Saturday, September 30, 2006


It wasn't an unusual request, at least not in and of itself. It was the "why" behind the request that got me going.

A friend wanted a song recording that was somewhat hard to find. It's a song that's been covered by many artists in 20 years, but he was looking for a specific version, that was "their" song. It was believed to be out of print. And the "she" in "they" died 3 years ago. He had a copy of the song on a cassette tape, but a year ago or so, the tape was lost.

The quest was on, and with a lot of researching, networking, etc. There were at least 10 versions out there, all wrong. Frustrating. But with some luck, I came up with a copy of the tune and put it on a CD.

He dropped of some paperwork from my job yesterday, and I hit him with the CD. He went right to my stereo and played it.

In the next 3 minutes there was a feeling beyond the description of words. I turned up the volume and we stood there. Two very large, grown men, standing in a living room, one crying first, then the other, and not worrying about it.

My friend was happy. He had something back that he'd lost, and at that moment, it was the most important thing in the world to him.

I'm thinking those 3 minutes did a lot for him. I'm sure it did a lot for me.

Two silly, blubbering men in my living room. Not worrying about it. And all it took was a few emails, a couple of Google searches, a blank CD and a couple of minutes to "burn" it.

I hope each and every one of you has a moment of joy like that. Hopefully today.

I'm Grumpy

I'm grouchy tonight. Nothing major, just very disagreeable. The following is a list of my opinions on various topics, as expressed only when I'm in a grouchy mood.

For instance, Esquire Magazine selected Scarlett Johansson as "The Sexiest Woman Alive."

Sorry. Don't agree.

She's beautiful alright, and hell, when you look, you can actually see that she is standing there, unlike so many of the Walking Lollipops who are populating Hollywood these days.

I mean, take a look over there on the left. That's Scarlett.
Now take a look over here on the right: i That's Nicole Richie.

But I'm grumpy, and there are a whole bunch of women out there that I'd consider so much "sexier".

And I have noticed, more and more, that radio stations
are filling their air-time with tons of music from the 80's
and 90's. Friday night on one station is 80's Night,
till midnight, and then the other station plays
Weekend 90's.
Couldn't be because contemporary music SUCKS now, could it?

I am, by nature, non-violent.

Just not my style. But the next mumble-mouth who starts spouting off about President George Bush is gonna get hit, hard.

Not because I'm the leader of the Bush Fan Club, or anything like that. Nope. I'm just sick of listening to the same bullshit rhetoric, day in and day out. He's the President until the next election. Can we talk about something else, now?

Now before any idiots come in here and start a Bush rant, I said it is NOT because I am the leader of the Bush fan club. It has nothing to do with my political affiliations. It's because I don't like repetitive babble. If everyone around me was babbling about Justin Timberlake, saying the same shit for 4 years, then I would have used Timberlake's name instead of Bush.


(Oh, and I think Timberlake sucks too. That new CD bored the ever-lovin shit out of me. Cookie-cutter techno-pop. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.)

My attitude comes, in part, because three of the biggest damned whiners I know didn't vote in the last election.

You didn't vote? Shut up then.

Simple as that.

Dane Cook, in my opinion, is great. My friend Cassie turned me on to this guy, and I watched his HBO Special "Dane Cook: Vicious Circle". Laughed my ass off.

That's right, my ass fell right on the floor.

The guy is funny, and his humor is creative and original. Meaning it's comedy above 3rd-grade toilet humor level.

About damned time.

I think the next time the revise the "Endangered Species List", I think we should add "Integrity" to it.

Ginormous is just a dumb word. We're inventing bullshit words every day. The only good thing is, there are only so many combinations of the letters of the alphabet. Granted, it's a huge amount of combinations, but eventually, every one will be used up. And we'll have no more words to invent.

Then the idiots will invent new letters of the alphabet.

It used to be necessary to warn kids about copying from the Internet when doing schoolwork, because plagiarism is wrong.

Now you have to warn them that most of the shit that's returned by the search engines is completely wrong.

If you want to see what I mean, browse around Yahoo's "Yahoo Answers" pages.

OK one last bitch:

I see a lot of forums, blogs, and journals where someone will ask for help with a problem, you know "where can I get one of these" or "how do I make one of those" and then, in the feedback, reply, or comments section, I'll see a whole pile of people contributing things along the lines of "I have no idea" or "I don't know, let me know when you find out".

Why would you write that?

In most situations, if you don't know the answer, you keep quiet, right? I mean, when the teacher asked a question in class, you didn't raise your hand to give "I don't know" as an answer, right? If you didn't know, you kept your mouth shut!

But seriously, when someone posts a request for help, why would you enter a comment that isn't the answer?

I'm curious.

OK night.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rehab YAYYY!

Session 1
Ok so we started physical therapy. The first session was pretty much an assessment, plus a demonstration of all the exercises, so I won't go into it.
Session 2
Well, today the gloves came off. I had surgery on both legs, so we have to double the fun. I say hello to Harold, a fellow re-habber who is arriving just now, and begin my session.
  • We start off on the exercise bike. Piece of cake. Well, almost. He sets it for 7 minutes, and off I go. 1 minute, 2 minutes, heyyyy no prob.
  • Now this is a stationary bike, and it's bolted to the floor. But somewhere between minutes 3 and 4, I begin to bike up Mount Everest. I'm actually embarrassed by the amount of sweat my nasty body is producing. Not to mention the heavy breathing. I begin to see the snow cap.
  • Having done the bike-a-thon, we move to the high table with my legs hanging down. Now, the first session, Therapist strapped these cute little ankle weights on, and I did 10 leg lifts with each leg. No sweat!
  • Except today, Therpist walks over with two tanker trucks and wraps them around the old ankles. I do believe the tanks were empty, but...
    And this time, we're going to do 3 sets of 10 with each leg. I think one of the trucks says Exxon on the side. Commence sweating and panting. And I start to have problems counting sets. Lift, hold for 5 seconds, release, lower leg, lose count. I think I did 90 sets, not sure.
  • So we survived that. Now it was onto the table across the room that resembles a platform. I'm instructed to lie down. Therapist goes across room, starts walking back with a big strap. Being the product of a Catholic School education, people coming at me with straps is something I get nervous about. But no beating. I'm to sit with my legs in front of me, wrap the strap under the foot, push the leg straight, holding the strap taut, and lean forward to stretch the hamstrings.
  • Now, mind you I haven't done a lick of exercise since the end of 2005. This much exertion, coupled with the profuse sweating, makes things begin to happen to the body. Or more precisely, the brain.
    Like when I set up with the strap; I could have sworn Therapist said to do 164,000 sets of 10. I have no hope, at this point, of counting anymore. So I figure I go until a blood vessel bursts, or he says to stop.
    And I wasn't sure, but when Harold went into the small little room, the CIA was in there to interrogate him. At least it sounded like that. I begin to pray that I don't have to go into the little room. I'm certain I heard crunching sounds. I hope nothing is eating Harold.
  • Next up, back to the high table. I start panicking, thinking about the tanker trucks coming back. But this is different. This time, he comes over with the cute little ankle weights. I'm relieved, until he produces the yellow ball. Puts yellow ball between my knees. The idea here, is to squeeze ball between knees, and raise legs at the same time. He has no idea whom he is dealing with.
  • So, again, it's 3 sets of 10 for each leg. Squeeze and lift.
    Yeah right.
    First I lift, then I squeeze. Nope, wrong. Then I squeeze. Then I lift. Wrong again. Now I lift, and remember to squeeze, only the yellow ball explodes.
    Not getting this right, am I? And what the hell number am I up to?
    No sign of Harold.
  • So while I'm sitting at this table, struggling, I notice a machine on the cart next to me. It's got wires sticking out the side and there's a whole bunch of buttons on the face. A numeric keypad, and then some settings buttons. One says "voltage", one says "time", one says "US" and one says "Russian". So of course, after I get done mutilating the yellow balls, Therapist says "OK, lie down." And starts to grab the wires. Damn, I knew it. Harold's in there, and I'm gonna get it out here.
  • Therapist attaches the electrodes to my knees with little sticky tabs. Then he wraps these ice packs around my knees. Electricity and water is never good, but I'm more concerned about which button he is gonna press on there. I've seen a lot of James Bond movies, and that button marked "Russian" is scaring the hell out of me. I have visions of my head smoking, and me giving up the State secrets in 20 seconds flat.
    He pushes the sissy "US" button, much to my relief. But then his hand goes for the "voltage" button. Damn, here's where I get it. I think of my 3 children.
    Therapist says, "Ok, I'm going to increase this slowly until..."
    (until WHAT?! Until I SCREAM?)
    " feel the muscles begin to contract."
    I tough it out, and go up about 10 settings. The legs are contracting! OK!
    Heyyyy, this is actually kind of nice. No interrogation, although there was one moment of terror when Therapist walked across the room in a hurried fashion to get away from me. I looked for a fire extinguisher. But, no worries.
    10 minutes later, Therapist comes back, turns off the machine without ever hitting the "Russian" button. I'm home free.
    "All done," he says.
    And all was good. As I check out, make my next appointment, though, Therapist hands me a 3000 pound folder, chock-full of exercises I'm now expected to do at home, between sessions. And then informs me that my sessions are scheduled for 3 times a week.
    Ok, it's all to make me better, right?
    Before I left though, for a moment I thought about rescuing Harold. He's in that room still, but the sounds have stopped.
    I figure, it's better not to push my luck. "Russian" button and all.
    He's on his own.
    And I am WALKING. Walking like Frankenstein, mind you, but WALKING!

