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Thursday, October 30, 2003

"Stiff Discipline After Schoolboys' Viagra Prank". I swear this is the headline of this story about a group of boys taking Viagra at school. The story also includes this immortal line: "The Sun newspaper quoted a source at the school as saying: "By the time the afternoon lessons began, there was no hiding what they had done."

Hehe...I don't think I can add anything to that.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I am totally intrigued by some of the spectacular images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Some of these pictures are absolutely breathtaking.

When I'm in one of my metaphysical moods, thinking about the enormity of space is mind boggling. To ponder the unfathomable size of the universe and the tiny part of it that we inhabit gives you a perspective that you don't often get slogging through everyday life.

Enough of being metaphysical..I think I'll just lean back and enjoy some of these pictures.

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Sunday, October 26, 2003

Congratulations to my little brother, Matt, who was married yesterday in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He married a lovely young lady named Stephanie who I've had the pleasure to meet a couple of times. He continues the family tradition of marrying above ourselves!

Eureka Springs is a gorgeous little town tucked up in the Ozark Mountains. It resembles a Swiss chalet and is full of quaint little shops, turn-of-the-century hotels, natural hot springs and an outstanding outdoor theater. Its a great place to get married.

Congratulations and best wishes to both of you.

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Rob Smith has a question for you....with visuals even!

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All I want for Christmas is......Well, I'm never sure what I want for Christmas. But if anyone cares, a few things have caught my fancy. Here are a few of them:

1. A Lite-On CD RW Drive. My current CD burner burns at 8x. This one will burn at up to 52x. Gotta love that.

2. One of these would be cool. I love playing with digital images and I'm sure I could find some good uses for it.

3. As long as I'm dreaming one of these notebooks would be great especially if you tossed in of these wireless access cards and a base station to go with it.

4. Its not all just tech stuff. One of these cool jackets would be nice to keep the Pacific Northwest rain away.

5. Ok, maybe it is all tech stuff! Microsofts new wireless keyboard with a leather finish and wireless mouse that scrolls sideways as well as up and down is just too cool.

6. It doesn't all have to be fancy or expensive. One of my basic needs is a new leather wallet to replace the one I've had for many years. This one looks pretty nice.

7. Heck, I've wanted one of these for quite a while. The idea of carrying 1000 songs in your pocket is very appealing!

8. A guy can never have enough good books. Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code", John Grisham's "Bleachers", David Baldacci's "Split Second", Walter Isaacson's "Ben Franklin: An American Life", and James Patterson's newest novel "Big Bad Wolf" all look like crackling good reads to me.

9. Say what you will but I love these Dallas Cowboys shades.

10. This Led Zeppelin DVD would be fun to watch and listen to.

Toss me these things and a sparkling new Harley Davidson to ride around on and I'll be all set!

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I don't think I'd want to live here either! Definitely not a Christmas card kind of address is it? :)

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Friday, October 24, 2003

This article deals with the particularly vexing problem of school bullying.

"Four and a half years after Columbine, there is an elephant in the schoolroom—or rather, a bully and, an even more unnerving presence these days, a bullee brooding on the bully's taunts. Educational experts and administrators are focused as never before on what now goes by the name of "relational aggression," the term for behavior that extends to subtleties of social invidiousness well beyond spitballs. Bullying is invoked as the cause of everything from school shootings to youth suicide to adult depression and violent crime—or if not the cause, then a strong correlate. Concern about the "culture of cruelty" in childhood has inspired antibullying legislation in 13 states and a surge in bully-proofing consultants peddling their services to elementary and middle schools."

Lets not kid ourselves. Legislation won't stop kids from picking on other kids. I've worked in schools for almost twenty years now and I can tell you that this is a problem that isn't going away anytime soon. The Columbine case and other school shootings brought it to public attention but I doubt that its a lot worse than it was when I was in school or even before that.

Studies show that bullies and those who are bullied suffer from low self esteem. Bullies hurt others to make themselves feel good. They are particularly adept at finding suitable targets. Its like a radar. I've seen new kids at school get picked on before lunch. It has little to do with size, race, or how many pimples they have. The bullies just know that this person is "weak".

I was never picked on much by kids my own age. But I can remember being a 7th grader in my first year of junior high school and enduring the petty insults and occasional push or shove from the ever-so-imposing 8th or 9th grader. I suspect this is an experience shared by many. In my case it didn't cause any permanent damage and for most kids it won't. Many children learn survival skills and can adapt to their environment.

None of this means we should put up with bullying. When I was an administrator I suspended many a student for this kind of behavior. Sometimes it just makes my blood boil to think about it. I've seen teenagers sobbing and I've seen kids leave a school never to return.

The anti-bullying curriculum is good as far as it goes. But like many things we teach our kids it largely fades from memory when they step out into that school hallway. Students must know that when bullying becomes unbearable they have someone to turn to. You can't legislate immaturity and cruelty out of existence. But you can damn well make sure that students know that there is a price to be paid when you continually violate the rights of others to have a safe place to go to school.


