Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Things You Should Never Have to Ask Your Teen

I have recently begun to compile a List of Things You Should Never Have to Ask Your Teen. I would dearly love to never have to ask these questions, but after comparing notes with other parents, I find that most of us have asked these questions at least once:

1. Did you remember to use deoderant? Let's face it: Teens can end up smelling like Sasquatch on a hot summer day. They've just come out of a childhood when they never considered smearing deoderant in their armpits, and this is now a new and necessary part of their routine. It's easy to forget... until it's around 3 PM in the summer heat.

2. Have you done your chores? Now by the time they're teens, you would think that they would have made their chores a habit... but no. There are times that they do exactly what they should for weeks on end, and then one day you glance at the ferret cage and realize that at some point they've forgotten to put water in there, as you watch the ferret frantically scrabbling at the water bottle. Then it's up to you to make sure the ferret doesn't suffer until you can get ahold of your teen (and make him suffer a little, instead!)

3. What did you do today? Why is it that teens become so reticent at this age? I'm lucky. My own son is a wonderful communicator. However, one of my friends has a son that has spoken mainly in grunts for the last year. Discovering what he did during the day takes a Herculean effort.

4. Why in the heck do you guys choose to [insert fashion choice here]. Duh! It's, like, totally what everyone else is doing, right? Like, Brittany Spears totally wears stuff like this! And lots of girls are dying their hair blue this semester! Gawd, mom, yer such a geek!

5. What is in your pocket? Are you concealing something? I have a friend who recently saw her son furtively try to hide something he'd mistakenly taken out of his pocket. "Mike, what is that?" she demanded. He quickly told her that it was nothing. "I know better than that, Mike!" she said. But his continued denial began to cause her to panic. Finally, in agony, she said "Please tell me it's only a condom! I hope to God it's not drugs!" He sheepishly opened his hand to reveal... a condom. Although it was startling to discover that her son was sexually active, she was relieved that he was protecting himself. She was even happier to know that it wasn't drugs. Not great choices, but the condom was the lesser of two evils.

6. Are you out of your mind? ...and other unanswerable questions. The truth of the matter is that all teens are out of their minds at some point or other. It is pointless to ask them questions that they cannot, in all honesty, answer. Other such questions include "What were you thinking?!", "Do you know what you're doing?", "Do you have any idea that you're driving me crazy?!" These are all Damned if You Do/Damned if You Don't type of questions and at this point, the wise teen takes the 5th.

The teen years are a time of wonder, when boys and girls become men and women. This is the time that you can see the Magic of Hormones as a formerly happy child becomes a surly individual, muttering darkly about piercings and tatoos. That is, unless, you're an incredibly lucky parent. So far, I am counting my blessings. But in the Land of the Hormone, it is sometimes simply a matter of time.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Struggle for the Presidency

Some people call it "The Race" for the Presidency, but the truth is that it's a slow, drawn-out struggle. Most of the Republicans seem to be holding off on any official announcements yet, while the Democats are eagerly throwing their hats in the ring. I've listed the candidates and detailed the ones I'm more interested in (not necessarily because I like them). Which one would you vote for and why?

Some current entrants are:

Sen. Joe Biden (D)

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D),
former First Lady for 8 years, Senator for 6 years. Originally very liberal, but she's learned to tone it down these last 6 years. It is speculated that she is taking a middle-of-the-road position to be more marketable, with the intention to resume her liberal preferences once she's in office.

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) of Connecticut

Sen. John Edwards (D)

Mike Huckabee (R), a conservative former governor from the largely Democratic state of Arkansas. He's a devout Christian and ordained Baptist minister. Unabashed supporter of Bush's war efforts.

Senator John McCain (R)

Barack Obama (D), published author and seemingly more moderate than Sen. Clinton. He is multiracial (his mother was what he calls "white as milk" and says his father was "black as pitch"). He experimented with drugs as a teenager, justifying it by saying he was trying to deal with the issue of being a multiracial child. He encourages other Democrats to reach out to evangelicals and other religious people.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D)

Congressman Tom Tancredo (R) of Colorado. Tancredo is very opposed to illegal immigration and is one of the few Republicans who have openly and vocally stood against Bush's position.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D)

Potential Candidates:

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R)
Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas (R)
Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore (R)
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R)
Former NY City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R)
Former V.P. Al Gore (D)
Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska (R)
George Pataki, Governor of New York (R)
Condoleezza Rice (R)
Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D)

I may have missed some on both sides, so please feel free to add to the list.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Toyota Thieves Commercial

It takes an effort for me to remember a commercial because I usually tune them out. There are different kinds of commercials, but the one that has always interested me is the "annoying" commercial that is deliberately designed to annoy the viewer into remembering the product. Those commercials can backfire, however, so they're falling out of favor.