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006


    I don't usually get too pissed off about stuff I read on the web. Web content is usually very subjective, and one-sided, so I typically dismiss it.Once in a while, though, I read something, and then when I think about it, I get fired up.

    But there are some sites that are supposedly aimed at helping people live better lives. And the best way to do that, in my opinion, is to offer objective, unbiased, professional advice.

    I don't think too highly of the concept of "Life Coaches" in the first place, but I have a problem with such "Coaches" when they're no more qualified to help others than I am, and when they offer unhealthy, biased opinions on life topics.

    Case in point: I was reading something on the AOL home screen. It was something along the lines of "Is Your Partner Cheating on You?". And then the accompanying article proceeds to outline just what women need to look for in a cheating spouse. Then it spirals downward from there, pretty much outlining how men are cheaters, and not to be bashing.

    The author does, at the very end, mention that "just as many women betray as men", but that they don't get caught, because they're "better liars, and have a plan".

    So wouldn't it make better sense to write this article aimed at the more deceived of the two sexes? And what the hell kind of spin is that? It is almost like a boast when I think about it. "We just don't get caught".

    Now, there are plenty of things that are far more important in the world to worry about, but I'm just getting a little tired of this kind of shit. This "content" appears in the feature "AOL COACHES", which are designed to help people lead better lives, but I think it's a nasty pile of shit being thrown out there.

    If you're going to write a book for the "Star Magazine" to excerpt, then go right ahead and spew nonsense. But if you're going to include content designed to help people's lives, then take this kind of slanted garbage and pass on it.

    Now, please understand, I do not dispute the facts of life.

    I know that men cheat. A lot of them. OK?

    My complaint is not that men don't cheat.

    My complaint is that these AOL Life Coach forums are supposed to be places of healthy learning, with the goal of helping people build better lives, and better relationships, etc. But with this article, two things happened:

    An unfair, slanted point of view was offered as advice.

    And a seed of mistrust was planted with the comments: "Just as many women betray as men. We're just better liars, and we have a plan. We're craftier."

    I just thought the whole thing sucked.

    Comment Commentary

    Oh man, when you have time on your hands, there are lots of things to find on the Internet. And some of them you don't actually get slapped for looking at, too!

    I started reading message boards, and some of the more prominent Blogs out there. And the comments that people leave can be, at the same time, both hilarious and sad.

    Latin is described as a "dead language", and from what I've been reading on these boards and blogs, I don't think English has much of a chance anymore, either.

    Periodically, I'm going to post here the really "good ones" that I find. They're too good not to!

    So here is the first collection.

    PS I'm not going to post the commentator's name. This is just for fun.

    • If you show this pictures to people withouth telling them the perents name,90% of them would say the baby is chinees.


    • ever been to divorce court , if not sut your mouth about women beeing equal to men , men get screwed for what ? beeing men

    • Thanks for the time for reading and sorry thats it long. i can get into it somethings. peace.

    • yea i no i would rather people hate me 4 who i am and tellin it like it is then just lyin bout who u r. and when me and u got n 2 it u told me like it is and i didnt hide ne thing from u or wat ever and when u mad comments bout mine being pirvite then i made mine un privite cuz i didnt have ne thing 2 hide. so those people no who we is talkin bout.....and dont make ur comments where u have 2 approve it cuz then u really do have sumthin 2 hide from it

    OK I have to stop now, because it hurts!

    Love and Hate

    We are a weird species.

    If someone wants to argue with us, we say bring it on.
    They wanna fight? Ohhh, step up brother.
    We will yell, scream, disagree, debate, argue and just be mean as hell. Oh, noooo problem. We brag about it: "I don't take shit from anyone" "I'm a bitch"

    We are oh so ready to inflict pain and suffering at any moment. Just say "religion" or "politics" and the dukes are up!

    But then how come everyone is so "afraid to fall in love"?

    The Moment

    Ok we all have those moments of complete frustration. Like maybe when we're putting some of that "assembly required" furniture together. It's that moment when we snap, lose our minds and slide down to the end of the rope. And we talk to ourselves, usually not in a nice way.

    So,'re out of your mind, maybe shouting through your teeth, completely irrational. Cursing, spitting, damning everything and everyone that ever was. Smoke's coming out of your ears.

    Doesn't it suck when someone catches you?

    Isn't it funny how you either pretend it didn't happen, or worse, try to explain it away?

    Kiss my ass.......!!!!!!!!!!!

    Closing Thought For The Evening...

    So I watched this story unfold...Clinton squares off with Wallace, the press goes nuts, digging up hundreds of people from both ends of the political spectrum to analyze that. Then Rice and Clinton go at it, and we get tons more analysis, Left and Right.

    It just makes me think: Imagine if politicians from all sides took the energy they put into defending their failures,and attacking the failures of others, and put it into some forward-thinking problem prevention. This country could be Utopia in no time!