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Thursday, October 23, 2003

There are some things that happen that just defy a response. You try and think of something witty, funny, sad, or intelligent to say but nothing comes out. Wait a minute...I've got something....this is pathetic.

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I listened to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" several times in the last couple of days. There a few entire albums I like as much as I do this one. This is Pink Floyd at its finest! Lush guitars, a psychedelic feel, and the "feel good" rock of the 70's puts me in a good mood.

I especially enjoy "Speak to Me/Breathe" which is the cd's first track. It starts out with so softly that I have to crank up my car stereo to hear anything. Then it builds to a crescendo layering on new sounds and textures you can almost feel. The acoustic guitar solos are fantastic.

Then of course there's the "must sing along" "Money", an eerie instrumental "Great Gig in the Sky", and the cd-ending ultra climactic"Eclipse".

Its a fantastic CD and in my opinion their best work. "The Wall" rocks but it can't touch the Moon! It ranks as one of the top 10 rock albums of all time. Its sold 35 million copies and I can understand why.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2003

This morning I was driving to work and for some reason found myself thinking about my grandfather. "Grampy" has been dead for about 15 years now but I still think about him from time to time. For most of my childhood it was a rare week that I didn't see him at least once. He lived just across town and often dropped by our house to bring something by or just to check up on us. I still miss him! What do I miss? Well.....

1. I miss how he called me "Briney". He would often
greet me with, "Well there's ole Briney"!
2. I miss the trips out to his farm with the inevitable
stop at the old country store for a soda and candy
bar.
3. I miss playing "Yahoo" with him and Granny.
4. I miss the mischievous glint in his eye as he teased or
devised yet another practical joke.
5. I miss going fishing with him. We used to go fishing
for catfish and using that god-awful stinkbait.
6. I miss his stories about growing up in a big family,
traveling the country looking for work, and all the
happenings at American Airlines where he worked for
many years.
7. I miss his ability to read my mind and sense when
something was wrong or something was bothering
me. He always seemed to know how to fix it.
8. I miss watching him work. He was a handyman of
sorts and I often worked beside him learning a lot as
I went. He could sure cuss a blue streak when he hit
his finger with a hammer.
9. I miss his advice. He was always full of tidbits about
life, and as I get older they seem even more relevant
now.
10. I miss watching him around other people. He always
seemed to be everyone's best friend wherever we
went.
11. I miss the way he stood up for me. I once bought a
used washer and dryer from someone he
recommended to me. When the washer broke down
the guy refused to honor his 60 day warranty. I can
still remember calling Grampy and hearing his
breathing as he got madder and madder. He hung
up, called back, and the next day I got a new
washer.
12. I miss him slipping me 20 dollar bills when no one
was looking. When I headed off to college he
slid $100 into my coat pocket and told me he was
proud of me.

Thanks for the memories Grampy. I love you.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2003

In quickly passed legislation the Florida legislature gave Gov. Jeb Bush the right to order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted. I'm glad to see it. I suspect her husband's motivations and just cannot see starving and dehydrating this woman. Its inhuman..its indecent....its unnecessary. Let those who really love her take care of her.

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This little politics quiz is kinda fun take. It gives you a series of questions on economics and social issues. You can range from -10 to 10 on each of the axis'. My score?
On Economics I was at -1.0, just barely left of center. This doesn't surprise me. I've always considered myself a moderate on economic issues. A few different questions and I might be slightly to the right of the scale. On social issues I was a -0.62, barely leaning to the libertarian as opposed to the authoritarian vew of things. I actually thought I'd be a little more libertarian than that. I'll have to go back and read the questions.

I've taken quite a few of these type of quizzes. Those of us who don't fit into the neat modes of "conservative" or "liberal" are often befuddled by the "either or" nature of our system.

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I'm currently involved as part of the negotiation team for the teachers in my district. We've been negotiating with the administration since this summer and as far as I can tell we are barely an inch ahead of where were the first day. The admin side tosses up their hands and say "we have no money". Our side says "you must have money". We float ideas. They want us to bring a proposal in. We want them to. I'm beginning to think negotiation is a synonym for quagmire. We're stuck in a rut we can't seem to break out of. The district has a chunk of money it could spend if they wanted. We want them to spend it on us. They're not sure they want to. Gee whiz...that was a wasted 2 1/2 hours.

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Monday, October 20, 2003

My lovely and enchanting wife is currently suffering from a bad bout of PMS. I've always found it interesting that the house is always the messiest at the same time PMS hits. I came across this PMS quiz and took it. I only scored 60%. But hey...I'm a guy!

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Sunday, October 19, 2003

I entered a contest to win a Gibson guitar, a bass set, amps, and a drum. Now what the hell am I going to do if I actually win? :)

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A couple of nights ago I finished reading Steve Martini's "The Arraignment". I have read several of Martini's previous books including "The Attorney" and "The Jury". I wouldn't keep coming back if I didn't enjoy his work.

