, at least I caught up on the big ones. But I digress.

When I moved here to Maryland in January of 2003, I had not done my 2002 taxes yet. I was freshly separated from my wife and I had no idea how to file. I couldn't file married filing jointly. I didn't know how my wife was filing and that made a difference for some reason. It was just too confusing to me. Anyway, after a rough draft of my tax returns, it appeared that I was going to have to pay in, and I didn't have the money.

So I just didn't do them at all.

The next year, I had been here a year and I knew to file single. My son had come to live with me in October of 2003. I thought I had read somewhere that if your dependent kid lived with you for any part of the year, you could claim him as a deduction. But a brief phone call proved that I had heard that wrong. Also, another rough draft showed I would have to pay again.

So, I didn't file that year either.

Last year, I just didn't file. I made no excuses. I just didn't file. I figured I would have to pay in again.

This year, after pulling my son out of driving school, and haggling with his driving school teacher over the refund, she informed me she could do my taxes for me at a discount. It seems she is not only a driving school instructor, she also works for Jackson Hewitt.

So I brought my taxes to her. For all 4 years.

She started working on them and only had to call me a couple of times for additional information. I had to call the IRS to have copies of my 2004 W4 forms sent to me because I had somehow lost them.

Shortly before she was done, she called me on the phone to tell me that my expenses for last year amounted to more than I made. I explained that was impossible since I actually had not starved to death during the year, therefore I must have had income. I had to go in personally for her to explain that to me. The IRS allows a certain amount per mile for us couriers and so, the expenses incurred amounted to more than I made. Hence, I had no taxes to pay for 2005. None.

And I am not among the top 1% in income in America.

Eventually, after more than a month in her possession, she finally called me and told me she was done. Except for the 2004 State taxes. She couldn't use the copies of the forms sent to me by the Federal IRS to do the state forms. I don't know why.

I asked her if I had any money coming back and she said yes. I asked her if it was going to be enough to pay her fees. She said yes. Now, I was getting excited. Next I asked her if the refund would be enough to cover the back taxes she said I owe from 2002 and 2003.

She said YES!

"You mean I am going to have some left?"

"Yes", she said, rather unemotionally, too unemotionally for my taste. Then she said she was sending me information on the results.

Well, friends, two days later I received, in the mail, a letter outlining the disposition of funds. I owe money to the IRS for the years 2002 and 2003, but the government owes me for 2004 and 2005.

The only problem is, I can't file my taxes without paying Jackson Hewitt first. And I don't have the funds to do that. Fortunately, by electronically filing for this year (and this year only), I could file this years taxes without having to pay them their fees. They simply take their fee directly out of the refund.

So, this weekend, I received my first refund in the mail. Then, I immediately took that money down to Jackson Hewitt, and paid the fee for filing my 2004 taxes. I will get that money in about 6 weeks. Then, I will use part of that to pay the fees for 2002 and 2003, and also to pay the back taxes that I owe.

I will end up $1,770.00 ahead.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday

"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong." ~ Bertrand Russell

I received this in an e-mail:

Easter is a time of springtime festivals. In Christian countries Easter is celebrated as the religious holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God. But the celebrations of Easter have many customs and legends that are pagan in origin and have nothing to do with Christianity Scholars, accepting the derivation proposed by the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe the name Easter is thought to come from the Scandinavian "Ostra" and the Teutonic "Ostern" or "Eastre," both Goddesses of mythology signifying spring and fertility whose festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox

Traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.

The Christian celebration of Easter embodies a number of converging traditions with emphasis on the relation of Easter to the Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach, from which is derived Pasch, another name used by Europeans for Easter. Passover is an important feast in the Jewish calendar which is celebrated for 8 days and commemorates the flight and freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt

The early Christians, many of whom were of Jewish origin, were brought up in the Hebrew tradition and regarded Easter as a new feature of the Passover festival, a commemoration of the advent of the Messiah as foretold by the prophets.