    I just remember someone once saying, "It takes half the energy to do something right than it does to explain why you did it wrong."

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    The Sound Of Summer

    This year's was kind of a "lost" summer for me. I made the best of any time I had, but it passed me by for the most part.

    I think what I miss most when summer ends, is the crickets. Their chirping has been the background sound of some of the best times of my life. I've had some of the most intimate, wonderful conversations with the Cricket Orchestra providing the soundtrack.

    I think of times with my children. I'd have one of them on my lap, sitting out, under the stars, sharing the world with them in private, hushed conversations. Listening to the many questions, seeing things again for the first time through their eyes.

    Knowing that I needed to be careful with my answers, because I was Daddy, and anything I said would be treated as truth. There's just something special about a summer night, and most of my life's cherished memories took place then. Those are times you lock into your heart, and hopefully hold on to forever, because you don't get them back to do over. And it's amazing how much peace you can find within that noise.

    I've had my heart broken, and at times have had my world changed, not always for the better, all while sitting out on some deck, some patio, listening to the sounds of the summer night. There's just something that happens; people let their guards down, and you can share some secrets, hopes, dreams, that somehow don't seem to come out as freely in other times of the year. All with the music of the night being provided by those crickets.

    But, they'll be back again. And this time I'll be ready.

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    A PSA

    OK so the "authorities" said they're going to relax the ban on those liquids people used to be able to carry on to aircraft.

    Now we are allowed to bring bottles of toiletries, medicines, etc. as long as they are no larger than 3 oz. bottles, and they must fit inside a 1 Quart Ziploc-style bag. (Bag has to be clear). And yeah, wise-asses, the Hefty ones are ok too.

    Consumable liquids (as in bottled water) that are purchased AFTER you pass through security will be allowed on board as well.

    So someone asked "how will they know which ones you bought after you pass through?"

    That's easy. They'll just look at the people walking and crying after paying $89.95 for a bottle of water.

    They said you can buy bigger toiletries in those shops too.

    Sounds like an awesome boon to the people who own those shops, no?

    And remember, if you buy a nice big bottle of shampoo in Miami for your trip to NYC, you won't be getting back on the plane in NYC with it for your return home. So easy does it.

    So how many people are going to show up at the security checkpoint with 342,434 ziploc bags full of 3 oz toiletries bottles?

    "Hey, youuuu said...."

    Umm What?

    I just read an article. I saw a pair of women's jeans described as follows:

    [Our] Jeans are made from dry-aged denim that undergoes all-natural processing. Each pair of jeans is made from custom-woven, ring-spun, organic-cotton fibers. They are then brush-painted, dried and cured in California sunlight. Once finished, the sun-dried denim is preserved by a rinse and final dry-age process in an oxidant-free vacuum chamber. [Their] skinny jean has a 7-inch opening at the bottom.

    $194 bucks suggested price, too! Per pair. Cool.

    Just this once, may I just say "Gimme a damned break" and leave it at that?


    First Ramble

    I haven't done one of my "rambles" over here at old, and I think I just might do one now.

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

    courage to change the things I can;

    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;

    Enjoying one moment at a time;

    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

    Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;

    Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;

    That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him

    Forever in the next

    That's a wise prayer. Some people might have stopped reading there because I wrote "God", or quoted a prayer. What-ever. I don't care. But it is a wise prayer. So much more happiness could be found in the world if we just did our best, and were content knowing that.

    Where we going with this? I've seen the "Campaign for Real Beauty". And I think it's a shame that we even need to believe it's something that's necessary.

    I like Hollywood beauty. I like the pictures in the tabloids, the fashion magazines, and the like. But in my mind there are two kinds of beauty: the kind that show-biz creates, and the kind that happens naturally. I don't want every woman to look like Angelina Jolie or Paris Hilton or Jessica Simpson.

    But I don't want there to be a movement that would stop me from seeing them in all their created beauty, because I don't think Hollywood beauty is better than natural beauty.

    I see the pretty-boys of the world, and hell, I'd like to be as handsome and hot as them, but I can't be. It's just not gonna happen. I mean even if I employ a staff of experts and artisans, the best I could hope for is maybe a supporting role to Orlando Bloom, Brad Pitt, or whomever happens to be the hot guy of the moment. And that's because it's not realistic for me to think I could look like that.

    But that doesn't bother me too much, and I don't want any of it to go away because it hurts my self-esteem. I think we've gone way overboard with it all.

    Why? Because Hollywood beauty is carefully sculpted, carved, and created. It's supposed to be fantasy. And I don't feel inferior to any of those guys. I'm not as good-looking as the worst-looking in Hollywood, but so what? I don't live in Hollywood, I live here in the real world. And when I go into the bagel shop on Saturday morning, looking like a train wreck, no one cares. At all! Trust me. Except maybe the poor kid who waits on me at the counter.

    I'd rather, right now, be snuggled on the couch with a woman whose only response to a crowd of paparazzi bursting through the door would be to ask, "Hey, did you wipe your feet?"

    Think about it...There's big money in catching someone like Cameron Diaz, Britney Spears or Pamela Anderson "with their hair down". Why? Because it catches them looking like the rest of us. Natural. Who really wants to see that, though? I love it when they're all made up, dressed to the nines and looking their best. It's supposed to be that way, because it's part of the fantasy.

    But fantasy doesn't cloud my judgment. I know what's real, and I know what's created, and I'm happy living in the real world. But it doesn't mean I want them to go away.

    I mean if you apply this thinking to other aspects of life...Should we shut down the fanciest restaurants in the world because the rest of us can't cook as well? Should the guy in Beverly Hills not be allowed to own a Bentley because the best I can do is a Ford Explorer?

    No. I think we need to get away from "reality" sometimes and appreciate the fantasy. I think we've lost too much "reality" trying to make the world so damned "real".

    I want my idols to be different than me. Otherwise, who cares? But the keyword is "different"... Not "better".

    I watched this Saturday's episode of "Dateline: NBC". Correspondent Keith Morrison gave us the story of the robbery of Joe Francis, mastermind of the "Girls Gone Wild" video empire.

    I don't know about anyone else, but to me, this was one of the most fractured, disjointed and just flat-out confusing reporting jobs I have ever witnessed. This story was worthy of about 5 sentences, yet somehow Dateline spread it over an hour. I have no idea why anyone thought this story was worth telling, but those Dateline folks better tighten it up if they want to get me back as a viewer. And I think it's a safe bet that I wasn't the only one sitting out there in TV Land with the confused look on my face, scratching my head.

    I hear a lot of people say things like, "That was a stupid commercial."

    I'm getting the feeling though, as I spent the last few months looking at TV commercials, that I think the Advertisers are the ones thinking we're stupid.

    Is it really necessary for Washington Mutual to market itself as WaMu?

    And, are the commercials for this horror shown nationwide?

    I thought this crap was supposed to cure headaches, not cause brain hemorrhages! Worst commercial ever, in my opinion. Probably make 'em millions.

    I think a big problem here in the good ol' USA is that so many of the people who take themselves way too seriously shouldn't, and not enough of the ones who should take themselves seriously do.

    Respect is like a privilege in that you earn it. Want my respect? Show me why.