One of the things I like about Martini is the way he develops characters. Attorney Paul Madriani and his partner Harry are recurring characters and Martini does a good job of keeping them fresh from book to book. Harry is a crusty "old school" attorney who never met a billable hour he didn't like. Paul is a nice guy with a strong curious streak who can't seem to stop taking cases that don't net anything for the firm.

In "The Arraignment" Paul's friend and fellow attorney Nick Rush is gunned down along with his client in front of the courthouse. The client, Gerald Metz, is someone that Nick asked Paul to represent in a money laundering investigation earlier. Paul had declined, Nick represented Gerald himself, and now Nick is dead. The only mourning his wife is doing is over the fact that Nick's life insurance policy has his ex-wife as the beneficiary.

Paul's curiousity and his desire to get to the bottom of his friend's death leads him on a twisted course involving the seductive wife, Nick's boss at a toney downtown law firm, Mexican drug smugglers, and Mayan pyramids. Martini keeps you wanting to turn the pages as the plot keeps you turning like an amusement park roller coaster. In the end, after dodging gunmen of various stripes, Paul gets to the bottom of the mystery.

As usual, Martini doesn't disapoint. His books always give you a mini legal seminar and give an excellent glimpse into the minds of attorneys, prosecutors, and judges. He also displays a knack for realistic portrayals of underworld characters and pin-striped criminals. Martini is John Grisham without the southern accent.

On the negative side, one thing that I noticed is that the book's title and cover don't match the content of the story very well. Probably 80% of the book has little to do with courts and trials. Its more of a detective story than a courtroom thriller. I actually can't remember any courtroom scenes in the entire book. The ending was a little predictable even though the motivations were not.

This is the kind of book I'll probably package up with some others and send to my dad for his enjoyment. He and I tend to have similiar tastes and I'm sure he'd enjoy this one if he hasn't already read it.

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One of the promises I made to myself about doing this blog is that I would try and review every book I read. Often I read a book and then either give it away or toss it in a cardboard box that ends up in a closet, attic, or unused room. I love to read and have ever since I can remember. I really credit my dad for this. I can remember being a little boy and seeing my dad use reading as a form of recreation. He would sit there in the evenings with legal pads doing work. Then at some point he would pull out whatever book he was reading at the time, lean back in his recliner, and read.

I just finished a pretty good book and I'll review it in my next post.

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We went out to see my inlaws tonight. They head to Arizona this time of year and return in May. They get the best of both worlds! They loaded us down with all the food they didn't want to take with them or throw away. So right now we have a rather substantial collection of assorted food items in our kitchen. Tons of crackers, more bread than we can eat, some frozen meat, chips, fresh fruits, and vegetables, and zillions of tortillas.

I really enjoy my in-laws. I know for many married people that isn't the case. They weren't crazy about me marrying their daughter but I can understand that given the circumstances. But since I've met them they have treated me (and my children) very well. They are gracious and giving of their time. Furthermore, they loaned us a substantial amount of money as a down payment on this house!

Good luck to both of them and I hope they enjoy Arizona's warm rays while I shiver in the rainy Pacific Northwest winter.

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Friday, October 17, 2003

My daughter is so excited about getting to cheerlead in the pre-game show of a high school football game tomorrow night. She is nervous but almost giddy with excitement. I suppose because of all my years working in schools I've never had a high opinion of the whole cheerleading thing. It seems to often bring out the worst in kids and their parents. Cheerleader moms have to be the worst! Backstabbing, complaining, and never happy. But so many girls want to do it and now my daughter is one of them! I'd rather see her play basketball but what can you do?

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Thursday, October 16, 2003

I feel sorry for this poor guy. But who of us in his place wouldn't have done the exact same thing?

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Wednesday, October 15, 2003

This site touched me. I've read off and on about the case of Terri Schiavo in Florida. She is brain damaged but stable and her parents claim she responds to them. Her husband claims that her wishes were to be allowed to die if she were ever in this situation. I can certainly understand that sentiment. I support the right to have a Living Will and would not myself want to live in a state where I was just a vegetable.

But there are things that trouble me here. Her husband won a lot of money in a lawsuit that was intended to be for her care. Instead he spends it on legal bills so that she can be starved to death. If there is any doubt....let her live. The bastard.

Another article on Terri can be found here.

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Kobe Bryant's attorneys claim that they have compelling evidence of his innocence. Much of this is based on forensic evidence coming from the young lady's panties. Should her recent sexual activity matter? Generally speaking the answer should be no. It is entirely possible that a woman can have consensual sex with many men and yet choose to say no to one. The fact that she is promiscuous doesn't mean than anyone can rape her.

But to me this does give some credibility to the idea that she engaged in consensual sex with Kobe. Its obvious that she's not averse to having sex and evidence of multiple partners reflects on that. Maybe she did it and felt guilty or she saw an opportunity to make money.