There's currently a commercial running in our area. (I think it's a local one, so you may not have seen it). I don't believe it's intended to be one of those annoying ones. In fact, I think it's intended to be very politically correct!

There are two white sihouettes on a black background (the symbolism is quite apparent). They're obviously caucasian men, and they're speaking to each other about stealing a Toyota in upperclass caucasian accents. You almost expect them to say "And afterwards, let's pick up Buffy and Vanna and go to the club for a spot of tennis!"

But instead, they talk about stealing the car (the voice acting is horrible, incidentally) and then one of them regretfully points out that the car has some sort of security system that will foil would-be thieves.

Every time I see this, I think it's so totally lame. I finally paid enough attention to learn that it's for Toyota, but that's as far as I'm taking it. Who in their right mind is going to believe that these guys are car thieves? If they're too afraid of racial stereotyping and want to deny statistics, then let them use white thugs that talk as badly as Eminem! But c'mon, these white-bread boys? I don't think so!

Although the Toyota Commercial is poorly done and they obviously never intended it to be laughed at, I am reminded of the fantastic Smirnoff video, "Tea Partay":

Friday, January 26, 2007

Things That Make You Go "Hmmm"

I was going through the parking lot at Countryside Mall recently, when a large SUV cut across my path, weaving erratically at full-speed. I immediately started looking around to see if the police were chasing it. The woman behind the wheel was wearing a flowered hijab. The decorative license plate on the front read I Love Flying. Hmmm.

As I was driving through Sarasota last week with a friend, we spotted a shop with two mannequins dressed in exotic costumes. I pulled over immediately. We had to see what was inside.

The shop itself was a disappointment; it was a Pier 1 Imports wannabe. But the towering mannequins were a delight! A man approached us, and when we told him how much we admired the costumes, he became very excited. "Yesssss!" he hissed dramatically. "These women must have been especially tall! At least 6 feet or over! *I* tried on one of the costumes, and it barely fit me!" Hmmm.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Presidential Failures

Let he who says a President is merely a figurehead, think again. Presidents are significant, even when we don't wish them to be.

We're back in Somalia. Again. Two weeks ago, the U.S. led an airstrike on a group of terrorists, and we did so again yesterday. This is the way we should conduct our war against the terrorists, IMHO. I don't believe in using ground troops unless it's absolutely necessary. If we do use ground troops, we need to flood the area with troops as far as the eye can see (as General Haig suggests). Because whenever America does anything half-hearted, we pay for it.

Examples abound: The current Iraqi and Afghanistan wars (under President Bush) and Somalia (under President Clinton) are the most recent ones. Lately we've been conducting wars as if they're an expensive hobby, instead of solving the problem and getting out again.

Of course there are reasons that wars are now being conducted this way. When it's less draining on the average American citizen, they don't complain. Most of us go on with our lives, shopping, socializing, partying, and gadding about. The WWII generation would be ashamed of us, and rightly so. But our own leaders don't demand any more; in fact, we are essentially leaderless. So, we drift about like a ship without a captain.

Politicians have learned that if you leave the average American alone, they will leave the politicians alone to pursue whatever is most profitable or enjoyable.

Despite the reports that Bush sheds an occasional tear over a fallen soldier (and I've seen the footage), he is pursuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for reasons that trump the soldiers' lives. The pain isn't intense enough to cause him to stop. This reminds me of the addict that says "I would stop if I could! Do you think I like doing this?" The answer, of course, is yes! The addict enjoys the addiction! If an addict had projectile vomiting every time he sucked on a crack pipe, the market for crack would dry up. It's amazing what immediate disincentives can do for you. Like a crack addict, Bush feels that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

But just as I am honest in my analysis of President Bush, I am also honest in my analysis of President Clinton. The reason that we're in Somalia again is Clinton's fault. He never took the opportunity to clean out the nest of vipers to begin with. When some troops were killed, viciously skinned, and put on display, Clinton grew scared of a drop in ratings, and immediately called for a cease to the hostilities. There were additional problems, of course. But in the case of Clinton, he was always too worried about his ratings. Bush isn't worried enough!

But the most crippling blow of all was a decision that President Ford made in 1976. Then President Gerald R. Ford issued Executive Order 11905 to clarify U.S. foreign-intelligence activities. In a section of the order labeled "Restrictions on Intelligence Activities," Ford concisely but explicitly outlawed political assassination: 5(g) Prohibition on Assassination. No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.