    Respect has gotten confused around here with "common decency". Yeah we all deserve that. Funny how a lot of people screaming for "respect" do so without "common decency" toward others.

    Aren't you glad we don't see much of Omarosa anymore?
    Don't know who she is?

    Donald Trump fired his real-life assistant. He said she was more interested in becoming a star than in running a business.

    That sentence just about made me choke.

    Old Comb-over Trump also has some online University, to learn how to be like Mop-Head. Most of us failed to meet the first pre-requisite: being born to a real-estate magnate like Needs-a-real-barber Don was. I want to learn from a guy who started from SCRATCH. And who has a mirror.

    Wanna drive yourself nuts? Next time you watch a news anchor on CNN or FOX or whatever, look for three things they all do:

  • the eyebrow raise

  • the head tilt

  • the head nod

  • Then count how many times they do each one in a minute. They practice it to make themselves "more interesting". But when you become aware of it, it's kinda distracting, isn't it?

    Wonder if they talk like that when they go home?

    It's almost Boot Season. YES!

    Ok that's it for now.

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    They Don't Know What They're Missing

    I saw a little comic strip in the newspaper today. Grandma tells kid that he is a "carbon copy" of Dad. Kid turns to Mom and whispers "Mom, what's a carbon copy?"

    There are some of us who are old enough to remember "carbon copies". (Hell some of us are old enough to be carbon-dated!). Ahh, the joys of carbon paper. Remember trying to neatly fill out those forms in duplicate or triplicate, with those little, flimsy sheets of carbon paper tucked in between each page of the form?

    You'd struggle to keep every sheet lined up perfectly as you pressed hard with your ballpoint pen (are those still around?) to make sure that the pen made copies all the way through. I mean you didn't have to worry so much about page 3, because that was usually the copy you got stuck with, but you had to try your best. And then of course, you'd have to figure out how to separate all the pages from the carbon paper without completely smudging up the whole works. Inevitably, you'd wind up with a nice even black coating all over your hands, and it would just wind up a big mess. All this to make efficient copies. Yay. And just try washing that stuff out of clothes...

    And speaking of copies, how many folks remember mimeographs? Yeah, who didn't look forward, every day, to the teacher coming in with a stack of white paper, printed in that lovely purple ink? She'd start passing out piles to each row, and everyone would then hand them back to the kid behind them until every kid had his copy. Then, in one fluid motion, every kid would put the sheet to his or her face and sniffffff! Ahh, the paused that refreshed.

    Of course, the lucky kids in the last seat in each row would wind up with all the extra mimeo's, which they'd then be required to walk to the teacher's desk. And up they'd walk, sniffing each individual sheet. Ahhhhhhh. This was, incidentally, in a more innocent time, when kids mostly just did this sniffing because the ink smelled good. It wasn't until years later that some smart ass figured out you could get high off a concentration of the mimeograph ink, and ruined it for everyone else.

    But I digress.

    Some schools and businesses moved ahead in the technology chain, and got themselves a Xerox machine. Xerox machines became very prevalent, so much so, that the name "Xerox" became synonymous with "copy", as in, "hey would you Xerox this page for me?"

    But technology came with a price. Those of you who've ever dealt with the ever-dangerous "toner" know exactly what that price was. Yep, dirty hands and clothes! This toner sometimes came in cartridges, but more often in plain old cans. You'd have to use this toner to make the copies in the machine, so it was a necessary evil.

    This toner was once studied to see if it was actually a living thing, because, no matter how careful you were, once that can was opened, that stuff would fly out of the can, and attack your nice white shirt, as though it were a predator on a feeding frenzy. You'd go into the Xerox room, but you always remembered to say farewell to your co-workers, just in case you didn't make it out alive. And God HELP you if there was ever a paper-jam inside that machine (which, by the way was a pretty frequent occurrence). Your life would never quite be the same.

    There was also the theory that Xerox toner was sold by dry-cleaners, who would then charge a small fortune to clean it out of the clothes of the unfortunate victims of toner attacks. But we'll leave that for another day.

    Ah, yes. The poor kids of today. They have no idea what they missed out on. Nowadays, they simply press PRINT, and somewhere across the room, some machine starts spitting out perfectly printed copies of documents they've neatly prepared with Microsoft Word, or Publisher, or something along those lines. (We'll talk about typewriter ribbons at a later date).

    And most companies have a guy whose job it is to replace the ink cartridges! We were left on our own with those Xerox machines, and now some "tech guy" gets paid to do the job. There isn't even any danger involved!

    I feel sorry for kids today. No mess, no fuss, no fun. They can't even imagine being confined to one room when talking on the telephone because there was a cord attached to the handset.

    Damned kids. Got it too easy. And I walked 56 miles each way, uphill, BOTH WAYS, to go to school...

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    Hmm, I Dunno...

    Ok the problem with being sick is that you tend to try and sleep it off, which leads to sleeping all day, which, of course, means you wake up late at night. TV sucks late-night, and there's a whole pile of "Paid Programming" on. You're paying part of your cable bill to watch shows put on by people who pay the cable company to put that show on. Nice work if you can get it, huh?

    But I digress. After a little bit of channel surfing, which leads to the inevitable curse words about nothing being on, I thought I'd browse the Web. So I opened my browser to browse the Web (and I capitalize "Web" because I know somewhere that's going to make someone curse me and say 'you don't use a capital W, idiot), and I landed on a website that I have no interest in. But at the top of the page is an ad stating that I can "GET PAID TO BLOG".

    Yeah, right.

    But, it's 2 AM, and I'm now wide awake, with nothing else to do, so I click the ad. It brings me to a website explaining how I can make money with my Blog, and (get this) there is no cash outlay! That's right, start this business of money-making blogging, without any cash outlay!

    Yep. Ok. *click* on to page 2.

    More drivel, blabber, explanation on how this business can put 1000-5000 a week, in my pocket, with no cash outlay!

    Click ahead to page 3 and there it is! "For only $23.95 you can receive..."

    Wait a minute. You said "no cash outlay".

    Or did you say "no cash investment"?

    How much money constitutes "cash"? Is the book they're selling priced at $23.95 because $24.00 is the minimum amount to be considered "cash"?

    Or is sending money over the Web not considered "cash outlay"?

    I dunno. Maybe it's 'cause it's 2 AM, but that pissed me off.

    Oh well. I guess it's time to go download some "free software" that you have to pay $59.99 to get to actually run.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006


    I spent the last couple of days really sick. But this isn't going to be a rehashing of all that. I'm going to be ok, I'm feeling a little better.

    No, this is going to be a thank you to my incredible friends. I don't care what anyone says, it feels good to be worried about.

    Thank you guys. Love ya

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    An Encore: What Time Is It?

    For some reason, I have a map of the US Time Zones. It's pretty large, and neatly folded. I don't remember buying it, and I'm not sure how it got in my closet. But it fell off the shelf when I was looking for something totally unrelated.

    Anyway, I was looking at it, and I was wondering about something: the borders of the time zones are illustrated in distinct color patterns, and they are fairly clearly defined. What I was wondering is, how small an area actually separates the zones? Are there places in the US where one side of the street it's 8 PM and you go across the street and it's 7 PM?