Easter is observed by the churches of the West on the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or following the spring equinox (March 2I). So Easter became a "movable" feast which can occur as early as March 22 or as late as April 25

Christian churches in the East which were closer to the birthplace of the new religion and in which old traditions were strong, observe Easter according to the date of the Passover festival

Easter is at the end of the Lenten season, which covers a forty-six-day period that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter. The Lenten season itself comprises forty days, as the six Sundays in Lent are not actually a part of Lent. Sundays are considered a commemoration of Easter Sunday and have always been excluded from the Lenten fast. The Lenten season is a period of penitence in preparation for the highest festival of the church year, Easter

Holy Week, the last week of Lent, begins its with the observance of Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday takes its name from Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the crowds laid palms at his feet. Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, which was held the evening before the Crucifixion. Friday in Holy Week is the anniversary of the Crucifixion, the day that Christ was crucified and died on the cross

Holy week and the Lenten season end with Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection of Jesus Christ.

By the way, If you have any doubts that the people at Google are not Christians, just go to and type in the word, "Easter", and see how many pictures regarding the resurrection you find. And how deep you have to dig to find them.

I have often heard non-believers point to the origins of Easter to show that it started out as a pagan celebration. I'm not exactly sure I understand their point. Do they assume that, because it once was a pagan holiday, that it somehow invalidates the resurrection of Christ?

Christ was crucified during the Jewish celebration of Passover. He arose on the third day following his crucifixion. The entire event happened during a period of time once observed as a pagan tradition. The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is very likely the only event in the life of Jesus that is chronologically accurate. In other words, it is a fact that it happened during a pagan holiday event.

That is the fact. It is unimportant that pagans celebrate this time of year. To Christians, and most non-Christians, it is Easter.

Have a happy one.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Love And Respect

"The way to procure insults is to submit to them: a man meets with no more respect than he exacts." ~ William Hazlitt

I am not only addicted to blogging. I am also addicted to online games. Particularly a game site called Pogo. That is probably an anagram or something. Play Our Games Online, perhaps. The singular advantage of Pogo is that in addition to a vast variety of different games one can play, there is the added benefit of live chat with other players all over the world.

I enjoy the sometimes witty, sometimes not so witty rapport between players in "game rooms". I have made many friends online through Pogo games. Occasionally, arguments develop between players.

Last night was just such a case. I was playing and chatting with a somewhat new friend, of whom I have begun to be quite fond. Then, two women who's user names I was unfamiliar with entered and begun to strike up a conversation. The discussion quickly degenerated into a first class donnybrook between me and the two newcomers.

They began to tease me to the point where I became angry. Then, I lashed back at them with my trademark rapier wit, and they soon left the room to escape my wrath.

But that wasn't the only negative. My new friend also left. Well, it was my fault. I overreacted and I shouldn't have. There were other, better ways to have resolved this situation without creating such hard feelings. The following is the e-mail I wrote to my friend in apology:

Dear ____,

I am the youngest of 5 brothers and sisters, all of them smarter then I am. I also was very small for my age up until my second year in high school, (I was actually the shortest kid in school throughout junior high) when I finally grew a few inches. Even then, There were only a few boys in school shorter than I. To give you an example, we graduates were lined up according to height, shortest first, for our high school graduation promenade, and I was the second boy to come into the auditorium. Being short is a very difficult burden for a young boy that already has self esteem issues from failure to live up to his siblings standards.

Consequently, I was constantly being abused by my peers. I was called names and picked on and humiliated and disrespect throughout my life. Even to this day, I cannot suffer being humiliated for very long before I lash out and lash back in anger.

Add to that my recent pain and humiliation suffered at the hands of my ex girlfriend. I was, and am still hurting. I was getting over it.

Respect, or lack of it, has always been a sore subject for me. I cannot remember a time in my life when I felt I was being respected for more than a few days maximum.