Since 1976, every U.S. president has upheld Ford’s prohibition on assassinations, because no one wants to be perceived as a blood-thirsty warmonger. Assassinations are seen as "too extreme". Instead, we sacrifice thousands of troops to overtake a country and try to bend it to civilization.

We need a President who has the guts to cut the head off the snake without needlessly sacrificing the lives of our troops. The message we get from President Bush is a shrug and a sheepish grin: "This is all we can do - it's all that anyone can do," he seems to say. But, we know better. And he knows better: The airstrikes in Somalia prove that there are other means to the same end.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

President Bush's State of the Union Speech

Fellow blogger UWL keeps a running set of statistics on the deaths and casualties in Iraq. Although I consider UWL a friend, she will also agree with me when I say that she is radically liberal. However, there are times that our beliefs dovetail. Recently, UWL posted that there are now over 3,000 troops dead, and almost 23,000 that have been wounded (and we're not talking about anything minor). The total killed on 9/11 were 2,819. The military toll excedes it by far.

In Bush's State of the Union Speech last night, he said "The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And so long as that's the case, America is still a nation at war." I agree. I don't like the terrorists, and I'd be happy to see each and every one of them off the face of the earth before they kill one more innocent. They're like a pack of rabid wolves. However, that doesn't mean that we're going about this war in the right manner.

Bush continues to act as if his move to send troops overseas is a fait accompli, despite the fact that the majority of the American people are opposed to continuing the war (as it currently is being fought).

When did it become passe for a politician to actually represent the people? Bush continues to believe he is in a patriarchal position, instead: You hired me to do what's right, I know what's right for you, so sit down and shut up and let me do my job.

I never thought I'd be glad to see a Democratic Congress, but the majority of the American public is now hopeful that they will provide a counterbalance to Bush's megalomaniacal stance.

Incidentally, I listened to Michael Savage's interview of retired General Alexander Haig last night and it was fascinating. Haig pointed out that the troops we've sent out this time are only a tiny fraction of the troops we sent out during the Gulf War. If you recall, the Gulf War was quickly and easily won with a minimal loss of American lives. Haig implied that Bush's military strategists were horrific (which is an obvious assessment).

Why are we bothering to try to impose civilization and democracy on a country that is comfortable with neither? The moment that we withdraw, Iraq will return to it's primitive savagery. As Mark Twain once said, "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes time and annoys the pig." Besides, we have bigger fish to fry: North Korea, China, and Iran are the biggest threats we currently face. We are clubbing the small time thug, while the serial killers slip by.

President Bush also threw a sop to the Democrats, who love taxation almost as much as a fat kid loves cake. He proposed even more taxes; this time, he's going after our medical benefits. Actually, I have come to the conclusion (after years of decrying it) that socialized medicine may be America's best bet. And I'll grant that medical benefits are a part of salary packages and probably should be subject to taxation. It may drive us to re-consider socialized medicine, as well. But this kiss-ass move to try and throw the Democrats off the scent is patently obvious.

Bush also gave lip-service to beefing up border patrol and addressing the problem of illegal immigration, but his actions speak much louder than his words do. Bush called for a couple other things (such as a reduction in fuel dependency) but, as with his speech last year, we can expect that the vast majority of what he threw out will never come to pass.

Most pundits agree that his speech was low-key, bland, and middle of the road at best. It could hardly be otherwise. Bush is now facing a Democratic Congress, and he is about to become a Lame Duck President. It is a political death sentence, and a punishment from the American people. Bush could only have avoided it if he had turned into a world-class statesman at the 11th hour. But sadly, that was beyond his capacity.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sick Today

I've been struggling along, but I'm sick today and I simply don't feel good enough to write anything. Please check out our discussion of the Amber Alert in Sweet N' Saur.

Monday, January 22, 2007


There is a sci-fi author who gets his inspiration from the things that he surrounds himself with in his office. I have a close relative who is a famous author, and although he surrounds himself with interesting odds and ends, I've never known him to actually write about them.

But as I'm sitting here this morning, I must admit that I am exceedingly uninspired (which is rare for me). So as I was wrestling with different ideas, I looked above my computer monitor to see this Ecosphere which I got for Christmas. Now, this is just a picture of a generic Ecosphere. My particular one has less green algae but I'm too lazy to try to take the picture and post it, when this one will do just fine. We got it at Brookstone this year.