    How cool would this be? You miss a TV program that you wanted to see. You get home as it ends at 9, and you're all mad that you missed it. But wait! It's 9 in my house, but it's only 8 at Larry's across the street! You could run over and bust in, commandeer his TV set, and watch your program! Happy Happy Joy Joy!

    And this coolness doesn't have to be limited to something as trite as a TV program. No, you could make some serious use of this time-advantage. Look: you roll over in bed, it's 8:30 AM. Dammit, you're an hour late for work now! But no! Again, it's over to Larry's! Jump in bed, roll's 7:30! You've got plenty of time! And if Larry is a congenial neighbor, he won't kill you for being in bed when his wife is there, and hell, you have time for a leisurely breakfast to boot.

    Of course, if you live on one side of the zone, and your job is on the other side of the zone, and you're me, you'd be out of work in no time, because you'd never figure out what time you have to get up and go.

    I actually do have too much time on my hands

    Cell Phone Mania Continues!

    Video and Code Provided by

    Click play to start

    Oh you have so got to love it. I hope no one sets up a camera in the men's room stalls any time soon.

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    Dad Shopping

    A friend of mine got me thinking. She was in one of those life predicaments that is almost unavoidable, and she was looking for some help. She spoke the words that can strike fear into the heart of even the bravest warrior:

    "What the hell can I get my Father for his birthday????"

    Now you may not have a dad of your own anymore, but somewhere in your life is someone who fits the bill. Could be a father in law, a husband (yeah most Moms have to shop for something the kiddies can give to ol' Pop). Grandpa's don't quit count, because pretty much any item related to fishing makes a suitable gift. And with fishing, you'll never, ever run out of items to buy.

    Nope, I'm talking about Dad Shopping. It is something almost none of us can escape. Ah yes. The dreaded Dad Shopping.The most fearsome question known to man. And at that moment, your heart shudders. For Dad Shopping is like working a computer.

    Christmas shopping doesn't really count, because if you have a Mom and a Dad, you can kinda just buy something you know Mom wants. And then write both names on the tag.

    No it's the Birthday Gift. There's a whole bunch going on in the mental process here. Of course, there's the moral motivation, as you can't believe you can't come up with a decent gift for the man you call Dad. He brought you into the world, for God's sake. How can you not know?

    But there's also that little blip in your brain that says you have to get a good gift, because you don't want to go home that night, knowing that your Dad is sitting in the chair mumbling "What the hell kind of stupid-ass gift is this?"

    Then he accuses your Mom of infidelity, 'cause no way a child that stupid came from his loins. And it's just a big mess, and...


    It happens to almost every one of us, and it's something that we fear. Yes, we FEAR it, because it's one of those times that our brain just absolutely quits on us. Shuts down, goes blank, like a reformatted hard drive. Yeah, just like the times when you spend 8 hours reinstalling Windows. Everything you have spent the past year inputting, every shred of information, GONE. Think about it a second...

    Remember in school, you'd sit down for that Math test; you'd open the little booklet, and turn to the first problem, and it would look something like this:

    xy+zy(9a+3b)² + (ab²x2xy) + (b * ½a)³ * x³ .

    And then you'd read:


    And you'd freeze. Dead cold frozen. "G? G? there's no G, what the hell? How do I find the value of G?"

    That my friends, is the problem. G= Dad's GIFT!

    So you get a zero on the test, and you vow to study a lot harder for the next exam. And every math class from then on, you listen, observe and take notes.

    Same thing happens with Dad's gifts. In this class though, you get very little help from the teacher, cause Dads NEVER know what they want. Every father, same old story:

    "What can I get you for your Birthday, Daddy?"

    "Umm, nahh, can't think of anything. Just get me a card," he answers.

    Yeah right.

    Just TRY gettin' ol' Dad an empty card for his birthday.

    And a lot of us feel creepy stuffing cash into a card for Dad. Even if we want to, and do, it's just not 100% comfortable. And don't even get started with the Gift Cards. He may like it, actually, and it may be a great idea. But more than likely, you could do better by taking the 25 bucks and setting it on fire. Unless it's a card to a place Mom could get herself something. Because months later, the Gift Card Guilt will be there, taunting and torturing you.

    Always there, louder and louder, like the Tell-Tale Heart.

    A Gift Card. HOW COULD I?

    And neck ties. You see a man, all dapper in his suit, white shirt, wing tipped shoes and a necktie. A necktie is a joke.

    Do you know there is only reason why men are wearing neckties in the first place?

    They were invented so that desperate children had something to get their Dads for the birthdays.

    Think about it.

    Why in God's name would you tie a stupid piece of silk, (a fabric you place nowhere else in your male wardrobe) around your neck? It chokes, it binds, and makes you sweat. But it bails out the kids, so, it's one of the things Dads do for Love!

    But you know what I mean. You failed this test so many times. Oh, you may have gotten a D-minus a few times, but you are fed up, and determined to get it right this time around.

    So your eyes are open, and your mind is a sponge. You're in some store in February, right after the Christmas Shopping horrors are over. And you spot something on the shelf. Could be Walmart, Sports Authority, Borders Books, doesn't matter.

    You spot it, and immediately think, "Ohhh Dad would love that".

    Well, too late to make it a Christmas gift, and Dad's birthday is in August, so you say "I have to remember this and get it for Dad on his birthday this year."

    You click SAVE, and move on. You've got your eye on the prize, and you're good to go. And even in say, March, when you're out shopping for your Shamrock decorations and green t-shirt for St. Patty's Day, you'll see something in a store window, and again, the prompt pops up.

    "Oooh Dad would really like that". And you click SAVE, being careful to put in into the same folder with the February entry.

    Oh you are doing so well.

    And on and on it goes. You breeze through Spring, and shop for Mother's Day, which is rarely a problem cause we always know what Mom wants. Hell, she just usually tells us. Well maybe not directly, but through thousands of hints. You're headed out of the Mall, see some strange new store sitting there between the Verizon Wireless Shop and The Limited. And it's a cool looking place. Got a whole bunch of gadgets, toys and trinkets. It's almost like a Man Store chock full of goodies that are just perfect for Dad. Whoa, here you have to create a whole new subfolder to save, cause you don't want to get mixed up. You've found a TREASURE trove!


    Good to go.

    Then the Professor throws the Pop Quiz of Death.


    OH MY GOD!

    You didn't see it coming, you freaked out and you blew it. You left your hard drive home, and you didn't bring the Flash Memory Card.

    And Dad got a pair of socks.

    Now that reminds me. There are times when a man needs socks.They rarely, if ever, will buy them for themselves. I mean he is walking around with a little piece of white elastic wrapped around his big toe. His feet are hanging out, baby, and this man needs socks. And you arrive on the scene on Father's Day with your neatly wrapped 6 pack of crew socks. He's happy, he's grateful and you feel like you did something good.

    However, that feeling is about as gratifying as getting your G.E.D. on the same day your bratty sister becomes a PhD.


    But again, it's all about the learning experience. You're an adult, you learn from your mistakes and you move on.

    So now, you're thinking how cool it is that you are prepared. And you're getting so, so good at studying and remembering to SAVE the items to your Folder. You're loving life, cause THIS year you're going to be READY!

