Hasty Ruminations

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

A President With A Shaky Past

Mahmoud Ahmedinejad Posted by Hello

Five of the former 52 American hostages in Iran recognize this guy as one of their former keepers. He was just elected president of Iran, with the backing of the clerics. The hostages spent 444 days in captivity, released only when Carter finally left the White House.

Hanoi Jane Fonda, friend of the enemies of the U.S. throughout Vietnam and the known world, is expected to deny that Ahmedinejad was involved. (Yeah, that's really his name. On his driver's license, it says "abul hassan banni sadr" which means "name continued on the back".) Fonda will say, "They couldn't recognize him. Look at the pictures: the hostages were always blindfolded."

Me? I'm believing our guys.

So, what should our response be?

  • Crash a smart bomb into Iran's "peaceful" nuclear reactor? No, it's been done.
  • Take Mahmoud A. hostage? No, GTMO is full.
  • Wait, I've got it: NASA is ready to fly the shuttle again, fixed or not. This will strike terror into their black little hearts:

We announce that Tehran is the shuttle's landing site.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I'll Run... But On Condition That I Win

Democratic Senator Joe Biden said he intends to run for president in 2008. Twenty years ago, he dropped out of the race when it looked like he plagiarized a British politician's speech.

"If in fact I think I have a clear shot at winning the nomination, by this November or December, then I'm going to seek the nomination," he said.

It is not clear yet whose speeches he will use this time.

Monday, June 27, 2005

News and Doings

So much is going on:

1. The Left Coast contract is approved, and I will drive from North Carolina to California in about a week. Work starts on July 11.

2. Lacy the dog is packed.

3. My brother is now ensconced in North Carolina: looking for a job, exploring the area, settling in.

4. My niece found the used bass guitar and amplifier she wants me to buy for her. How can I refuse? Guitar for her, ear plugs for her Mom, Dad, and brother. Heck, they'll never find me in California!

5. While in Chicago, I had very successful meetings with official people concerning my brother's transfer, with his landlord concerning breaking his lease (which landlord thankfully lost his lease), and with the proprietors of the cemetery where my Mom, Dad, and other fond family members from my childhood are buried. So I bought my plot! (That is a w..e..i..r..d.. feeling!)

6. My landscaper son and his new wife are blissful in New Jersey; my Navy son and his Irish wife and daughter are settled in Hawaii; my high school teacher son and his wife in Massachusetts are starting summer theater for the kids (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat); and my daughter is having a great time with her internship and with the social life with her guy in the greatest town for Young Professionals: Washington DC.

7. Lacy just reminded me that she is PACKED, so LET'S GO ALREADY!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

On the Horns of a Conundrum

It is very unpleasant to have two people, who have each earned one's scorn, vehemently oppose one another.

It is very hard not to agree with Person A when he rants and raves against the parentage, upbringing and general moral character of Person B. But then one is agreeing with a person one has sworn to despise.

Such is the recent case of Senator Ted "Chappaquidick" Kennedy versus SecDef Donald 'The Duck" Rumsfeld. Kennedy, citing the rules of steroid-enhanced baseball concerning three strikes and you're out, called for Rumsfeld to resign over the Iraq messes. Rumsfeld replied that the President declined Rumsfeld's two previous offers of resignation; and Iraq ain't so bad, Senator.

On the one hand, the people of Massachusetts apparently only keep Kennedy in office so that we can all keep an eye on him. On the other, if Rumsfeld only tried to resign twice, maybe three times IS a charm. He is certainly worthy of the consideration.

I don't think that both of them should leave office. I think that both of them MUST leave office. Now.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Riverdance & Lord of the Dance

The word is that Michael Flately, the originator of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, is coming out of a four year retirement to launch his new dance tour, "The Celtic Tiger".

The phrase has been used to desribe the new Ireland as an economic powerhouse.

I'll go along, except that for my endorsement they will have to change the color of the tiger from orange to green. The stripes can remain black.

Posted by Hello

Fun For Nerds

California Prankster Changing Traffic Lights

A nerd with time on his hands and elementary knowledge of traffic lights has been tampering with them in Sunnyvale, CA, turning them off and rejigging wires so the lights flash red in all directions.

He also turned traffic lights to face the wrong way, mixed up the audible crosswalk signals that help guide the blind and thrown off the timing of lights to delay drivers.

City officials have launched a publicity campaign in hopes of thwarting the unknown crafty nerd, who has evaded the law for three months. He even has a key to open control boxes and reprogram the lights. Cops want the other nerds in town to put down their cell phones long enough to observe anyone fooling around with the lights.

We tried to get a comment from Bill Gates, head nerd at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. They said he has been out of town for about three months. He went on vacation with one of their cherry picker trucks, they said.

Mother Charged After Dog Kills Her Son

Have you seen the story of the wacko who locked her son in the basement, to "protect" him from the two family pit bulls? Seems the male dog was possessive since the female was in heat.

The son left the basement, and was attacked and killed by one or both dogs.

One dog was captured and is being held; a policeman shot the other dog and killed it.

I hope he saved a bullet for the mother.