This is truthfully just a gimick. It's basically the adult version of Sea Monkeys. But the marvellous thing about it is that I have 4 tiny brine shrimp that live in there, and there's no way out or in to the Ecosphere: It's a perfectly balanced system where they get enough oxygen and food that they never need to be fed or taken care of. All they need is a little peace and quiet, and some space on a shelf so that they can stay at room temperature.

I can glance up during the day and watch the tiny shrimp spinning about their little home, harvesting food or just swimming about. They seem relatively content. I'm told that they will live for years like this.

Ahh, for the life of an encapsulated Ecospheric brine shrimp. They live in perfect comfort with no predators, no timeclocks, no irate bosses yelling at them about deadlines. And yet, it's a good thing that they have small minds. I'd go mad from it all.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Luxurious Washing Machine

Isn't it funny that no matter how old you get, the magic of weekends never goes away? I still can't wait to get up early on a Saturday morning, knowing that I have two full days before me to play.

No, I'm not one of those responsible adults that takes time to do laundry. With laundry, it's catch as catch can. When I have enough dirty clothes to go in the washing machine, I'll toss them in on my way by so that I am completely free when the weekend comes.

I wasn't always so lucky. Years of sitting in dirty laundromats filled with runny-nosed kids and their rude parents taught me the value of owning my own washer and dryer. Of all the "luxury items" in the world, the washer and dryer really top the list.

Think about how women did laundry in the past; dragging laundry to the nearest running stream or river and pounding it on rocks. Later, they rubbed it vigorously over washboards. Laundry was such an event that it could easily take up half the day. Now, I have to admit that there is a certain amount of health benefits from such rigorous exercise, but I'm more than happy to sweat it out in the gym if I have to.

So, I'm off to enjoy my day with SaurKid because my electronic slave, my beloved washing machine, has freed me up.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Kids Out of Control (KOOCs)

In an article titled 'Mean Girls' Trend Points to Deeper Problem, we are told that there is an alarming rise in violence among girls. In fact, sociologists are projecting that if this trend continues, there will be as many violent female criminals as there are male ones.

This particular article discusses the vicious beating that three girls gave a fourth girl in New York. Shockingly, they videotaped that beating, then displayed it on My Space. Sadly, they are only part of a bigger problem.

Some of this is societal. With the rise of Thug Stars such as Eminem and Lil' Kim, we are letting people into our homes and our lives that we would not usually allow in to clean our carpets! Our kids see such trash as acceptable role models, because we allow it.

I haven't addressed the subject of KOOCs in a while, but it has always been a passionate topic for me.

Here's the easy solution:

Yearly mandatory parenting classes for all parents. Sure, it would be an inconvenience for those of us that are dedicated, involved parents. But in the end, the inconvenience would be worth it if the classroom bully's parents suddenly realized what they were doing wrong. And it would give us all a baseline we can refer to when problems do occur.

Just imagine: The classroom bully (let's call him Hannibal) kicks little Tomeka and makes her cry. Tomeka's teacher or parents can call Hannibal's father and say "Hey, Hannibal Sr., do you remember when they told us that kicking is unacceptable?" And Hannibal's father can also do what he was trained to do: punish Hannibal for bad behavior. If Hannibal continues to behave badly, we move to...

Solution 2: Hold parents legally accountable for their children's behavior. How should we do this? We can always get into the details later. But my favorite idea is a monetary fine. There's nothing that creates more of an impression than money going out of your pocket.

Let's face it, folks. We've arrived at a time where bad kids and bad parents aren't going to get any better unless they're forced to. And right now, they've got a free ride.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wiretapping: Oops! Nevermind!

In the most refreshing case of "Oops! Nevermind!" that I've seen in years, the Bush administration suddenly decided to discontinue their illegal wiretaps.

In January of 2006, I wrote two articles: The Dangerous Encroachment Upon Our Liberties, and it's sequel, Things That Alarm Me. Both of them spelled out the intrinsic dangers that come from ignoring the laws and the U.S. Constitution, no matter how good the justifications are. At that time, I wrote:

"But when you boil it all down, the bones of the problem remain: if the President of the United States is allowed to wiretap anyone at any time as long as we're in a war situation, then it would behoove an unethical President to always be at war; even if it's with a small tribe in Africa. He would then be allowed to pursue his powers, unchecked.

For those of you who consider George Bush a saint, this may be no problem. But, say the next president who comes into power is diametrically opposed to you. For Republicans, let's say this bogeyman is Hillary Rodham Clinton or Ted Kennedy. For Democrats, he'll be Pat Robertson. Or let's take it a step further and say that in 20 years, the first Muslim fundamentalist is elected. ...Now how do you like giving the President free reign?"