Last night, the old familiar demons came back to haunt me once again, in the person of two strangers, who seemed to think it was funny to humiliate me. It may have been funny to them.

To me, it was disrespectful.

I did the exact thing that I shouldn't have done. I attacked back.

I should have left. But my pride wouldn't allow me to do that. Leaving the room when I was, in my opinion, under ruthless attack was tantamount to tucking my tail between my legs and running.

To further put this in perspective, I consider the ministration of respect to be the most important compliment one can pay a person. More so even, than love.

I understand I was not respectful of our two friends last night, but under usual circumstances, I truly do look for any reason I can find in someone for which I can give respect. All people, in my opinion, deserve some respect, even if they are the most reprehensible human we've ever met.

I once was charged with training a new employee at a company I worked form as an assistant marketing manager.

This young man continually interrupted me in the 4-week training session, usually with asinine arguments to just about every point I made. For the entire time that I attempted to train him, I was convinced there was absolutely nothing to respect this young man for.

Then, because he had been evicted from his apartment, and because my boss strongly suggested that I let him stay with me until he could find a place of his own, I reluctantly allowed him to move in, temporarily.

The first night, after he unpacked his things, he produced an acoustic guitar, which he proceeded to sit down and play. The music was beautiful. I had found something about this horrible person that I could respect.

Eventually, it became my pleasure to fire him, because of his insolent attitude and his argumentative personality. But I learned a valuable lesson:

There is always something one can respect about anyone. Respect is the most important compliment one can pay to anyone. Even more important than love.

And if I can't have love, I at least demand respect.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Representative And A Rodent

"Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more." ~ Mark Twain

Normally, I don't get too excited about the number of comments people leave on here, although I am gratified that my Sunday post garnered over 80, which, I'm pretty sure, smashes my previous record. And it doesn't matter too much to me whether people posts comments or not. After all, this is just an outlet for me to express my thoughts and opinions. If someone derives some pleasure, or is moved to question long held convictions as a result of reading my ramblings, well, I guess that's a bonus. I learned long ago that my opinions, like most peoples, aren't too important in the overall scheme of things.

But I have to admit some chagrin at the complete absence of comments regarding my recent discovery and subsequent publishing of pictures denoting the similarities between Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney and a character whom we all know and love. I understand that the accompanying subject matter overshadowed the comparison, but I had expected at least an honorable mention. I thought it was funny.

So, as penance, you will all have to endure a reprinting of the illustration.

This time I am actively looking for comments.

How could anyone stay angry at this woman?

Actually, I think Rep. McKinney is an attractive woman. This photo of her is probably the most unflattering photo of her that I have seen. And it took me quite some time to even find this particular photo. I had seen it on someone else's
blog, but didn't remember who's, and couldn't find it through a Google images search. Eventually, I found and captured it off the same blog.

I do want to add some commentary about the McKinney fiasco:

It annoys me somewhat that certain political commentators and talk show hosts and others are so loathe to accept her apology before the House. It may not have been the most sincere apology anyone has ever heard, but it was nonetheless, an apology. And given the fact that the incident was so over-publicized and over-blown, I think her apology was adequate. She may have been arrested and charged with assault by now, or she may not have. I don't know. I haven't kept up. I don't care.

As one who has had to do probably more than my fair share of apologizing in the past, I can speak from experience. Apologizing is a humbling enough experience without some people having to compound the humiliation by not gracefully accepting the apology. The sad fact is: Some people would bitch if they was hung with a new rope, as my father would say.

Let it go. It isn't worth the hassle.

Let me hear comments. Anyone?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Beast Is A Democrat

"Liberals are very broadminded: they are always willing to give careful consideration to both sides of the same side." ~ Anonymous

A frequent commenter to my place here, and progressively moderate Liberal, Sheila, posed an interesting question to me on a previous post:

"What party affiliation is Beast?"

I laughed and, quite naturally, Immediately typed out "Beast is a proud Conservative Republican."