Under cross examination the detective that took her statement indicated that she said that she never told Kobe no and that when she motioned for him to stop he did. If this is true....where's the rape?

As I've said before I want to hear the rest of the evidence. But I remain skeptical that Kobe is really guilty of rape.

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Interesting article here about Japanese World War II survivors. Some of them lived on isolated islands for many years, living off the land, and unaware that war was over. Many believed that tales of Japanese surrender were enemy propaganda. Interesting, sad, and yet fascinating.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

An excellent set of articles and pictures about Bob Dylan can be found in Rolling Stone magazine's website. Dylan wrote some of rock-n-roll's great lyrics. Indeed he was like a poet with an electric amp. His grating, raspy voice was never a favorite of mine but Dylan is what so many of today's pop stars will never be - a musician.

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ESPN's David Fleming says that today's NFL players just can't tackle. Among other things he says that this "opens the game up for guys like this generation's defensive idol, Deion Sanders, who will one day become the first defender to enter the NFL Hall of Fame without ever actually tackling someone.". He may just be right. How many times have you seen a multimillionaire linebacker flat out whiff on a tackle? As in any sport the fundamentals are important. I've noticed the dearth of pure shooters in the NBA. Everyone can dunk but how many players can consistently hit a 20 foot jump shot?

This goes back to junior high school. Everyone wants to be Michael Jordan or Marshall Faulk. But how many realize the thousands of hours of work these players put in to master their respective sports? Michael Jordan is a lot more than a slam dunker. Marshall Faulk does more than juke and duck.

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You really can't make this kind of stuff up. At its first ever human rights conference in Saudi Arabia the police arrest 50 protesters and fire warning shots into the air.

I recently read where Saudi Arabia is allowing local councils to be elected by popular vote in the next few months. Reading things like this article doesn't make me very hopeful that any meaningful reform will happen there. Saudi Arabia is the mother's milk of international terrorism. They are just like that person you knew in high school who would smile to your face and stick a knife in your back. I'm utterly disgusted with them.

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Monday, October 13, 2003

I've often wondered if I sometimes suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I really enjoy living in Washington but the winter months can be such a downer. Sometimes I go weeks without seeing any sunshine and day after day of drizzly rain. It seems like I have to fight hard to keep in a good mood during those winter months. People here live for those few glorious months in the summer when it is so beautiful. But the winter...ugh! This never bothered me growing up in Oklahoma where we had a semi-regular winter (cold temperatures, snow and ice) For some reason it seems to affect me here. I'm girding myself for the battle now!

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I had a nice surprise this morning. I got up later than I should and was rushing around heading off to work. When I got into my car I found this along with some goodies! A very sweet thing to do. Thanks!

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Sunday, October 12, 2003

Gratitude 

There is a thing called gratitude. I don't exhibit nearly enough of this important quality myself at many times. On this rainy Sunday afternoon I'd like to partially remedy that.

My wife Lee is a lovely woman. She has managed to put up with me for almost six years now (believe me..that deserves a reward in itself). She has been there when no one else has and has given of herself freely to improve my life. This weblog probably doesn't have enough server space for me to list all the things I appreciate about her but I'm going to list a few (in no particular order) :

1. Breakfast on weekend mornings...she knows what I like!
2. The mother she has been to my children. She has given them stability and love that they desperately need. She has shepherded them to medical appointments, nursed them when they are sick, held their hands when they are upset, gone to meetings at school, taken them to cheerleading practice, bought their clothes, and given them hugs when they need them. She is their mom in every sense of the word.
3. She makes me laugh! She has a racy, active sense of humor and its a rare day indeed that she doesn't make me laugh at least once. Laughter is the lubrication of the human soul and she keeps me well lubed.
4. She keeps things in perspective. When I am feeling particularly bad about something she has a way of framing it that makes things seem not nearly as bad as I thought. A moody guy like me really needs this sometimes
5. There is simply no one who is more fun to take to a party or social event than Lee. She lights up a room and I am lucky enough to bask in her light sometimes.
6. The way she shows care and concern for others touches me deeply. Her job requires her to help people with life's practical problems. She does so above and beyond the call of duty. Its not everyone that is married to someone they admire. I am.
7. I love the way she says, "hi baby" and kisses me when she comes home from work.
8. I am perhaps the world's pickiest eater. She doesn't complain about this at all. She either prepares something I like to eat or allows me to get something on my own.
9. She takes a genuine interest in my work, my thoughts, and my ideas.
10. She grabs me and gives me hug or a kiss for no apparent reason.
11. She is equally comfortable in a formal dress, a pair of jeans or just wearing sweats around the house.
12. She likes football and doesn't mind me watching it.
13. She smiles.....a lot!
14. She makes the bed every day.
15. She has let me parent her son. He's a great kid! I'm getting to teach him how to drive.


I could go on and on..and on and on...