    And now, it's August and his birthday is this weekend. Oh you are so ready. You get to the mall, boot up the brain and head on in.
    You're at the store, you click the Folder marked "DADS GIFTS" (it's written like that cause you can't type a ' in the folder name) and...


    You are NOT pulling up any useful data. You're hitting the ANY key to continue, but it's no use. Nothing. Blank disc. You're out of Memory.

    Good God, why have you abandoned me!

    But then, just as the screen flickers, your floppy drive spits out one last byte.
    The MAN STORE! That place on the upper level, right between The Verizon Wireless Shop and The Limited. YES! Salvation!

    You hop on the escalator. You fly up those moving steps. Your Flash Memory is allowing you to remember where that store was, and you're on your way! You race to the store, your system hasn't completely failed you.

    Then you see it.

    Tucked in between The Verizon Wireless Shop and The Limited: 5 or six planks of 4x8 plywood.

    Your heart goes into defib as you race up and see the little handwritten sign that says

    "Coming Soon: Lucy's Handbags".

    Now just before the blue screen goes completely blank, just before the CPU is toast, a scream emerges from your quivering lips. It's a horrible sound, but no one pays any mind, because it's a sound they all well recognize. Your brain has crashed. At best, they offer a sympathetic glance, and maybe a nod of the head.

    And so, Monday morning, Dad goes to work. He's had his birthday dinner, he blew out the candles, ate the cake.

    And everyone is noticing his new tie.

    There's always next year, huh? Go get the Windows Reinstall disc.

    So my friend, if you're out there, know that we feel your pain. You are not alone.

    There's always next year.


    Please take a minute to read this post. It'll make you think, that's for sure.

    Fun Little Test Drive

    Go play at

    If you're thinking of purchasing a new vehicle, you can take one for a test drive. Hey even if you just want to check one out for fun, the site is pretty fun and easy to use.

    Go check it out.

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    For The Young At Heart!

    Just in case you woke up feeling young today...


    Cheech and Chong, circa 1980

    And, today...

    But Officer...

    Funny story about traffic ticket excuses. Take a look here if you haven't seen it.


    It's not quite coincidental that this comes shortly after the anniversary of the 9.11 terrorist attacks.

    I have been on disability for a few months while I underwent a few surgeries. I have spent a lot of time just doing nothing during that time. I've watched probably every movie ever made, seen and hated nearly everything else that was on. In short, stir-crazy. I spent a lot of time alone, but I'm not sure that it was all bad, because I really learned something.

    I learned that I am afraid. Not out-and-out frightened; no overt panic going on. But just afraid. I'm not in a unique situation, so there are things that tell me that I need to come to grips with what it is that is making me afraid.

    I go to work in a major city every day. I travel with a lot of people. But every day, I enter the city, and I never quite get to forget 9.11 completely. It doesn't hang over my head; it isn't consuming me by any means. This fear for me kind of happened in reverse.

    I realized, sitting here day after day, that aside from boredom, frustration, and the like, deep down there was a sense of security.

    A little background here: I was at Broadway and Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan on 9.11, just yards east of the SouthTower of the World Trade Center. I was standing there with countless others, watching the horror unfold in the North Tower, when the 2nd plane flew overhead and hit the building. I ran. I was still in the vicinity, however, when the buildings collapsed. I ran again.

    Anyway, I'd come to reason somewhat with myself. 99.9% of people would not derive any good from being disabled, even temporarily, and this was not good. But I was feeling pretty sure that, unless terrorists planned on taking out my apartment, I was pretty much safe.

    See, as I said, this wasn't a consuming fear. I functioned pretty well. In fact, very well. I didn't have bad thoughts most of the time. Of course, I'm human, and guilty of a lot of things that we don't need to go into. I'd see a stranger among the familiar faces of my commuter group, and have those moments of suspicion and doubt. But nothing I'd act upon. Vigilance is good, granted, but stupid prejudice is just that: stupid.

    What would go on in my mind were some very strange scenes. I think of those times in movies where they'd speed up the film to simulate "life flashing before your eyes" type of effects. I'd see myself trapped in a burning building, wondering what I'd actually do. I think of things like someone telling my kids that daddy was killed. I often wrestle with the thought that in the last split second I saw that plane, those people were alive, probably terrified beyond words, and then they simply weren't anymore. And of course, I see myself there, on that jet in those last moments.

    I'm afraid sometimes. It's not cool to think that, but it's true. Not the thing you feel too great about sharing; a guaranteed dinner-conversation stopper.

    The problem for me isn't that I was afraid, it was that I was really enjoying the break from it for so long. It's hard to get this concept in words.

    I always chuckle when I hear that line, "you're not paranoid if they really are out to get you". I mean I work in a place that has been confirmed as a potential target and all, but these moments that I'm talking about come and go a lot more quickly than it takes to describe them.

    As I said, I don't obsess, and it isn't consumptive. I function, do my job, tend to my kids. The fear is sort of like drive-by in nature.

    But what was happening here to me was that I was beginning to really like the idea that I was out off the crosshairs, so to speak. Safe at home. And day by day, I've grown to be comfortable somewhat, despite being beat-up from surgery.

    I know that the time will come. I'm doing so great physically that I surprise myself sometimes. I know I am going to be all healed up, and life will beckon. I have 3 kids to support, and work is just not an option. Life isn't an option, so to speak.

    But i just think it's funny how you can come to one conclusion by drawing another.

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Science Test

    Science is best dealt with by well trained practitioners. I mean think about it: if some inept chemist messes around with the wrong ingredients, things go "boom" and people get hurt. Or some idiot screws up in the biology lab, people could get very sick, no? And don't even get started about some dim-witted nuclear physicist! We would get rid of those people and ask them not to come back, right?

    Technically, politics is a science too. (Poli-Sci anyone? Three semesters of that pain!).

    So how come when one of these "scientists" screws up, (things going "boom", people getting sick, etc.) we re-elect them?

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    A Stupid Dozen

    Little Survey about food

    Have you ever:
    1. Bitten half of a french fry, burned your mouth, but then popped the other half in anyway?

    2. Tasted something a second time after it tasted as though it had spoiled?

    3. Found something in your refrigerator that you absolutely did not recognize?

    4. Completely eaten a horribly prepared dinner so as not to hurt the host or hostess' feelings?

    5. Screwed up preparing a meal, but then served it anyway?

    6. Eaten dinner leftovers the same night you wrapped them up?

    7. Made kids eat vegetables you don't like yourself?

    8. Drunk flat soda because you were too lazy to go buy new?

    9. Made a sandwich of things that don't normally go into a sandwich? ( I once made a sandwich of chicken casserole)

    10.Stopped eating a food you always liked because you got sick on it once?

    11.Finally tried a food you always thought you hated and then found you liked it?

    12.Thrown an entire meal in the garbage and gone to a restaurant instead?

    13.Eaten something you caught or killed yourself?

    14.Brought home a food item (snack, for instance) and refused to share it with anyone?

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    Virtual Magic Kingdom

    I don't remember if I already mentioned this, but I'm too lazy to look right now. Anyway, if you have younger kids looking for something fun and safe to do online, let them try Disney's Virtual Magic Kingdom, located at

    It's a virtual-reality game that allows kids to walk the parks of The Magic Kingdom, talking with other kids, making friends, all that. It's fun, it's safe (kids can't give out personal information) and it's monitored by a good, capaple staff.