There has been a federal challenge that began when a judge recently declared the wiretapping to be illegal. Now that the Bush administration has decided to stop the illegal wiretapping, some pundits surmise that the case will be "rendered moot" and the challenge will be dropped. However, it's not that easy. If the Bush Administration decides to drop the case, they will be tacitly admitting they were performing an illegal act. I guarantee that they will continue to argue their side.

We can be sure that President Bush has not truly changed his mind. Remember, he recently declared the right to open your mail. I hope that this is the very next un-Constitutional decree that our Congress addresses.

We have them on the run, now. Let's hope that they keep running.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Does the Bible Condone Slavery?

Due to an interesting discussion in yesterday's post, I thought I'd tackle a sticky question: Does the Bible condone slavery?

Many of you will be very surprised to hear that no, it does not.

The Bible was written during more savage times. At that time, it was written to people who lived in a very primitive system. And yet, the Bible actually demands that slave owners take good care of their slaves! In fact, many slaves were liberated every 7 years. Did you know that?

Many are shocked to learn that the slavery that was practiced in America actually went against Biblical instructions!

The Bible was written during a time when most or all cultures and nations owned slaves. It was common practice. Often these slaves were captured soldiers or people from a warring nation, and they were much better off pressed into slavery than executed. Thieves and criminals worked off what they owed. Some people (who wanted to pay off debts or be taken care of) willingly chose to go into slavery because slavery back then was not the slavery that was seen in America. Additionally, slavery was not a racial issue then. Slaves were usually the same color as their masters.

If a slave was lucky, they were enslaved to a devout Jew, who would treat them much better than someone from a different culture. Why? Because the devout Jew read and obeyed the Mosaic Law.

You may also be surprised to hear that under Biblical laws, any American slave traders would have been executed. Why? Because Exodus 21:16 says: “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.”

So let's break down what the Bible really says about slavery:

1. If a slave could run away, he was granted freedom. Anyone who didn't aid a runaway slave was also disobeying the Bible. Deuteronomy 23:15-16 says: "You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him."

2. A slave could not be abused. A slave could be punished by striking with a rod (Ex. 21:20-21), but if the punishment was excessive, the slave was to be given his freedom (Ex. 21:26-27; Lev. 24:17). Later on in the New Testament (in the time of Christianity), Paul tells his audience: “Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven."(Col. 4:1)

3. Slaves had certain rights. They were allowed a day off every week (on the Sabbath) and they had certain positions of authority, sometimes even over the master's family members! (See Prov. 17:2 and Gen. 24:2)

4. Hebrew slaves were set free after six years of servitude.
Granted, Pagan slaves were not given that same option, but they were usually acquired through different circumstances.
(See Ex. 21:2, Deut. 15:12-13)

5. When a slave was released, if he was married when he became a slave, his wife was to go with him. If he chose to marry and have children with another slave while he was enslaved, they remained behind. However, he did have the option to buy his wife and children. (See Ex. 21:3)

6. The Bible demanded that a slave be given gifts when he was finally released. (See Deut. 15:12-15)

7. With the advent of Christianity, the New Testament pronounced that "You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men." (I Cor. 7:23) At this point, Christians were being told that voluntary enslavement would no longer be sanctioned. But this passage in I Corinthians also deals with the reality of slavery, and how both masters and slaves should behave. Many people point to this passage as the first blow to slavery in the Christian world.

Incidentally, some people complain that female slaves were treated unequally, and point to Exodus 21:1-11. I must admit that it makes my skin crawl and I agree that they were. However, women were seen as "less than men" in most Mediterranean cultures at that time, and some scholars say that this passage is attempting to minimize the damage that could happen in such circumstances. I'm not sure, so I can't really weigh in with an opinion on this matter.

I am very happy that slavery does not exist in the civilized world any more. From a personal standpoint, I find it completely reprehensible. One of my best friends is a black woman who is descended from the union of Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings. What most people didn't know is that Sally was probably only about 12 when Jefferson started molesting her. Under Biblical guidelines, this never would have happened. Neither would the myriad other atrocities that were practiced during that wretched period of American slavery.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Heroes With Blemishes

Because yesterday was Martin Luther King Day, we saw many glowing references to MLK. But I always feel that we are less than honest with ourselves and our own expectations when we try to gloss over a hero's flaws.

As most of us know, MLK was hardly a perfect man. He cheated on his wife and he plagiarized speeches and papers. He's been accused of consorting with Communists, but those allegations were never substantiated by a valid source. However, we should remember that we honor MLK because he spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement in our country, and we owe a great deal to that man because he was able to unite whites and blacks together. Because of him, we have no more segregation.