But later in the day, while driving, it suddenly occurred to me that I was wrong. To my chagrin, I have determined that Beast Is most definitely a Democrat! Let's look at the evidence, shall we?

First of all, Beast relies completely on the governing entity, me, for his sustenance. He receives his food, shelter, and medical care free. And appears quite satisfied with this arrangement. He does not have to work to enjoy the privileges of full citizenship, nor does he pursue gainful employment. So, he is obviously a proponent of the welfare state. Just like a Democrat.

When on walks, he constantly strains and pulls at the leash, especially, when a car is coming, he seems to want to put himself directly into it's path, indicating he prefers to go his own way, in spite of the fact that his actions may lead him into danger. That means he protests against the very thing that keeps him alive and safe. Just like a Democrat.

He puts complete trust in people who he doesn't know, who appear to be friendly, but who's intentions are unknown. Just like a Democrat.

When threatened, or even under an outright attack, he straightens out his curly little tail, and, tucking it firmly between his back legs, scurries for cover under the nearest chair or desk. From there he looks up at his antagonizer and whimpers. He never, under any circumstances, ever attacks back. Just like a Democrat.

When there are strangers just outside our door, he barks, but if we open the door, and allow the stranger in, he instantly becomes their best friend. He never bites them. Just like a Democrat.

He sits at my feet while I am eating the food that was provided by my hard work, hoping that I will toss him a crumb here and there. And if I don't give him some of what I earned with my hard earned money, he sulks. Just like a Democrat.

Occasionally, A van full of inmates from the local jail stops along the street here and they get out and start weed whacking, or picking up garbage, and other kinds of street maintenance, under supervision of the ever vigilant guard. Beast accepts these felons as friends, caring not what their offense might have been. If it were up to him, he would let them into our home and provide them with free care. Just like a Democrat.

Yes, my friends, if there is such a thing as the perfect Democrat, Beast certainly fits that profile.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Is America Going Mad?

"They're coming to take me away, ha ha" ~ Napoleon XIV

In North Carolina, The entire lacrosse season at Duke University has been cancelled due to allegations that three of the players raped a stripper at a party. Now, there are several surface issues that can be dealt with in this story. I will touch on some, briefly.

First of all, what are college kids doing attending a party in which strippers were present? That is a pretty obvious question, and the answer is just as clear. Being terribly irresponsible and short sighted.

Second, strippers make their living off sex. Even the most professional strippers who maintain a modicum of integrity in refusing to take the next step into prostitution can be lured into that situation for the right amount of money. And by the right amount of drugs or alcohol. My ex-wife was a stripper for a time and once, she was offered an obscene amount of money to have sex with a stranger. She got as far as the parking lot of the motel where she was supposed to meet him and bailed out.

Through my ex-wife I have known many strippers personally, and I can tell you from personal knowledge that they do everything for no reason other than money. It is my opinion, given the facts so far presented in this case, that her allegations are false. She was probably stiffed by the players and made the charge of rape out of vindictiveness.

Recent discoveries, one, a video tape proving the stripper received her injuries previous to the party, and the fact that no DNA evidence has been found, has convinced me and almost everyone else, that the players are innocent.

Here is the first indication that America has gone mad: The defense has introduced the evidence that there is no validity to the charges of rape, but the D.A says, "Just because no DNA evidence was found, it doesn't mean nothing happened."

I have been both a juror and a defendant in felony trials and I have learned two basic tenants of jurisprudence:

1. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. The defense does not have to prove innocence.

2. All that is necessary for an acquittal is a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.

The Prosecution has not yet proven the case, and the defense has offered strong evidence that no crime was committed. Hence, reasonable doubt. The Duke players should be released and the case dropped. There is no need to go to the expense of a costly trial.

Further evidence that America has gone, or is in the process of going mad:

The illegal immigration debate.

When this debate first came to the forefront (and it came way too late), it was all about National security. Now it's about offering illegal aliens a thinly disguised amnesty. We wanted to prevent terrorists and other threats to the security of our nation from strolling across the border carrying portable weapons of mass destruction in their handbags.