    The Virtual Magic Kingdom

    By the way, try it out yourself.


  • Definitely

  • Again

  • Your = belonging to you.

  • You're= short for "you are"; a contraction.

  • There = a direction. Over there.

  • Their = belonging to them.

  • They're = short for "they are"; again, a contraction.

  • Thare = I believe Thare is the begotten son of Nachor. (Genesis, Chapter 11). Doesn't mean "there", "their" or "they're".

  • Your

  • You
  • as in, "thank you".

    Two Things

    I have not as yet, done two things:

    1. Pounded a 6-inch nail into my eye
    2. Listened to K-Fed's Rap Debut CD.

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    In Memoriam 9.11.01

    It's hard to believe that 5 years have passed since that awful day. We owe it to all the heroes and victims of that day, never to forget. I made this tribute in my effort to make sure that we don't.

    See other tributes here:
    Nicole Miller Memorial

    Sunday, September 10, 2006


    I was involved in a discussion recently about the illness of a good friend. There was some concern over the methods of treatment our friend was undergoing. Now if you ever want to bring out the opinions of many, introduce the topic of medicine. It's become as volatile a topic as politics and religion are.

    One person, whom I was not too familiar with, opened his comments with "I work in the medical field, and I think that..."

    Right there, the alarms go off in my head.

    Turns out this person works for a company that archives and stores medical transcripts. As a data technician, I believe he said.

    That made me think. I know the Internet is a great resource for information and all, but I think it's creating a whole new set of problems, the main one being the creation of a whole new breed of "Experts". Some people now feel qualified to cite themselves as "experts", giving opinions on things based on something they "read on the internet".

    If someone says they "work in the medical field", it's a pretty good chance they aren't a doctor, because a doctor will say "I'm a doctor..."

    I could technically say that I worked in the medical field too, because when I was in college, I worked for a Custodial company, and two of the offices we cleaned were Doctors' offices. I would tend to trust a medical opinion given by a doctor a lot sooner than one given by someone who is inputting data from a medical transcript, or who cleans Doctors' offices.

    Why? Well a few months ago my kid and I did some research for a science project. The class was to do a study and project on something related to heart disease, and my daughter was assigned to look at angiograms. So I got heavily involved into researching the topic. I would say I spent a full 5 hours researching and reading on my own, outside of what we did for the class project. I now fully understand exactly how one is done, what it involves and what it reveals to the Doctor. So, what do ya say? Do you want me to do one on you?

    While I do believe a lot of good can come from having a tool like the Internet, I also believe it is becoming the source of some problems. Think about urban legends, and how fast they can be come to be held as popular belief. Come on, admit it...we all forwarded at least one version of the Microsoft/AOL joint venture email, you know, the one that promised to send you 5 cents for every person you forwarded it to? (I always wondered how I was going to cash a $20,000 check made out to "Stupidsheetguy".) Or the warnings about flashing your headlights at a car being driven without headlights, or the hypodermic needles in the coin return at the payphone. And somewhere on the globe, some bizarre combination of factors results in something like a car exploding at the gas station, and someone blames it on the victim's use of a cellphone while pumping gas. (God if people really blew up at gas stations because they were using cellphones, we'd have a bigger pandemic on our hands than the Avian flu.) Pretty much, every one of those "URGENT WARNING, DO NOT DELETE" emails you get will inevitably relate the story of some freakish accident or other misfortune that happened to someone's brother's girlfriend's sister's husband's 3rd cousin. And if you take a minute the next time, before you forward out the Letter Of Armageddon, go to and just type in the subject line of the email into the supplied search engine, and I'll bet you you'll find just what you're reading about. Snopes is a website dedicated solely to debunking all the urban legends, misinformation and other nonsense that plague the Internet.

    I mean the occasional mass-hysteria situation is harmless enough. A lot worse things can happen than people looking closely into that coin slot. But the thing that bothers me is how much the Internet is becoming chock full of misinformation, and by the same token, devoid of any information worth having in the first place.

    Take this for example: I went to Google and typed this random question: "How do they make plastic bottles?" These are, verbatim, the first few search results:

    Book results for how do they make plastic bottles?

    Do Carrots Make You See Better? - by Julie Appleton, Nadiine McCrea, Carla Patterson - 208 pagesThe Amazing Earth Model Book - by Donald M Silver - 96 pagesBook of Successful Swimming Pools - by Ronald Derven, Carol Nichols

    Recycle It: Things you can do with old plastic pop bottles
    Small thingee holder - Cut the top off 2 litre bottles so they stand 6-8 inches tall. ... Make plastic shapes - Take a clear bottle and draw the shape of a - 19k -
    Cached - Similar pages

    Yahoo! Answers - why do they hang plastic bottles in fruit trees?
    why do they hang plastic bottles in fruit trees? ... THE BOTTLES ARE USUALLY CUT OUT TO MAKE IT INTO BIRD FEEDER IN SOME TREES .....BUT IN FRUIT TREES ITS - 65k -
    Cached - Similar pages

    Not a lot of help there, huh? I thought it was a little funny that the last entry there was Google's search engine giving me results from Yahoo's search engine, too.

    But to me, that's not even the biggest problem. I still maintain my biggest concern isn't so much that we're creating a ton of "Experts", it's the area that they claim "expertise" in, which is Medicine. People are self-diagnosing, which is bad enough, but there are others who don't stop there. They're prescribing treatments for others as well, and that just scares the hell out of me. Hey, as I said, "angiogram, anyone?"

    Even some legitimate Web resource such as can be misused. That site is designed to help us understand and interpret what our doctors tell us; it shouldn't be used as a substitute for a medical degree. I mean, I've spent some time on , so I have a pretty good understanding of how to use the medicines I've been prescribed. Should I write you a prescription for that sore throat?

    I'm not saying it's all bad. There is nothing wrong with supplementing the information we get from Doctors, or taking steps to further inform ourselves about what we've been told by experts. It's always a good thing to be informed, because that can prompt us to ask pertinent questions. What I mean by that is that in one instance, a friend had read up on a medicine that shouldn't be taken with certain other medicines, and that caused him to mention it to his Doctor when a prescription was written. Problem avoided!

    I just think I'd prefer to know, next time I catch a flight, that my pilot actually trained in the Air Force, or an accredited flight school, and not Microsoft's "Flight Simulator".

    Ya know?


    Please, my friend, I am not eluding you! Email me at my AOL address, please?

    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    A Virtual Magic Kingdom

    So on that list of "things for the kids to do on a rainy day" (or when you're laid up, completely stir-crazy and just looking for things to do) go check out this site:

    It's a Disney Site, for the Virtual Magic Kingdom. It's supervised, the language is expertly filtered, and the kids can not give out any personal information.

    I was gonna describe it, but it's better if you see it for yourself.

    Have fun

    Little Heartbreaks

    One of those times where you just go "siiiighhh".