This is not to say that she is perfect. But wouldn't you live with the occasional bitchiness moment if you could have what I've listed above (and that list is very incomplete)?

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Saturday, October 11, 2003

After reading this article I am reminded about why I've always admired Vaclav Havel.

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The latest entry in the "what will they think of next" sweepstakes is smart underwear. Geez.

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I'm glad I don't live in one of these little villages. As my wife often says, "that just wouldn't look good on a Christmas card.

A group of French villages with mirth-producing names such as Filthy Pig and My Bottom have formed a league of the absurd . . . The first meeting of "Villages of lyric or burlesque names" took place over the weekend in a hamlet outside the southern city of Toulouse entitled Mingocebos, which means Eat Onions in the old southern language of Occitan.
"When you go to a reception and you say you are the mayor of Bordeaux nothing happens. When you say you are the mayor of Cucugnan people laugh," said Denis Descube, a municipal official in Cucugnan, whose name evokes twice over the French for Arse.
Other villages taking part were Beaufou (Beautiful Mad), Saligos (Filthy Pig) and Cocumont (Cuckold Hill). Trecon (Very Stupid) and Montcuq (My Arse) stayed away.

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I just got back from taking my kids to see "School of Rock" starring Jack Black. Black was just hilarious in this flick!

It reminded me a bit of "Teachers" (with Nick Nolte). A substitute teacher with no idea what they are doing comes into the classroom, does fun and creative stuff, and the kids buy into it. Dead Poets Society also has this theme.

Whatever the formula, "School of Rock" is just plain fun. Dewey Finn (played by Black) is on the edge of being evicted by his ex-rocker roomate at the urging of his ever-so-righteous girlfriend. To make some quick cash Dewey impersonates his roomie in a substitute teaching gig. After a couple of days of giving the kids "all day recess" he's struck by inspiration. Since he's been kicked out of his current band he'll use the kids and form a new one. He'll then compete in the "Battle of the Bands" and show up his old cronies once and for all.

He takes the kids (whose parents are paying 15k a year in tuition), identifies their talents, and forms a band. They spend their days studying rock-n-roll theory, rock history, and jamming all afternoon. They learn that rock-n-roll is all about rebellion against "the man". The students become inspired and begin writing songs and adopting "rock" personas avoiding the scrutiny of their parents and the prissy, uptight principal of the school.

But alas Dewey is "outted" by his roomie's girlfriend and everyone is outraged. But the kids are determined and hijack a school bus to the big contest. A triumphant performance convinces all that Dewey isn't such a bad guy after all.

Jack Black puts in a manic performance as Dewey Finn. For some good laughs and rock beats this movie is worth seeing.

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A good day for my home state. Oklahoma State surprised Kansas State 38-34 and the Sooners put a severe hurt on Texas, thumping them 65-13. Oklahoma looks in good shape to make a run for the national title. Of course those pesky O-State Cowboys have beaten them two years in a row. Since their opening loss against Nebraska the Cowboys have looked great. Should be another great bedlam game!

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First he intimated that the U.S. might have "deserved" what happened on Sept. 11th. Now this. Pat Robertson has a long habit of putting his foot in his mouth. For a guy who is supposed to be a Christian and a leader he has a rather cavalier attitiude toward violence. I don't agree with everything Colin Powell says or does. But he's twice the man Pat Robertson can ever hope to be. He's served his country with distinction and honor. What has Pat done other than bilk little old ladies out of their Social Security money on the "700 Club"? Go find a humble country church to preach in Pat. Work in a food bank. Tutor some schoolkids. Use your wealth to help others. Then come talk to me about the State Department and Colin Powell.

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Did Kobe do it? This isn't the OJ trial but its going to be quite a story. Here you have perhaps the best basketball player in the world; a man of wealth, glamor, and charm. Then you have the young girl who worked at the resort in Colorado. Who to believe?

There is part of the story they both agree on. There was flirting between the two of them as she was showing him around the resort. According to her police statement there was "mutual kissing" and some touching. At this point, apparently, their stories diverge.

She tells the police that he grabbed her from behind by her neck and forcibly had sex with her. Kobe is not denying the sex but claims consensuality.

Many people I talk to believe that she is just a "gold digger", a publicity hound, or just feeling guilty. She found herself alone with a handsome, famous, athlete and by her own acknowledgement flirted, kissed, and touched him. Does she just want money out of this? Planning a civil suit if he is convicted (or even if he's not....the proof standard for a civil suit is much lower). Does she see a chance for a big payday?

Then again, what if she's telling the truth? Is there something inside Kobe that could compel him to do something like this? He attracts women like a dog attracts fleas. But we've always heard that rape is not about sex. Its about power and control. Perhaps he thinks no one will believe her and that makes him safe?

I admit to being skeptical of her story. But I have and open mind and will wait to hear more. After all, thats why we have courts in this country.

Update: Kobe's defense team claims to have evidence of other sexual partners including one shortly before the alleged rape.