Now, the debate has shifted. Now, we are preparing to hand those same potential terrorists U. S. citizenship.

Even the President, who I have trusted up till now, is wrong on this one.

What has precipitated this monumental shift in purpose?

I am convinced there are many reasons, but I believe the underlying reason here is money. It means cheap labor for the companies who employ them illegally, and it means potential votes for those who are throwing their support behind the movement. Enough votes brings power. Power brings money.

It is shameful. Selling out the security of Americans across the country for money and power. I believe it was an ancient, increasingly irrelevant prophet named Jesus who said, "What profiteth a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own Soul?"

In the end, all of this indicates America may be going mad.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In Defense of Beast

"Speak when you are angry--and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret." ~ Laurence J. Peter

Just yesterday, I created a post about my dog, Beast, in which I said he is not an intimidating dog at all.

Coincidentally, yesterday afternoon, I was walking him, and as usual, we walked past the open door of the local volunteer fire department. And as usual, Beast made a beeline for the closest firefighters to get his usual back scratches.

But this time it was different. This particular firefighter, whom I didn't recognize, pulled back as if in fear. And then he said, "I told you before, keep that dog away from me."

Now, I don't remember anyone ever telling me to keep my dog away from anyone, but at that point, it didn't matter to me. I was personally insulted. In retrospect, I really don't know why I was insulted, but nevertheless, I was.

So, instead of keeping Beast away from him as he requested, I drew myself up to my full 5'8" height, and asked him, "Oh, really. Why is that? Are you afraid of him? Afraid of a cute little friendly little doggie? Did some big bad dog frighten you when you were a baby?"

He responded by turning his face away from me and waving me off.

I thought it, then I said it: "You are a (colloquial term for a female reproductive organ)"

Lord, forgive me, and be with all those starving pygmies in New Guinea.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Beast

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." ~ Groucho Marx

This is my dog, Beast. He is a pug. Actually, Beast is my son's dog, but not so anyone could tell. When he wants to go out, he comes to me. When he is hungry, he comes to me. When he is thirsty, he comes to me.

We got him several years ago shortly after the movie, "Men in Black" hit video stores. John saw a pug in that movie named Frank, and decided he wanted a dog just like him. At the time, I was still married and my wife still loved her kids. And she spoiled them. So, when John said he wanted a Pug, she went looking for one she could afford. We tried several pet shops but they were all too expensive. Then we came across a newspaper ad advertising Pug puppies for $200.00. And that's how we came across Beast.

Usually when you find a puppy that cheap it has some kind of flaw. We previously had a Basset Hound, named Morty, that I had found cheap from a breeder. He was cheap because he had quite a bit longer hair than ordinary Basset Hounds. And he had apparently been abused, because he was as skittish as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs. If a stranger came around he would immediately Demonstrate his nervousness by making a nice little puddle wherever he happened to be cowering at the time. But nevertheless he was a great dog, and I loved him. When we lost our house, and had to move into public housing, we had to give him up. I was heart broken.

Back to Beast. Beast has no such flaw that we can see, except he doesn't have AKC papers. The breeder we got him from said he has papers, but she couldn't find them right away. She said she would send them when she found them. I guess she's still looking.

It doesn't matter to me if he is registered or not. He is a great dog. He is very smart. I get a kick out of him while walking him about the neighborhood. One of the many things he does that I find perplexing is his habit of burying his nose in a clump of grass and keeping it right there until I pull him away, or until he dies, whichever comes first. He also hates walking in snow, or in water, or even in wet grass. He will go to extreme measures to avoid getting his feet wet. I've been toying with the idea of getting him some doggie galoshes.