    I had told my kids that I didn't care what activities they chose, but I wanted them involved in something. Just try stuff out, figure out what you like, and go for it. I don't live out my sports fantasies through my kids, I'm not a frustrated actor trying to have a career through my kids. Nope, I just wanted them to get some interests beside video games.

    So my son hasn't quite figured out his niche, he's been through basketball, Little League baseball (which was a trip, as a LL parent, I got to cook at the concession stand, oh yay.). My youngest is 7, and seems content with dancing classes and recitals. My oldest girl is the busy-bee. She gets involved to the point where it's a little overwhelming.

    Anyway, her Mom told her she had to make a choice and eliminate some of the activities. After a while, between practices, games, recitals, and shows there was a strain on the time meant for schoolwork, etc.

    So she chose to eliminate soccer from her menu. Kinda broke my heart, because, as anyone who knows me can tell you, girls and women's soccer has a very dear place in my heart. I was a huge fan of the Women's World Cup and Olympic teams; was a staunch supporter of the WUSA. I just love the game, and to have my girl playing was something we both got to enjoy together.

    But, as I said, I won't tell them what they have to do. She made her choice to leave soccer, and as long as she is involved in something, then that's the deal. I have to keep my word.

    Just hate it when that happens. I'm gonna miss those games.

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    My Space

    Oh I gave up with the goddam MySpace thing. It's nothing major, just something that was supposed to be for fun, and it aggravated the hell out of me. Their site is a technical nightmare, and whatever they mean by "Contact Customer Service" it sure doesn't mean "get help".

    I know it's free, and it's not the most important thing in the world, I just have zero-tolerance for incompetence.


    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Pay Attention, Damn It!

    Way back in history, just about when we were standing upright for the first time, the rules of Nature still applied. Pretty much the way the Animal Kingdom dictated the rules over all the other species. Everyone has at least once seen the image of the club-wielding Caveman dragging the beautiful mate by the hair.

    The biggest, strongest, prettiest of the lot were the ones who got all the goodies. No one worried much about etiquette or social rules.

    When you take a look at the timeline of human existence, you can see how far we'd come from the Stone Age by the end of the 20th Century. In fact, if you look at just the latter half of that Century, you can see the amazing progress we made in that time period alone.

    People started creating laws, way back, because the Cavemen lived pretty much by the rules of the animal kingdom, survival of the fittest and all. I guess they got sick of the Big Guy taking all the good stuff, simply because he could wallop anyone who tried to stand in the way, so the Nerds banded together and created Society, with all its laws and the ability to enforce those laws. We wanted to differentiate ourselves from the beasts of the wild, and it was through the use of our brains that we began to accomplish that.

    A big part of our great move forward was the process of trial-and-error. We learned from our mistakes, and the guys the built the better mousetraps were the ones who achieved success. Hard work, education, all were part of the formula. Didn't get it right? Back to the drawing board.

    So what the hell is up with us as we enter the 21st Century? I read about a plan in some school district to eliminate grades for school work. What are we working on creating here? I remember when a bad grade was usually an incentive to work harder, even if it was because you didn't want to get punished. But it also acted as motivation. Made you work harder, just because you wanted to do better. I figured the grading system was there to measure performance, but to help find the people who were the best at what they did. I always remember George Carlin's line "Somewhere out there is the worst doctor in the world. And someone has an appointment with him tomorrow."

    Screw the self-esteem, Little Johnny, I want the doc from the TOP 10% of the class, please?

    Now we have people who see bad grades as "detrimental to self-esteem".

    What is self-esteem? The way I saw it, your self-esteem was your own personal grading system. You measured your self-worth by your accomplishments. And grades helped you to figure out what you were better at. Some kids were math whizzes, others were budding scientists, and yet others were artists and musicians. You found your niche, and went to work getting better and better at it.

    Now we don't want anyone to get their feelings hurt? Why?

    Imagine if the Wright Brothers' Mom told them to stop trying to build airplanes after they crashed a few dozen times. I almost said we'd be rowing around in boats, but I can't imagine that the first boat that went into the water got very far either. Failure led to success for the people who chose to learn from their mistakes. So yeah, when Alexander Graham Bell got a few busy signals on his first attempts, maybe Mrs. Bell baked him some cookies, but I'm sure she didn't tell him to throw in the towel. He felt bad, I'm certain, that he didn't get to talk on the phone right away, but I'm guessing that he channeled his frustration and got back to work, just so we can walk around blabbing into cellphones all day now.

    Political Correctness, Diversity Training, and other social movements in recent history started out with great intentions, no doubt. No one wants to feel badly, and no one should go out of his way to make other people feel badly, particularly if the motivation is bigotry. And I know that we have miles to go in the right direction before we hit the mark.

    But I think we've bastardized the concepts here a little.

    The thing I don't like about the whole "PC" thing isn't what it has given us, but rather what it has taken away from us on a social level. Used to be, someone was a jerk, you didn't have to like them. Didn't matter their race, creed, or whatever; if he was an idiot, he was an idiot. Now it feels to me as though I'm being forced into having to like someone because I'm supposed to. Doesn't quite work for me.

    We have some folks demanding "respect" without doing a damned thing to earn it.

    We have other folks whose sole source of self-pride is that "they don't take shit from anyone!". You know, the "mess with me and you'll get hurt" types. There you go. You might have earned something along the lines of respect. But when I think of those descriptive phrases, another creature comes to mind, namely the killer bee. And I stay the hell away from them. Is that what the person is after? Solitude?

    With the proliferation of websites allowing self-expression, such as myspace, you'll see some people laying it all out there, giving you all they've got. Then they write something like "if you don't like what you see, move on". Some of the self-same people will then complain that they aren't the center of attention. I don't get it.

    Why are we making it ok to be an asshole? Look at some of the celebrities who are in the forefront of media attention? Half of them are riding on the coattails and credit cards of Daddy or Mommy's money. They did the work, now we pay the price? I'm not saying everyone on the cover of People is an asshole. But look how many "hot celebrities of the moment" are famous for no other reason than that they are assholes?

    There will always be social trends. And while every generation thinks that they are the great innovators, coming up with something unique and new, I'm not sure what to make of the current trend. I'm not even sure what it is. But I think it might actually be "new and unique". The trend that I'm seeing isn't "live and let live" like some people would lead you to believe. "Live and let live" implies you live your life the way you want to, and I'll live mine my way. I see, more and more, that people not only want to live the way they want to, they're gonna shove their lifestyle in your face, and you're going to like it. And you're not going to ignore it.

    I could tolerate it if people were jamming great accomplishments onto my table. But I would say it's a pretty safe bet that the people busy with great accomplishments don't need to shove anything anywhere.

    No, instead we have a whole lot of people out there who think being beautiful is all they have to do to garner all the attention.

    The biggest, strongest, prettiest of the lot were the ones who want all the goodies. No one worries much about etiquette or social rules.

    Funny, huh? Feels like we've come full-circle.

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    Crocodile Hunter Dies at 44

    Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the “Crocodile Hunter,” was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.

    I didn't know Steve Irwin personally. But this news made me sad just the same. I'd watched his program with the kids many times. His tv style was interesting, amusing, funny, all while being incredibly educational. The kids and I learned a lot together watching the madcap Steve on his adventures.

    My personal condolences to his wife and children.

    To read more on the story, go here