Public Broadcasting

I used to get all concerned when it appeared that Public Broadcasting would lose some free money from Congress.

Now, I read that the House voted to restore $100 million for public television and radio broadcasting next year, reversing a plan to cut spending deeply. Supporters in the House beat back charges that "Big Bird is a billionaire." Opponents argued that the widely marketed children's television character didn't need federal money.

Oh, incidentally, they agreed to fork over the cash just as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting announced that Patricia Harrison, former co-chair of the Republican National Committee, is its new president.

I read this. I didn't get it from PBS on TV or the radio. I guess the powers in Washington prefer voters who get a steady diet of pre-digested TV or radio, from producers who don't have to worry about ratings.

This note was brought to you by the letters G (for Government and Graft) and B (for Billions and Bribery), and the number "8" (which, laid sideways, is the PBS budget: infinity).

Rambling Ruminations

Since we last posted, I have gone to Chicago and retrieved my brother, who now lives with me in Nauth Cayolina.

I have had the long-awaited second phone interview from the California client, which went very well. I hope to hear shortly that I shall soon be driving trailer and doggie to the Left Coast.

Just as a reminder, there were a total of five California earthquakes between interviews #1 and #2. I trust I will not be kept waiting too long this time...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Earthquakes: Getting Even

I had a great phone interview the other day from a prospective client in Vacaville, CA. "A second person will call you right away so you can start next week," they said. "Let's do lunch Tuesday." Two days later: no second call. I've called back, left messages - nothing.


Earthquakes. Four significant ones this week in California. Magnitudes 6.4, 4.9, 5.2 and 7.2.

No one has been seriously injured. Yet.

C'mon, Vacaville, make that call. Before I lose my temper.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Well Done!

Posted by Hello

It may come as a surprise, but I have been somewhat ... critical of my former state, New Jersey. Too many people who are not nice. But in fairness, when someone does such a great job as this, I will be among the first to say, "Well Done!"

Police Officer Michael Gullace of Jersey City, 64, a 38 year veteran two weeks from retirement, was working at a desk Wednesday night when he heard gunfire in the station. He grabbed the gunman’s girl friend and two young children, and threw his body over them. When a detective returning fire at the suspect ran out of bullets, Gullace tossed him his own weapon, so he could keep firing.

The gunman, Corey Harley, 27, was being booked for domestic violence when he opened fire. He was hit numerous times and is in the hospital. Two officers were shot; one is in good condition and one was treated and released. Gullace, the girl friend and the kids were not harmed.

Gullace has been instantly promoted to Detective. He still has two weeks until retirement, but his pension checks will be bigger now.

He is my hero!

Our Lady of the Angels

Posted by Hello
In 1958, I was in sixth grade at a Catholic school in south suburban Chicago. On December 1, a horrendous fire broke out at a similar school 50 miles away, in Chicago, about six miles west of the city center. Though there were no convictions, a fifth grade boy confessed to setting the fire, and then retracted his confession; but he knew things about the fire that had not been announced. 92 children and three Catholic Sisters died in one of the country’s worst school fires.

I will never forget it.

Now… the principal author of a book about the fire, To Sleep With the Angels: The Story of a Fire, was jailed yesterday, for arson. David Cowan, 41, was charged with setting a fire at another school, St. Benedict’s, in a storage building. He worked there as a janitor until he was recently fired.

In 2001, he lost his job in suburban Bellwood, Illinois. As a firefighter.

He also wrote Great Chicago Fires: Historic Blazes That Shaped a City, published in 2001. His Amazon.com biography reads, "David Cowan was born in Chicago in 1963. He co-authored (with John Kuenster) (published 1998) the critically acclaimed book about the Our Lady of the Angels school fire, To Sleep With the Angels: The Story of a Fire (Ivan R. Dee, Inc.). A U.S. Air Force veteran and former award-winning newspaper reporter, he holds degrees in journalism and political science from Southern Illinois University. (A former) firefighter and independent journalist, Mr. Cowan has written for major newspapers and magazines and appeared in numerous television documentaries about historic fires. He lives in Chicago with his wife, writer and historian Ursula Bielski, and their daughter, Eva. "

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Over Reaction / Over Regulation

The sad mystery of a four year old child's death on a ride at Disneyworld predictably brought all sorts out of the woodwork.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., has put scoring points ahead of investigating, and thinking. "The death of this child is a perfect example of why the federal government should be able to investigate," he said. He is the author of a bill to close a provision in U.S. law that exempts theme parks from federal oversight.

"The federal government regulates child seats in the back of automobiles ... but not amusement rides that approach G forces that astronauts are exposed to," he says.