He rarely barks except when someone rings our doorbell and my son takes great pleasure from going out the front door and standing there ringing the bell so he can laugh when Beast barks. Speaking of barking when a doorbell rings, I hate the Domino's Pizza commercials. Whenever that doorbell rings in that commercial Beast just about goes insane. The funny thing about that is, other than the Domino's commercial, he shows absolutely no interest in anything else on TV. It's as if he doesn't see or hear it at all. Oh, except for the show, "Who's Line Is It, Anyway?" There's a doorbell sound in that one, too.

He loves kids. Any kid. It is amazing how much this dog loves kids. Whenever he sees kids in the neighborhood, he stops everything he's doing (except for the burying his nose in clumps of grass) to make a beeline for that kid. Often the child is afraid of him. He is, after all, rather fierce looking. NOT!

Our daily walks, which we do 3 times a day minimum, consists of walking him over to the post office, where there is a very nice vacant lot with tall grass immediately next door, so to speak. On the way over there we have to go past the local volunteer fire department building. On most days, the firefighters are sitting there in the open door, talking. Beast has allowed himself to be adopted by the firefighters. He is now their unofficial mascot. When he sees anyone sitting there he simply has to make a point to go to each one of them in turn and allow them to scratch his head and his back. Then, he repeats the process.

I have a theory based solely on watching Beast in his habits. I think dogs have different food gathering techniques inbred into them. For instance, Some are fierce hunters. Some are predators. Some are scavengers. Beast is a scavenger. I cannot leave a full can of trash unattended. He will ravage it, scattering garbage all over my apartment.

He also loves any kind of food. As long as it isn't dog food. I have actually run completely out of dog food, and he doesn't have anything all day, and when I come home with a bag of dogfood, he acts all excited. But as soon as I pour it into his dish, he smells it, and then walks away. No matter how hungry he is. He does eventually eat it, although very grudgingly, as he realizes that's all I will let him have.

But he will eat anything else. His favorite is popcorn. Our favorite popcorn is zesty butter popcorn. It is spicy and he loves it. I have seen him eat carrots, green beans, tomatoes, and literally anything that a person will eat and some things they won't.

Most dogs don't like it when you cover their heads with blankets and things. They will immediately fight as if it is a life threatening situation to get out from under blankets as fast as they can. In fact, Dog IQ tests are conducted by covering their heads and then timing how fast they get out. Beast actually burrows under blankets headfirst. Once under it, he goes to sleep. He also prefers to sleep on anything that me or my son has worn and discarded somewhere other than the hamper.

OK, that's it for today. More perhaps, later. I have to get ready to go to work now.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Another Response To Comments

"There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis." ~ Malcolm Gladwell

Once again I am creating an entire post in response to comments from a previous post, specifically, yesterdays. As I began to respond to all the commenters that disagree with me, I realized, once again, that my answer was going to be so lengthy, it may as well be a post on it's own. So here is my response:

All of you people who keep insisting that homosexuals are born homosexuals (as in naturally, not created that way by environment)forget one very important thing.

Common sense.

No one can honestly say they really believe that. Not even homosexuals. They know they were abused by some one when they were children, or molested, or maybe there just wasn't a powerful enough father figure in the home. Who knows?

But they won't admit it and they won't tell you. And I suppose some have been denying the truth for so long they have begun to totally believe their own delusion. They are too busy defending their perversion instead of working on the issues that have influenced then to become that way.

It is so much easier to convince people who would rather let so-called experts tell them what to think whether it is logical or not, isn't it?

I don't hate homosexuals, nor do I fear them as some have insinuated. I hate the act of homosexuality. (It is possible.) My whole argument concerning the subject is that I categorically reject the notion that anyone has ever been born a homosexual. They choose to be that way for the reasons that I mentioned. And more. In the last couple of decades, I believe another reason for "turning gay" is that it has become fashionable.

I have had many homosexual friends, (I've mentioned this before) and I like all of them personally. But every one of them that I ever spoke with on the subject has suffered some kind of trauma in their formative years such as molestation, at the extreme end of the spectrum, to simply not having a strong enough father figure influence at the mild end.