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Just when you think you've heard it all you read something like this:

Jonathon Keats, a 32-year-old conceptual artist and novelist, has announced plans to auction off futures contracts on 6 billion neurons in his brain, which he copyrighted this spring.

At the IPO party at the Modernism gallery Oct. 23, an option to acquire a million neurons upon Keats' death will cost only $10. If Keats is able to sell off the rights to all 6 billion, he would raise $60,000.
Keats said half of that will go to the gallery and the other half will be used to keep his brain fed so he can come up with new ideas in order to increase the worth of his brain.


I'd wonder why I didn't think of this. But then again I don't think my neurons are working well enough to come up with such a creative idea. There goes the auction. Damn! I did so want a new hot tub.

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Time for the Red River showdown! The OU-Texas game is today. Its one of those things I have always wanted to attend but never had the chance to go. My brother Kerry has been a few times and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the crowd cheering on the Sooners. Maybe thats why I got an automated email replay from him yesterday!

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According to a this article, "Around 16 percent of adult Americans have at least one tattoo, believing the body art makes them feel sexier, more rebellious and even, in some cases, more intelligent, according to a poll published." To further explain the reasoning behind this phenomenon the Harris Poll explains, "Among those with tattoos, 34 percent said they felt sexier, especially women, while 29 percent professed to feeling more rebellious.
Five percent even claimed that tattoos made them feel more intelligent or, in three percent of cases, more athletic."


No tattoos here and have no plans to get one. I have seen many that are quite attractive. More and more women are decorating their bodies with tattoos and the results range from very cool to downright tacky.

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I'm glad my students haven't been angry enough with me to resort to something like this.

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I made a trip today to IKEA in Seattle to get the proper brackets for shelves I bought months ago. They've been sitting in my closet forever and now they're finally on the wall! I also treated myself and family to Krispy Kreme donuts on the way home. Yum!

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Friday, October 10, 2003

Rush Limbaugh admits that he is addicted to prescription pain medication. In his public statement he said, "I am not making any excuses. You know, over the years athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons.
They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model. I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when there are people you never hear about, who face long odds and never resort to such escapes.
They are the role models. I am no victim and do not portray myself as such. I take full responsibility for my problem. "


Good luck Rush. Taking responsibility is the first step toward recovery. Anyone still doubt that money can't buy happiness?

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Sex is good for you! Don't just take my word for it. Its...scientific!

According to this article in Forbe's Magazine, "Having regular and enthusiastic sex, by contrast, confers a host of measurable physiological advantages, be you male or female. "

Hey..who am I to argue with modern science? :)

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Thursday, October 09, 2003

First Roy and the white tiger in Vegas and now this. It sounds like this well meaning guy took being close to the bears a little too far. They, like the tigers, are wild animals. They might kill you. It pays to be cautious.

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"The doctor brought Boo Boo to me wrapped in a towel and I held him while she administered the final drugs. Cynics may scoff, but I noticed a striking difference when he was gone. His eyes, which had been watery blue with distress and pain, had returned to the cerulean brilliance of his youth. Perhaps, wherever he was now, he was seeing a bird or a mouse or a toy-some prey that he could once again chase. That’s what I choose to believe anyway." So writes Mark Miller in this Newsweek article. Many of us have had to face this moment in our lives. A pet that has been so much a part of our lives faces the end. For many people their pets are like children. I can remember losing several pets and each one was special in his/her own way. Very sad...very human.

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David Brooks offers some advice to those Democrats running for president. Its not bad advice either!

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Overlooked in all the California recall extravaganza was the fact that Louisiana is also electing a new governor. The two finalists are a 32 year old Indian-American and the female lieutenant governor. Should be an interesting race down there.

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If you're a trekkie like I am this is a cool site to check out.

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I don't know why but I always like reading stories about dumb criminals. These two guys take the cake! Better go back to school boys... a life of crime is not for you.

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Ever think about having plastic surgery done? A boob lift? A little tummy tuck? Straighten that crooked nose? It might be good to check this out before you make your decision.

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This movie sounds pretty good. Might have to go check it out!

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In this column ESPN's David Fleming says, "Stop Emmitt Stop". He thinks its time for Emmitt Smith to hang it up. Sadly, I must agree. Emmitt is one of my all time favorite players in any sport. He is a warrior who has gotten every ounce out of his talent. He's a giant! I hated to see him leave Dallas and go to a talent-free Cardinals team where he's getting the hell beat out of him every week. Go home Emmitt. Savor your record. Wait for that phone call from the Hall of Fame.