Where do I start?
  1. Maybe child safety seats need a common denominator, since they are made everywhere and sold everywhere else.
  2. The injury rate at amusement parks per 100,000 users is miniscule compared to injury rates of unprotected kids in cars.
  3. Why is the Federal Government the investigator-of-choice? States have always regulated activities to protect their citizens. The Feds, constitutionally, are supposed to protect everyone from attacks by foreigners, say, who fly airplanes into buildings. Maybe "stick to your knitting" is better.
  4. How is this a "perfect example" of anything? No cause of death has been determined yet. There is no evidence of trauma. Maybe a perfect example of political grandstanding.
  5. Actually, this may be a perfect example of something else. It may explain why so many boys in Massachusetts were abused: people like Markey have been too busy looking for the Feds to solve all of their problems, instead of looking after their own.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bad Hemingway

For some time, I participated in a group on Yahoo about Ernest Hemingway. Actually, it was a group of us who enjoyed the "bad Hemingway" parodies which show up from time to time. We wrote a progressive story, a few paragraphs each, in a manner similar to his style. It was a lot of fun, but it died. Slowly, sadly.

Now there is a program-driven Bad Hemingway story generator. Enter a few parameters, and let 'er rip. It can be interesting:

Bad Imitation Hemingway.
It was late afternoon. So this is how it is, this is how it always happens in the late afternoon. Damn your late afternoon. With my last 50 Euro I purchased some true and honest vermouth; I took a pull from the bottle. It was good. It burned my mouth and felt good and warm going down my esophagus and into my stomach. From there it went to my kidneys and my bladder, and was good. I remembered then when I last saw Faulkner who was still a damn fine writer. It was in Milano and we looked out the windows at the swale and drank vermouth in the late afternoon. It was late afternoon and had been late afternoon for some time.

Try it yourself, and let us see your results!

Now, having whetted your appetite (I hope), here is a passage I wrote as Vladimir Hemingway, of our parody of “Old Man and the Sea”. We are on a fishing boat, at lunch time, before the encounter with the Marlin:

The captain heard the sad and knowing and resigned laugh from the galley, and he knew that the savory and oddly familiar smells from the cooking meant strength for the crew. But his meal would be meaner, from the sea, for that is where the captain drew his strength for the ultimate battle with the Great White Marlin. He called Gustavus to him, the man with the voice of a boy whom the Italians called castrati but whom he sometimes called Elian in his dreams. "Bring me one of the tins, Gustavus. El Pollo del Mer."

Gustavus went to the captain's cabin, and stifled a wretch as he entered for that is what first mates with delicate noses do. He found the wicker basket with the tins, and brought one out. Tuna, packed in water. He saw that the expiration date had passed years ago, and he knew that was good, for the tuna may be the chicken of the sea, but it is an honorable fish, showing almost human compassion for its young, and it is right and good that the tuna should expire before being packed in water into the small tin. He regretted that they had no more of the wonderful mayo for the tuna, called il Whip Miraculoso by Sister Carmelita Appelonia de Francisco, but that is the way of the men of the sea. He took the captain's sharp knife and the tin up to the bridge.

The captain had moved to the main deck, near the drums with their sinewy lines of strong Columbian hemp. He found one with almost forty fathoms of line still attached. A lot of the other line was gone, replaced with the dark black ash covering his toes and the cucaracha clips littering the deck where his crew had dropped them last night. Perhaps that was why Gustavus had such a high voice, he thought idly, but then got to work. The drum must be ready when the Fish returns, so that the sharp harpoon thrust straight from the shoulder into the glaring bright sun's reflection on this mare tranquilitatus to pierce the Fish, would.

He laid out the line, and coiled it quick and true into a coil. He placed it on top of the drum, called el Bouy del Piscatore by the Spaniards and the Cork with a Fork by the dull Anglos. He reached down to clear the line from the bottom of the drum when Gustavus arrived and, not seeing the captain, bumped into the drum as the ship took a lurch in the mostly placid but momentarily choppy sea, which is the way of the ships of the sea. The line tightened on the captain's hand, cutting it. Gustavus saw the blood, and dropped the tin and the knife and rushed to the leeward side of the ship downwind of the captain, and lost his lunch overboard, for the sight of the blood had transported him back to the day of the waking of the bull. The reaction was always the same, and violent, and short lived. It refreshed him, but reminded him to order his hamburger well done and to avoid ketchup. He also involuntarily bent forward a little at the waist, but that would pass.

The captain went to the windward side, and kneeling carefully washed his hand in the ocean and held it there, submerged, watching the blood trail away and the steady movement of the warm water against his hand as the ship moved. It reminded him of simpler days, when his sainted mother would call to him through the bathroom door and say, "Are you playing in the water again? Let someone else have a chance, for the sake of Pete."

The captain would have liked to keep his hand in the salt water longer but he was afraid of another sudden lurch by Gustavus and he stood up and braced himself and held his hand up against the sun. It was a small cut, but it was in the working part of his hand. He knew he would need both his hands before this was over and he did not like to be cut this early. It made things too slippery.

"Now," he said, when his hand had dried, "I must eat the small can of tuna. I can open the can with this knife and eat it here in comfort."

He knelt down and found the can of tuna where it had fallen and drew it toward him keeping it clear of the coiled lines. He held the can to the deck with one hand and cut into the top of the can. He pried out chunks of the meat in wedge-shaped pieces with the knife. When he had cut six chunks he spread them out on the wood of the gunwale, wiped his knife on his shirt sleeve since he still had no trousers, and lifted the empty tin and dropped it overboard.