Every one.

Just the other day, I talked to a woman who got all defensive when I mentioned my belief that environment creates queers, not nature. Why defensive? Because her son admitted to her at 14 that he was gay.

She went on to explain that instead of trying to explain to him that homosexual behavior is unacceptable, she simply accepted it. Then she explained that he didn't have a father until she married when he was 7.

I am a stepfather, and it is my belief that stepfathers, while they may be very good fathers, simply cannot be as good a father to their stepchildren as they can to their own, because they do not have that blood bond.

Right there in that short exchange is two textbook examples of childhood experiences creating a homosexual. A mother who does not accept the responsibilty of guiding her son in the right direction, and no father figure. In that case, I believe the two elements combined to create a homosexual tendency, which in itself, is not necessarily deviant. It is when the individual gives in to the urge to explore deviant fantasies that it becomes unnatural.

I created a post about a scientific study back on June 3 last year. Scientists genetically altered a female fruit fly by placing a male gene in it. It did what male fruit flies do. It made sexual advances on another female fruit fly. A similar, more recent experiment was done with mice, if I remember correctly. Then, the article I was referencing (from who else? The New York Times) drew the conclusion that homosexuality was genetic. The more recent study drew the same conclusion.

My take on the subject at the time was flawed because I based it on a statement from one of the scientists that I misunderstood.

What I should have pointed out at the time, but didn't, is that the research didn't prove that homosexuality was genetic at all. It proved precisely the opposite. The fruit flies would have never behaved in that fashion if not altered. In their natural unaltered state, they would have behaved heterosexually.

An opposite sex gene never occurs in nature. It can only happen if it is artificially altered in some way.

So, if not genetic, what then?

Environment. As I said.

I've said this before. If you want to be gay, go ahead. Whatever floats your boat. I don't really care. But stop trying to convince others that it wasn't a choice, and that you were born that way. You weren't, and subconciously at least, you know it.

The only thing you are doing when you insist it's natural is encouraging more confused young people to deny the fact that they are suffering from childhood traumas instead of dealing with them and expunging those particular deviations.

Sometimes you just has to use the sense the good Lord gave you.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


"When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it." ~ Bernard Bailey

Score another one for the Democrats. They just keep getting more and more out of touch everyday.

OK. Since ER tends to get his panties in a twist if I copy and paste something off his blog without giving him proper credit, I will go ahead and inform you I got this from the comments section of a blogpost on ER's blog, entitled, "ER Review: Brokeback Mountain".

(Perhaps the "panties in a twist" reference isn't exactly appropriate, given the subject matter):

drlobojo says: Most of the people who would be offended by "the thought of" Brokeback Mountain, haven't got much choice but to shop at Wal-Mart. Not much chance a boy-cott would work, in fact it might increase sales among the curious.

(I put that quote in pink for obvious reasons)

Here is my response to that:

Drlobojo, I find that snooty condescending attitude highly offensive. Insinuating that dumb ol' trailer trash people are the only ones that would be offended by perversion is an elitist attitude of the worst kind.

This is why your intellectual snobbery doesn't get any credibility over at my place, and with actual intelligent people everywhere.

A few final observations: I can't help but notice that so often it is the Democrats, the so-called party of compassion for the everyday working man, like those who live in trailer parks and shop at Walmart, etc, is the same party that makes such ridiculous and pretentiously elitist statements such as the above. If I were a Democrat who shops at Walmart, and heard that, I'd join the Republicans.

Simply outrageous.

Drlobojo, don't ever tell me your party cares about the rank and file Americans. You only care about the ones that scrape and bow and genuflect to your "superior intellect and education". And then only if they agree with your overinflated opinion of yourself.


My God. I keep re-reading that statement and the more I read it the angrier I get. What a pompous ass!

OK. What are your thoughts?

Hey, I saw this picture of Rep. Cynthia McKinney and I noticed a striking resemblance to a character we all know and love! How can you stay angry at this woman?