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I religiously read every column that Thomas Friedman writes. Friedman is probably the pre-eminent American observer of the Middle East scene and I agree with him way more often than not. In this column he states," First, let me state my own bias: Iraq is the whole ballgame. If we can produce a reasonably decent, constitutionally grounded Iraqi government, good things will happen all around the Middle East. If Iraq turns into a quagmire, it will be a disaster for U.S. interests all around the world. So, for me, everything should be focused on getting Iraq on the right path."
To make things work in Iraq Friedman believes that the U.S. may need to work with some of the bad actors in that part of the world: Arafat, Syria's Assad, the fanatical leadership of Iran. He puts it this way:
"Trying to remake Iraq is hard enough — trying to do it with the opposition of all the neighbors would be even harder. And most important, a liberalized Iraq would be the greatest long-term force for change in Iran and Syria. I don't see what we have to lose by trying, but I sure know what we have to win."

Friedman is right about one thing. Iraq is the whole ballgame. An American failure to create a functioning, liberalizing government in Iraq would be a catastrophic failure. It would damage our reputation in the Middle East and the rest of the world. It would endanger our allies and have deadly consequences for Israel.

Can we work with Arafat? Assad? I'm not sure. Both of these guys have a long record of support for terrorism and have shown no signs of ending that support. How can you fight a war against terror and play footsie with they guys who are leaders of the other side?

Of course we are doing exactly that with Saudi Arabia. Its no secret that the Wahabi fundamentalists of Riyadh have supported a branch of Islam that is hostile to the West. Out of the ferment of Saudi fundamentalism Al Queda was born. The Saudi government has rewarded the families of suicide bombers and put up roadblocks into American investigations. But out of economic and geopolitical interests we tend to play this down.

So.....should we let Arafat and Assad, "out on parole"? I'm not sure I have a good answer. I see where Friedman is coming from. Sometimes you have to deal with the world as it is and not as you wish it to be. Friedman believes that Iraqi democracy will ultimately be the biggest threat to the "axis of evil" and the corrupt and venal Arafat. It seems to be a dangerous game to play. But it might be the only game in town.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Another old teaching colleague of mine makes some absolutely fantastic pickles. He did it so well that he left teaching to do it full time. Good luck Mick!

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I have worked for four different school districts during my illustrious (ahem) career. I still like to keep up with whats going on in all of them. I keep my eyes open for happenings at Checotah (Oklahoma) , Sapulpa (Oklahoma), and Picayune (Mississippi). Speaking of Picayune, congrats to my old teaching colleague Kent Kirkland for being named Coach of the Year and his induction to the Mississippi Coaches Association Hall of Fame. I have been lucky enough to work in great schools with great people.

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Want to know how all 135 of the candidates for governor of California did? You can find out here.

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You can view the movie trailers for the upcoming release of "The Alamo" here. The story is a fantastic movie subject. Can this movie be as good as the earlier one starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett? Thats hard to imagine.

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Gotta love those French. Of all the Americans the city of Paris could've chosen who did they pick? An unrepentant death row murderer. Remind me again about how civilized France is.

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I haven't got to see LeBron James play yet. From every thing I've read about the kid he has it all....incredible athletic ability, great court sense, skills way beyond his years, charisma, and a good attitude. From all accounts he's the kind of player that comes along once in a generation. Its mind boggling to think of him playing against the world's best players just a few short months after competing against high school kids. Will it all go to his head? If he can keep his head on straight we'll all be mentioning him in the same sentence as Bird, Jordan, Magic, Chamberlain, and Russell.

LeBron played in his first real exhibition game and it sounds like he did alright. My advice for the kid (hey, if I can give Arnold advice I can certainly give it to an 18 year old wunderkind, right? :)):

1. Find a well respected, ethical business manager to manage your financial affairs. Basketball won't last forever and the human body is frail. You've worked hard and been given a great gift. Don't blow your money.

2. Take care of your family financially but beware of hangers-on and newfound "friends"

3. Stay home and avoid the nightlife. You're too damned young to be running all over town. Ask Ray Lewis about the bad things that can happen when you're a hotshot athlete in the wrong place at the wrong time.

4. Listen to your coach. Paul Silas got as much out of his ability of any player I've ever seen. On top of that he just oozes character.

5. Forget about the hype, the publicity, and the shoe contracts. Play the game for yourself, your teammates and the fans. Remember that you're just one part (albeit a very talented part) of a team.

6. Have fun! You're getting paid a fortune to play a kid's game. Relish and savor every minute of it.

Good luck kid.

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Michael Kinsley hates George W. Bush. No surprise there. The level of antipathy by the left toward President Bush is extremely high. They don't like his policies, they don't like his personality, and they don't like how effective he has been in translating his ideology into policy. The problem with hatred is that it blinds you. The great middle in this country does not share their visceral hatred anymore than they shared the beliefs of the Clinton-hating conservatives. The conservatives overreached with Clinton and got their heads handed to them. Will the liberals suffer the same fate? Stay tuned.

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I must be getting old. I'm not familiar with any of the top 10 songs on Billboard's Top 50. Looking at the entire top 50 it looks almost entirely comprised of rap, some soft pop, and country songs. What's this world coming to?

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Fascinating article here about gay life in Wyoming...of all places! I'll have to ask my friend Marlane about it.