"I don't think I can eat six," he said and drew his knife across one of the chunks. He saw that his left hand was cramped from coiling 240 feet of hemp and cutting into the tin, and he looked at it in disgust.

"What kind of a hand is that," he said. "Cramp then if you want. Make yourself into a claw. It will do you no good." Such comments would normally cause a small crowd to form, because a man of the sea seldom talks to his own hand in such a way. But the crew knew to keep their distance from the captain, especially after seeing Gustavus still green to the gills. The left hand, in response to the captain, drew up into a tight, painful claw.

Come on, he thought and looked down into the dark water. Eat the tuna fish now and it will strengthen the hand. It is not the hand's fault and you have been many hours thinking of the marlin fish. Eat the tuna now.

He picked up a chunk and put it in his mouth and chewed it slowly. It was not unpleasant, but it lacked the flavor of the mayo. Chew it well, he thought, and get all the juices. Next time, perhaps some celery.

He ate another chunk. He chewed it carefully and then spat out a bone. "How goes it, hand? Are you getting stronger?"

Gustavus watched from a distance, knowing that the captain should eat a banana loaded with potassium to ease the cramp, but knowing also that the bananas were stowed below near the bulls and banana does not go well with tuna in a tin. He knew that it was the captain's way to talk to his hand.

The captain took another full chunk and chewed it. It is a strong tuna, he thought. I was lucky to get him instead of sardines. Sardines are too oily. This is hardly oily at all.

Be patient, hand, he thought. I do this to strengthen you, for we will all fight the great fish together. For that is our way, and you will know it when the sun is low and I give the order, "All hands on deck".

He straightened up, wiping his good but cut hand on the necktie of the unkempt Whore Edguardo holding his stump-leg thing in place, where his trousers would be if he were wearing trousers.

-Vladimir Hemingway

Monday, June 13, 2005

Adult Supervision Required

Posted by Hello

Six aid workers were arrested in New Delhi on Monday after several children were hurt when candles they were carrying in a march against child labor ignited their hydrogen-filled balloons.


And you probably thought I was going to rant and rave about the Michael Jackson verdict. Ha!

Sean Who?

Posted by Hello

Sean Penn is now in Iran as a journalist to cover the elections for the San Francisco Chronicle. Past pronouncements from the Temper Tantrum Kid:

• "I hate journalists, or better, I hate paparazzi. Yeah, I punched them out and I'll do it again if it's necessary. I think a fist in their face is the only way to protect my private life. I demand my freedom, and I must have it."
• "If too many people like you, you're doing something wrong."
• Accepting his Independent Spirit Award: "You tolerate me, you really tolerate me."
• "I don't think you can get away with putting your talents in a toilet bowl and not having them flushed away forever. There is a level of murder of one's soul and of the culture that they're supposed to be feeding vitamins to…"
• "Simply put, if there is a war or continued sanctions against Iraq, the blood of Americans and Iraqis alike will be on our hands."

Yep: The guy who assaulted photographers is now working in the Fourth Estate.

Penn arrived in Tehran on Thursday and is expected to prepare an article on the election and Iran's controversial nuclear programs.

This guy is not in my Infamous Famous book, like Jane (shudder) Fonda; but he is obnoxious enough that I will donate a T-shirt for him to wear in the Middle East, when I get a chance.

Posted by Hello

Can't Wait? Get An "OK" Organ Transplant

BOSTON -- Gloria Daise was stunned last year to learn that the wait for a transplant kidney averaged five to six years. But in April, a surgeon gave her another option: a shorter wait if she accepted a less-than-perfect organ.

Transplant centers in New England and Michigan, where kidney shortages are acute, have been drawing up lists of volunteer recipients willing to use kidneys that come from donors who are older or have risk factors. Brigham and Women's Hospital, where Daise was seeking her transplant, has about 260 people on a list seeking kidneys from ideal donors who are young and healthy.

Posted by Hello

Now, as part of a three-year study, the hospital has a list of 33 people willing to accept the "extended-criteria" kidneys from donor who were older than 60 when they died, or were over 50 and had risk factors that might have damaged their kidneys.

Daise wasn't sure she wanted one of the extended-criteria kidneys, but decided to sign up as she considered how much of her life she was missing with her five hours of at-home dialysis each day.

The new lists have shorter waiting times -- six months to two years -- depending on the blood type and other factors, surgeons said. Such organs "don't last as long as regular kidneys, but they do last a significant amount of time," Dr. George Lipkowitz, director of transplantation at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, told the Boston Sunday Globe.

Some surgeons are experimenting with other types of marginal organs. UCLA, which has been trying an alternative heart transplant program, released findings in April that 60 percent of patients given imperfect hearts were alive five years after their transplant, compared with 76 percent of patients who received regular organs.


Great idea! After all, what could go wrong?

But, isn't there a difference between a "donated" organ, and a "low mileage, used" organ?


Thanks to http://www.thebostonchannel.com/newsarchive/4573489/detail.html

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Potato Chips Found in Place of Woman's Ashes

Posted by Hello

Two daughters have sued a synagogue after they found a potato chip can in place of their mother's remains behind the locked, glass door of her niche in a mausoleum.