But I return to my original observation and ask, why do we choose to pretend the flaws weren't there? Are we afraid it will dilute the message to the simple minded? Because the truth is that the ideas were bigger than the man. Whether it had come from Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa, the ideas were sound, the ideas were right, and the ideas rang with truth and justice.

When I did a little research this morning on MLK's flaws, I was very alarmed to see that most of the sites touting them were run by nut-bag white supremacist groups. Apparently they seem to think that destroying the man will destroy the message. Thankfully, we're bigger than that.

However, let's look at the other side of the coin. Why is it that we so superstitiously refuse to "speak ill of the dead"? Thousands of years ago, it was believed that if you spoke ill of the dead, they would come back to haunt you. This silly belief has evolved into a falsely pious attitude today that translates to "They're dead anyway, so what does it matter?"

This is the same belief that often keeps someone from stating baldly that Marilyn Monroe was a slut, Elvis died a drug addict, and Abraham Lincoln had mixed motives in declaring war against the South (it wasn't simply to emancipate the slaves).

But when we choose to scrape away the pancake makeup, we see the blemishes on our heroes and icons. Why is this important? It teaches us that we all have the potential to be heroes. It tells us that we don't have to be perfect to present a perfect message.

It also gives us object lessons for our children: Marilyn Monroe would have been a better person if she hadn't slept around. Elvis would have been a better person if he had avoided drugs. MLK would have been a better person if he hadn't plagiarized or cheated on his wife.

Only this way do we really know who we are, that it's OK to be human, but we should always strive to be better.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Moronic Radio Stunt Kills Woman

In the Land of Idiot Radio, it was only a matter of time before someone got severely hurt or killed. This weekend, a radio station in California succeeded in killing a mother of three, who was participating in a contest to try to win a Wii for her family.

Radio Station KDND 107.9 held a contest called "Hold Your Wee for Wii", in which unlucky contestants had to drink vast amounts of water and hold off peeing. The one who held out the longest won.

Jennifer Lea Strange was one of the participants. She died from water intoxication.

People have died from water intoxication before. And even if the uneducated promoters at KDND didn't know this, you would think they would have consulted with a doctor about any contest that involved bodily functions.

However, KDND is simply one of the unlucky ones when it comes to stupid radio pranks.

Local stations in the Tampa Bay Area are famous for similar situations. One local shock jock, "Bubba the Love Sponge", was well-known for being a completely hateful, misogynistic, prejudiced, vicious little monster who finally lost his job after castrating a boar without anesthesia while broadcasting to his live morning audience.

Another DJ used to be known for his morning stunts, although he thankfully seems to be growing out of that. Some of these stunts included getting a member of his staff dangerously intoxicated, having a legally blind groupie (with severe mental problems) drive into a wall, tasering a member of his staff, and other reckless stunts that could easily have ended in a loss of life and/or permanent loss of limb or other functions.

So, radio station KDND is merely another radio station run by a group of idiots who are always grasping for better ratings.

But I wonder... Did Jennifer Lea Strange win the Wii? And if she didn't, is KDND going to award her one posthumously as well as pay for her funeral and set up a college fund for her children? It's the least they can do. And hey~! Maybe it will help their ratings!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Taking Off This Weekend

I'm taking off this weekend to rest and relax. It's beautiful weather here in Florida, so I encourage any Floridians to take advantage of this weekend and make some memories. See you Monday!

Friday, January 12, 2007

David Beckham: Coming to America

I'm not a huge soccer fan, although I have friends who are. But I wonder how excited they will be to hear that David Beckham is getting a $250 million dollar contract to come to America.

Beckham very nobly says that it's certainly not the money that is enticing him to come here! Of course it isn't! Still, he and his entire family (including wife "Posh Spice" a.k.a. Victoria) are already packing for Los Angeles, CA.

Well, *I*, for one, am always saying that we don't have enough dysfunctional celebrities in the good ole' U.S.A. So what are a couple more?

But it remains an outrage that someone is paying a $250 million a year salary for a simple soccer player, when top scientists and college professors make only .0003% of that on average. Granted, those scientists and professors aren't nearly as glamorous, they're not pursued by the paparazzi, they're not having torrid affairs, and they can't be found in their underwear on billboards.

However, until we Americans get our priorities straight, we can blame no one but ourselves as the rest of the world makes improvements in their educational standards and our only rallying cry is "Do you want fries with that?"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bush's Latest Iraqi "Strategy"

Going against virtually all advisors, pundits, and Congress, President Bush has made the unpopular decision to launch even more troops into Iraq. If he fails, he will go down in history as a madman or (even worse) a fool. If he succeeds, he will be lauded as a military strategist (or simply lucky).