Posted by Hello

When the women visited Vivian Shulman Lieberman's niche in a Houston mausoleum, they found the cedar chest containing her ashes missing and a can of sour-cream-and-onion potato chips in its place.

They filed the lawsuit against Congregation Beth Israel and two funeral businesses. The sisters are also suing the companies that arranged for their mother's cremation and inurnment.

When Houston police took custody of the can, it still contained potato chips. "To their added horror," the lawsuit states, "Harriet and Marcelle learned that the can had been visible in the niche for at least six months."

Disturbing, no doubt. But maybe there is another victim here. Maybe someone was the object of a terrible prank. What if some foul practical joker swapped the ashes for his buddy’s potato chips, right before lunch? Probably ruined his friend's day!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Guess Who Is Watching The Weather? Posted by Hello

Texas Girl With Cancer Taken From Parents

Katie Posted by Hello

Child welfare officials seized a 12-year-old cancer patient from her parents near Corpus Christi, TX, claiming that the parents refused radiation treatment for her that doctors prescribed. The state removed not only Katie Wernecke but also her three brothers from their parents.

During a court hearing Wednesday, Michele and Edward Wernecke asked that doctors be barred from giving radiation therapy to their daughter Katie until a hearing next week to determine whether she will stay in state custody.

They say their daughter's cancer is in remission and they object to her getting the radiation treatment after undergoing a round of chemotherapy. Katie has Hodgkin's disease, a type of cancer involving the lymph nodes.

(On a personal note, my aunt died with Hodgkin’s, but from over-radiation, not from the cancer.)

The family maintains a blog entitled Pray for Katie on which her parents claim she is being used in a research project: "Why are the doctors doing this? Katie appears to be part of a study where they allocate kids randomly to one treatment, say standard chemo plus radiation, and chemo only in the other treatment. Parents are not informed of this. They are doing research on our kids. Collecting research money from the drug companies, I guess."

Juvenile court Judge Carl Lewis said he would rule on the request Friday.

I thought that we had decided all of this in the Terry Schiavo case. Guess not.

Here we go again.

Art Explorer

Chicago Art Institute Posted by Hello

The Art Institute of Chicago has a new gadget. Art Explorer is an interactive website where visitors can search for art, save selections into scrapbooks with notes, and share the scrapbooks with friends and students.

Art Explorer focuses on the Art Institute's Impressionist and Postimpressionist collections, and includes original artworks, as well as additional resources such as texts, video clips, artist biographies, activities, and games. Try it here: http://www.artic.edu/artexplorer/.

If one searches for Georges Seurat, one will find eight pieces of art and 42 resources, including color mixing like Seurat did in his pointillist style, and a bibliography. Then, the searcher can save the items found in a new scrapbook. Adobe’s acrobat reader or a similar program is used to view and to save the scrapbook.


Thursday, June 09, 2005


And a tip o' the hat to good friend Claudia, in Atlanta.

Mergers to consider:

1. XEROX and WURLITZER (They're going to make reproductive organs)

2. FAIRCHILD ELECTRONICS and HONEYWELL COMPUTERS (The new company will be called Fairwell Honeychild)

3. POLYGRAM RECORDS, WARNER BROTHERS, and KEEBLER (The new company will be called Poly-Warner-Cracker)

4. NETSCAPE and YAHOO (Net n' Yahoo)

5. 3M and GOODYEAR(MMM Good)


7. HONEYWELL, IMASCO, and HOME OIL (Honey, I'm Home)



10. GREY POUPON and DOCKERS PANTS (Poupon Pants)

11. KNOTT'S BERRY FARM and THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN (The new company will be called Knott Now)

12. ZIPPO MANUFACTURING, AUDI, DOFASCO, and DAKOTA MINING (The new company will be called Zip Audi Do-Da)

Great White Shark Bites Surfer in New Jersey

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A 17-year-old surfer in New Jersey lost a chunk of leg flesh in what is likely the state's first attack by a Great White shark in 30 years, officials said Wednesday.

The shark, recognizing a distinctive New Jersey taste, immediately spat it out, rinsed out its mouth, and headed for Delaware. Or Amity.

Heavenly Cue

A little boy forgot his lines in a Sunday School presentation. His mother, sitting in the front row to prompt him, gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it didn't help. Her son's memory was blank.

Finally she leaned forward and whispered the cue, "I am the light of the world."

The child beamed and with great feeling and a loud, clear voice said, "My mother is the light of the world."

Thanks to Crosswalk.com

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Commissioners Won’t Give Up

The story about members of the 9/11 Commission forming a group on their own to press the government to do what the commission says is out, and it's disgusting.

Commissions like this historically hold hearings, take testimony, build a record and make recommendations. They have a public charter, and a fixed membership and a given time to operate. Then, the government can review the record and duly elected representatives can act as appropriate, or not.

These guys (Kean, Hamilton, Lehman and others) are all ex-politicos. They no longer have a constituency or a boss to answer to. Let’s not suppose that there is an altruistic, higher-minded purpose in the bones of any of their heads. They are not scholars, nor statesmen, nor experts in anything. No, they want this to go on and on because it lets them flex their power without accountability.

Some of their recommendations were good, but they must be acted on by the elected representatives of The People. But if they were the ones who said I have to jump through hoops, take off my shoes and get patted down at every airport… well, I will propose that that be their punishment in hell for all eternity.

Send ‘em home, and make them return the nice plaque and the attaboy letters.

Jimmy Carter Calls on U.S. to Shut Down Guantanamo Bay

Well, of COURSE he does! His wonderful track record in combating world terrorism speaks for itself. The hostages in Iran, for instance. He sent in the troops, and got the helicopters shot up and the troops killed. This after his training to be a warrior at Annapolis. Then, he only had to get beaten by Reagan in a landslide to free them – which the Iranians waited to do until they were sure Carter was history.

I would call that episode a terrible embarrassment and a blow to our reputation.

Carter said about Gitmo:

''The U.S. continues to suffer terrible embarrassment and a blow to our reputation ... because of reports concerning abuses of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo.''

(*sigh*) Once a peanut farmer…

America's Dumbest Drivers

The GMAC Insurance National Driver's Test found that nearly 20 million licensed American drivers would fail a state driver's test if they had to take one today. Drivers in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states did worst. Twenty percent of test-takers failed there.


1. Oregon
2. Washington
3. Iowa
4. Idaho
5. Wyoming

1. Rhode Island
2. Massachusetts
3. New Jersey
4. New York
5. Washington, DC

Well, I could have told you that! When I am driving through New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts, I sometimes have to drop one of my cell phones because someone cut me off. And entering something on the notebook computer while driving on the Jersey Turnpike? Fugeddaboudit!

They definitely could use some driver’s ed. My four kids all learned to drive in New Jersey, and I am sure that they drive like little angels up there…

Missing Texas Student Found Alive After Seven Years

A Texas A&M University student who had been feared murdered after disappearing nearly seven years ago has been found alive and working in Kentucky, according to authorities.

She disappeared in October 1998, and police spent hours searching for her body in wooded areas. They questioned a serial rapist and murderer about her just hours before he was executed last year. Undoubtedly an unpleasant memory for him.

But a telephone tip turned her up in Florence, Ky., where she has been working for the last five years at a Sam's Club. The woman, 27, hid from her family after she and her mother got into an argument over bad grades she received during her sophomore year and her family stopped paying for school.

For the last five years, she worked under her real name, using her Social Security number. But police said they were unable to locate her that way because they didn't know her SSN; and apparently didn’t ask.

Although she committed no crime in her disappearance, investigators spent a lot of money and time looking for her, Malinak said.

''The responsible thing to do would have been to let someone know you're OK,'' Malinak said. ''There are going to be people expending man-hours and effort, trying to find a missing person.''

But, why complain? The cops obviously need the practice.

Another Security Breach?

A man's leg and part of his body dropped out of an airplane on its way to Kennedy Airport this week. Somebody in a house on Long Island heard a terrific crash, and…

Police are guessing that a stowaway was crushed when the South African Airways jet lowered its landing gear. He didn’t buy a ticket, so he’s in trouble with the airline.

A Customs agent found a matching leg hanging from the wheel well. The guy had not filled out his customs declaration form as well, so he’s in trouble with them, too.

But what we need to know is: Did he go through the mandatory Homeland Security screening wherever the plane flew from; and if not, did his torso and body parts go through screening here? What if he’s a new kind of suicide bomber: one who kills himself FIRST, and THEN the bomb goes off?

If he didn’t get screened, that’s his third strike.

"Good Day To You, Sir..."

I get a lot of these emails. I must be an easy mark for folks who need to shelter a LOT of money out of their country. I cannot count how many new bank accounts I have opened to help them; but I never see any deposits. Strange? Ya think?


Good day to you,

My name is Jeffrey Rice, I am the credit manager with a bank here in the United Kingdom. I am contacting you in respect of the transfer of a huge sum of money from the account of a deceased client. … I decided to contact you due to the secrecy, confidentiality and urgency of this transaction.

I was the account officer of a foreigner, named Gerald Welsh who died in an air crash along with his wife on the 31st October 1999 in an Egyptian airline Boeing 990 with other passengers on board. Since his death, none of his relatives or associates have come forward to lay claims to his funds as next-of-kin, and on my own …

We cannot release the fund from his account unless someone applies for it or lays claim as the next-of-kin to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines. Upon this discovery, I now seek your permission and assistance to present you and have you stand as a next of kin to the deceased, so that the funds can be released and transfer to you, as all documentations will e carefully worked out by me for the funds (US$15,000,000.00) to be released in your favor as the beneficiary's next of kin, if not the members of the board of directors will utilise it for their personal aggrandisement. Because after four years as this is the fifth year going the money will be called back to the bank treasury as unclaimed bills and the money shared amongst the directors of the bank, so it is on this note i decided to seek for whom his name shall be used as the next of kin/beneficiary to this funds rather than allow the bank directors to share this money amongst themselves at the end of the year.
Mr.Jeffrey Rice.