The problem for Bush is that there will be even more lives lost, and (at least initially) it is agreed that there will be a much higher percentage of deaths than before, due to a change in strategy. Bush has decided that he will seed Iraq with pockets of U.S. soldiers, in the hopes that this will quell the violence and chaos that always follows a U.S. victory.

In the past, the military has gone through a town, quelled the unrest, and moved on. At that point, everything settles back into the same chaos as before. Now, Bush hopes that when U.S. troops are left behind, there will be less of a chance at a relapse.

Well and good, you might say, but even if this works, it will be a temporary bandaid. These are not peaceful people. If we stay behind, it will only delay the inevitable at the cost of even more American lives.

So, who are we truly trying to save? More Iraqis? Or President Bush?

Only time will tell us for sure, but I think we already have our answer.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blah, Blah, Blah


It is interesting to see the Dems take control of Congress. None of us knows what lies ahead right now. The airwaves are filled with anticipation as pundits and reporters discuss the possibilities. I think this could be a very interesting year, indeed.

My Minor Surgery

I apologize for having so little to say these past couple of days, but I need to baby myself. It wasn't anything major, but (as with any surgery) I still need to take time to rest.

The Dogs

All three are happy and healthy. The puppy has settled right down and, although he's occasionally still skittish, runs with the pack and is having a ball!


Tomorrow I'll be back to my usual, controversial self.

Have a great day today!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Minor Surgery

I'm going in for minor surgery today. Please keep me in your prayers. Thanks!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Cool New Discoveries

During the long weekend that I took with SaurKid, he introduced me to a couple new things that are so fun and cool, I thought I'd share them with you. First, SaurKid is really getting into a new group called The Flashbulb:

And this weekend I learned of a game called Phetch. Phetch is a game that's fun to play, and you're actually contributing to the global community when you do it. It's a game that is helping a computer learn to be a better search engine so that it can serve the vision-impaired.

Random images are chosen for you, you describe the image as best as you can, and hopefully someone can guess it. The computer then uses your descriptions to compile a database describing that picture.

Try Phetch! It's addictive!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Government Claims the Right to Open Your Mail

As if the civil rights violations under the Patriot Act aren't good enough, it's being reported that "A statement attached to postal legislation by President Bush last month may have opened the way for the government to open mail without a warrant."

Oh good. We're one step closer to Ayn Rand's world of Anthem or George Orwell's 1984. I always fancied living in such a grey, homogenous world and I've often thought that the benefits of Goose-stepping were underrated. I hear it's great exercise! Pilates will be a thing of the past.

I hope that the government will at least do us the favor of publishing a Newspeak Directory, so that we won't run afoul of Big Brother.

In 1934, Ayn Rand wrote:

"Social gains," "social aims," "social objectives" have become the daily bromides of our language. The necessity of a social justification for all activities and all existence is now taken for granted. There is no proposal outrageous enough but what its author can get a respectful hearing and approbation if he claims that in some undefined way it is for "the common good."

Ayn Rand was once the Goddess of the Republican Party. She was revered and loved. I'm sure that George Bush has never heard of her.

Ayn Rand continued:

"Some might think -- though I don't -- that nine years ago there was some excuse for men not to see the direction in which the world was going. Today, the evidence is so blatant that no excuse can be claimed by anyone any longer. Those who refuse to see it now are neither blind nor innocent.

The greatest guilt today is that of people who accept collectivism by moral default; the people who seek protection from the necessity of taking a stand, by refusing to admit to themselves the nature of that which they are accepting; the people who support plans specifically designed to achieve serfdom, but hide behind the empty assertion that they are lovers of freedom, with no concrete meaning attached to the word; the people who believe that the content of ideas need not be examined, that principles need not be defined, and that facts can be eliminated by keeping one's eyes shut. They expect, when they find themselves in a world of bloody ruins and concentration camps, to escape moral responsibility by wailing: "But I didn't mean this!"

I urge every one of you to read more of Ayn Rand's observations in the forward to her book Anthem, which is available online at the link I've posted.

Then I urge you to write to your Congressmen and women, and to every other government official that you can think of. You might want to use email, because obviously the mail can be tampered with.

But... Email is next.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

What Not to Say On Your First Date

Today I found a silly little article listing what the author thinks shouldn't be said on a first date. She says: Don't talk about being an ex-felon, your romantic past, wanting to have kids, don't use a silly pet name on your date, don't mention your pets, and don't talk about sexual experiences.

First of all, I always believe in being up-front about who I am, and I definately want my date to be up-front also. If we're all so busy not talking about ourselves, then we're setting ourselves up for wasted time when we eventually do get around to discovering that we're not compatible.

For instance, I certainly would appreciate a man immediately telling me if he's an ex-felon or that he wears women's underwear. Sorry, soooo sorry... not compatible. Thanks for your time, have a nice life.

However, I want to hear about everything else! What if he loves cats and I'm deathly allergic to them? Much depends on if he has 1 cat or 20. This is something I'd like to know right away.

What if he's been married 3 times? I'd like to be clued in on that. Granted, we all "live and learn" and grow along the way, but someone who's been married 3 times may be a little slow on the uptake. If I'm dealing with the Relationally Challenged, I want to know.

And as for me, I have habits and issues that simply won't go away. I crack my knuckles, I leave dishes in the sink overnight, I've got allergies, and I'm very spontaneous. These things aren't going to change, and everyone had better know that up front.

I believe in being diplomatically honest on that first date, so that there are no unpleasant surprises on the third.

Incidentally, one of my best friends is Dr. Paul. We've known each other for years, and he is in agreement with me, I'm sure. Pop on over to his site to say hello. He has a new blog here. Tell him that I sent you, and weigh in on his latest relationship post. He'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pat Robertson: False Prophet

Like Jean Dixon, Pat Robertson just made his annual set of prophecies for the upcoming year. This year, he predicts that "God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would result in mass killing late in 2007."

I wouldn't worry too much if I were you. Hey, he might get it right this time (although I certainly hope that this is one of his wrong predictions). However, I'd say he gets it right maybe half of the time (at the most). Much of his "ability" stems from good research. I could make the same amount of predictions with the same results, because I stay on top of world events.

You might shrug and say, "So Pat's wrong. Who takes him all that seriously anyway? What's the big deal?" Too many people take him seriously, my friend.

If you remember, Pat ran for President of the United States in 1987, although lying about his military service damaged his chances beyond repair. At that time, he had a vast amount of support from many gullible people in the Religious Right. Some of those gullible people (and new converts) follow Pat because they aren't familiar with their own Bibles.

If you aren't a Christian and/or you're not familiar with the Bible, you may not realize that Pat can be judged by his own behavior and can be condemned through the Bible.

In the New Testament (in the Christian Bible, it's the second half of the Bible) Christians are warned repeatedly that not just one, or several, but many false prophets will arise*. Pat is just one of many.

Well, the next logical question would be "OK, then how do we spot a false prophet?"

In the Old Testament (the first half of the Christian Bible) we are told in Deuteronomy 18:21-22, "You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him."

In fact, back then, they stoned false prophets to death (which wasn't a pretty way to go).

I know a very famous false prophet, who is a very personable guy. I pray that he wakes up before it's too late. One night, recently, he told me that these verses don't apply to him (even though he admits his predictions aren't always correct) because he's a "New Testament Prophet" and is "under the law of grace" so he's allowed to make mistakes.

I'm sure this is the same excuse Pat would use. But although you "can't judge a book by it's cover", you can surely judge such a cover by The Book.

The problem is that Jesus himself said (in the New Testament) "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matt. 5:17). That means that unless Jesus specifically says "Don't worry about that anymore," we still need to worry about it.

These same false prophets who are pro death penalty or anti homosexuality (both are discussed in the Old Testament but not specifically touched upon in the New Testament) are the ones who want us to forget the Old Testament rules when it comes to them.

Sadly, there are many people that define the Christian faith by Pat Robertson. It would be difficult to find a worse spokesman.

* If you want to check it out yourself, you can look at Matthew 7:15, 2 Corinthians 11:4-15; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1 and Jude 3-16.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The IRS Mess

The last several days went by in a whirlwind. I'm up to my eyeballs in continuing paperwork due to the IRS.

I owned two businesses up until Fall of this year, and I had at least two employees who robbed me blind over that last year. Because I couldn't account for where the funds went (even though I never saw them or knew of them until the audit), the IRS has seen fit to tax me for the money that was stolen from me. That is a sizeable chunk of change that I simply don't have.

However, one of the employees is my ex-boyfriend, who was responsible enough to admit to the theft and take responsibility for that debt. I was very pleasantly surprised! I won't be forced to press charges, I won't hold him responsible for the money he stole, so all he owes are taxes.

I understand that the IRS has no idea who took the money, and all they want is their pound of flesh. However, to force someone to pay taxes on money that was stolen from them is equivalent to gang rape.