And, another one:

Dear Respectful One,

Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you. I got your contact from the International web site directory. I prayed over it and selected your name among other names due to it's esteeming nature and the recommendations given to me as a reputable and trust worthy person I can do business with and by their recommendations I must not hesitate to confide in you for this simple and sincere business.

I am Dorris Maphosa, the only Daughter of late Mr and Mrs Stephen Maphosa. My father was a very wealthy cocoa Farmer and cocoa merchant in (Zanu PF) Budiriro,the economic city of Zimbabwe before he was killed to death by his pollitical associates on one of their outing to make pollitical dialoug.

When my mother died on the 21st October 1989, my father took me and my younger brother Henry special because we are motherless. Before the death of my father on 2nd Feb 2002 in a private hospital here in Budiriro. He secretly called me on his bedside and told me that he has a sum of $10.5m (Ten Million, five hundred thousand dollars) left in a suspense account in a Bank in Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire,that he used my name as his first Daughter for the next of kin in deposit of the fund.

He also explained to me that I should seek for a God fearing foreign partner in a country of my choice where I will transfer this money and use it for investment purpose, (such as real estate management).….

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Look Who I Found At The Beach

Hubba hubba...

Anna Kournikova Posted by Hello

Fourteen more here.

The California Circus

I just read that Michael Jackson is 'optimistic'.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson (no relation) said that Michael is in good spirits as the jury in the child molestation case deliberates for a second full day.

There is no truth to the rumor that if he's sentenced to jail time, Michael will ask to go to a prison for juvenile offenders.

Strongest Girls In The World

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From CNN:

Young women dressed up as Pippi Longstocking, "the strongest girl in the world," in a competition in the German city of Fuerstenwalde. The city got into the Guinness Book of Records when 913 people showed up dressed up as the famous character from the Astrid Lindgren children's book.

This is why I never dated in Germany. Well, one reason, anyway.

Darwin Awards

I hope that you have taken the opportunity to click on the link to the Darwin Awards. If not, you have lots of fun things to read! As a example, here is reportedly the favorite Darwin Award of all time... so far. Alas, it never happened, some say:

Jet Assisted Take-Off
1995 Darwin Awards Winner
Confirmed Bogus by Darwin

The Arizona Highway Patrol were mystified when they came upon a pile of smoldering wreckage embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The metal debris resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it turned out to be the vaporized remains of an automobile. The make of the vehicle was unidentifiable at the scene.

The folks in the lab finally figured out what it was, and pieced together the events that led up to its demise.

It seems that a former Air Force sergeant had somehow got hold of a JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off) unit. JATO units are solid fuel rockets used to give heavy military transport airplanes an extra push for take-off from short airfields. Dried desert lakebeds are the location of choice for breaking the world ground vehicle speed record. The sergeant took the JATO unit into the Arizona desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, accelerated to a high speed, and fired off the rocket.

The facts, as best as could be determined, are as follows:

The operator was driving a 1967 Chevy Impala. He ignited the JATO unit approximately 3.9 miles from the crash site. This was established by the location of a prominently scorched and melted strip of asphalt. The vehicle quickly reached a speed of between 250 and 300 mph and continued at that speed, under full power, for an additional 20-25 seconds. The soon-to-be pilot experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners.

The Chevy remained on the straight highway for approximately 2.6 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied the brakes, completely melting them, blowing the tires, and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface. The vehicle then became airborne for an additional 1.3 miles, impacted the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, and left a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.

Most of the driver's remains were not recovered; however, small fragments of bone, teeth, and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.

Ironically a still-legible bumper sticker was found, reading "How do you like my driving? Dial 1-800-EAT-SHIT."

Sunday, June 05, 2005

China Says No

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China posted notices to prevent memorials on the anniversary of the bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Student protests drew tens of thousands, and ended in a military attack 16 years ago Saturday. Troops killed hundreds and perhaps thousands of protesters that day.

The notices reportedly read, “Anyone putting up a memorial may be run over by a tank.”

Just Ask Judy

Want to read something good? Check out Judy's place:

"I was born a Methodist, was Baptized a Catholic and now attend a non-denominational church, which meets in a movie theater, and whose Pastor is a former Prosecuting Attorney. "

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Rose

This was sent to me by my very good friend, Carole. Her Mother's name was Sylvia, and Rose reminded her of her Mom.

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The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went.

She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet.

I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

"There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

"We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

"There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

"If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

"Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

"The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by singing this song:


"The Rose"

Some say love, it is a river
that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
and you its only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
that never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
who cannot seem to give,
and the soul afraid of dyin'
that never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been too long,
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong,
just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed that with the sun's love
in the spring becomes The Rose.

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family; they'll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Coqui Has Travelled

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When I worked in Puerto Rico, I remember hearing the call of the tree frog at night: "co-KEE, co-KEE". High pitched, musical, and incessant. It made me glad for nature, and glad for my return plane tickets to New Joisey, where the biggest noise was either the turnpike or Amelda next door.

Now, someone has taken the frog to Hawaii. The Eleutherodactylus coqui population has been in Hawaii since 1988, but "just recently exploded," said Milton Matayoshi, of the state Department of Agriculture.

Thousands of the creatures measuring a half inch to 2 inches plague the Big Island and Maui. They have also begun to invade Oahu and Kauai.

Somehow, I think that the Hawaiians will cope with the problem. James Michener covered this in his book, Hawaii, and the lack of natural predators in Hawaii for other imports such as rats and mongooses. Maybe someone will discover Coqui ala' Bernaise with a hint of Lemon.

Military Computer

Officers at a military installation were being lectured about a new computer. The training officer said the computer was able to withstand nuclear and chemical attacks.

Suddenly, he saw that one of the officers had a cup of coffee and yelled, "There will be no eating or drinking in this room! You'll have to get rid of that coffee."

The officer said meekly, "Sure, but why?"

"Because a coffee spill could ruin the keyboard."

(Thanks to Crosswalk.com)

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This is a photo of the remains of St. Kevin's cell which looks out over the upper lake at Glendalough, in the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin, in Ireland. It was originally a beehive hut. Kevin is the most famous religious figure to emerge from Glendalough, somewhere around 500-600 AD. The monastery there was a major focus of trade and travel in the region, since the ancient Irish did not build cities or towns. All that remains now of Kevin's Cell is a few foundation stones, surrounded by oak trees. (Thanks to http://planetpotato.blogs.com/)

Coach Assaulted

A girls rugby coach in California was recently beaten until he was bloody and unconscious during a weekend match, and police are seeking criminal charges against several adults.

"I never saw them coming," said Craig Stewart, 55. Another coach and opposing parents took turns kicking him in the head and face during a game Saturday.

The violence erupted during a tournament game between the Rohnert Park Girls Rugby Club and Stewart's team, the Alameda High School Riptide club team. It started when referee Paul Berman, 33, ordered a spectator off the field. He was punched in the face three times by a spectator. Stewart intervened to help Berman and to hold the attacker on the ground until police arrived. That's when everyone attacked Stewart.

The girls apparently continued their game, richer for witnessing the example of their adults.

Keep It Up: You'll Go Blind!

Sister Norma Jean may not have been wrong. The FDA now has 42 blindness reports, 38 among users of Viagra and four among users of Cialis.

No one is tracking the growth of hair on the palms, as far as we know.

Too Much Time On Their Hands

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a Washington group, established by Congress in 1949 but privately funded for the past seven years. They just published their annual call for help (i.e., money) to preserve some dilapidated buildings. The most recent list of 11 endangered sites includes the Catholic churches of greater Boston - all of them, I guess, since most of their priests are going to jail; the historic buildings of downtown Detroit (certainly architectural beauties); and Alaska's King Island, once home to the Inupiat Eskimos. Yep, the whole darn island. Oh, and Ernest Hemingway's old house, too. Near Havana, Cuba.

Forget that U.S. citizens are prevented from even seeing the house in person. I think Ernie sold a few books. If someone wants a fix-er-upper, maybe they should get some dinero from The Old Man And The Sea.

Edwards Gets The Paine Award

John Edwards recently told his liberal buddies that "freedom does not belong to one political party.'' He also said the idea of America standing for freedom is not new. Now we know why Al Gore picked him: his razor sharp insight.

Edwards made the comments to the "Take Back America'' meeting of liberal activists. The Campaign for America's Future gave Edwards its top award, named after Thomas Paine, the writer and activist from the Revolutionary War era.

This does not preclude John Dean, now chairman of the Democratic Party, from getting the larger award later: The Real Paine Award. He deserves it.

Where Are They Now?

All this talk of Deep Throat drove me to do some research. The movie was one of the top grossing films of its genre ($600m), and a gross out, too, I think. It was released in 1972, and was probably very cheaply produced.

Here's where the stars are now:

Linda Boreman (Linda Lovelace) died in April 2002 in Denver, Colorado, after a car crash. She was 53 years old.

Harry Reems (Dr. Young) has been a real estate salesman in Utah for the past ten years, using his “Harry Reems” name.

Dolly Sharp (Helen) last appeared in films was in 1976.

Bill Harrison (Mr. Maltz) died in Venice Beach, CA, in 1991. AIDS related.

William Love (Wilbur Wang) closed his “acting” career with this movie.

Carol Connors (The Nurse) appeared in 15 more movies, ending with “Electric Blue 38” in 1986. She was very tired.

Deep Throat? I Think Not

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It's just too convenient. They find this 91 year old guy who is really out of it, and they hang the "Deep Throat" title on him from Watergate.

It's like the whole Iraq thing. They sent us in there to clear up Daddy's little mistake in not destroying Saddam the first time. Now, they want to close the last remaining Watergate wrinkle. Probably because the REAL "Throat" is up to something else...

The giveaway? They shouldn't have had Jane Fonda in the same picture. I don't like Hanoi Jane. So, this guy is probably Henry Fonda with animatronics instead of a skeleton.