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Uber blogger Mickey Kaus voted for Arnie. Read his explanation.

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Its too bad I like to shop. This sounds like fun!

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Thank God. I hate telemarketers. They call at the worst possible times. They keep calling after you tell them you're not interested. They keep talking after you tell them you're not interested. I feel sorry for the people doing what must be a miserable job. But allowing me to put me name on a list so that they will leave me alone seems eminently sensible. Don't call me....I'll call you :)

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The Beatles are releasing a new album! "Let It Be - Naked" is due to be released next month. According to CNN the new release, "It strips away the orchestration and lavish production work of "Wall of Sound" producer Phil Spector, which had been criticized, not least by Sir Paul McCartney. " I suspect it will sell big. More than thirty years after the Beatles broke up, with two of them now dead, there is still a strong demand for their material. Their greatest hits album "1" shot all the way to the top of the charts a few years ago. They remain the best rock-n-roll band in history and I suspect they always will.

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As the whole universe knows by now Gray Davis was recalled and Arnold was elected governor of California in tonight's election. A few observations:

1) Davis was uncharacteristically gracious in his concession speech. He pledged to work on a peaceful transition and to offer his help to the incoming administration. For a politician who has often used dirty tactics and misleading ads in his previous campaigns this was something of a surprise to me. If he would've had that kind of style throughout his career this recall might never have happened in the first place.

2) Bustamante's Prop 54 defeat celebration followed by an hour of silence and then a concession was a little strange. It was obviously over by that point and he conceded after Davis did. It's like one last bid of oddity to a campaign that was oddball the whole way through.

3) McClintock's succession was short, gracious, and to the point. We haven't heard the last from him.

4) The voter anger toward Davis was almost unprecedented. Almost 3/4 Californians disapproved of the job he was doing. Some of that 3/4 voted against the recall on principle or this would have REALLY been a landslide.

5) The TV media did a lousy job of concealing their knowledge of what was in their exit polls. It was like wink, wink we're going to try and tell you the results without actually telling you. I'm sure its hard to sit there on the air and pontificate about what might happen when you already know what has happened.

6) Maria Shriver is soooooo skinny. She looks like she could stand to put on 10-15 pounds. But she's also really cute :)

7) Arnold's victory speech was inclusive, hopeful, and an olive branch to those who opposed him. We (and he) know that reality will eventually set in. You CAN'T be a a governor that represents everyone. Part of government is competing interests. If you give state workers a big raise you are taking money from the pockets of other taxpayers. So which one are you representing? If you veto an anti-abortion bill you are not representing those with pro-life beliefs. I understand the sentiment though. He is everyone's governor..they don't get to have another one of their own. And even those who disagree with your politics will respect you if they feel they've been heard and that you are listening.

8) My advice to Arnold: Be accessible. Hold town meetings across the state every month. Do interviews with small town newspapers. Find new talent to fill your administration with. You've got the prestige to hire world-class economists to look at the budget from stem to stern. YOU are your biggest asset. Don't spend a lot of time in the governor's office. Be prepared to take your case directly to the people. Hey...I won't charge you the millions for advice that those consultants do. Give me a ring! :)

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I can understand how people can get addicted to these prescription pain killers. I've been taking Vicdoin (Hydrocodone) for pain all day. Gives you that nice hazy feeling and has been great with the pain.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2003

If you want to do a little political research, find out who holds offices at the state and federal level, find links to candidate websites, or links to various issues advocacy groups you can't find a better place to start than the Politics1 website. Its exremely well done and offers very little commentary and no discernible partisan interests. Its just a repository of useful information. Check it out.

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I screwed up. I watched the first half of the Monday Night Football game between Indianapolis and Tampa Bay. When the Bucs built a three touchdown lead in the second half I meandered away from my TV set and let my wife watch those Discovery Channel real-life medical shows she loves so much. Then I find out that the Colts staged a miraculous comeback and won the damn game! I'm not a big Colts fan but I am a fan of Peyton Manning. He's one helluva quarterback and proved it again Monday night.

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We are reaching a series of turning points in the Middle East. The reconstruction of Iraq is at best a very bumpy ride. Suicide bombers threaten to snap the very then string of hope of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israeli P.M. Ariel Sharon, with his recent attack on Syria, has served notice that Israel will fight terrorism without regard to borders. The United States is walking a tightrope there. How can we reserve the right to pre-emptively attack terrorists and criticize Israel for doing the same? I'm beginning to think that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian authorities is not likely in the near or medium term future. Israel may well to decide to win a military victory, use its bomber force to continually take out terrorist training camps and the leadership of Islamic Jihad and the other terrorist groups, build their wall, and impose peace on their terms. Given the seemingly insatiable appetite for blood on the part of these macabre, suicide-bombing, merchants of terror I can't blame them.

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Here is another study in the upcoming issue of Behavioral Neuroscience which adds to the body of research that says people are born gay. I have believed for some time that gayness is at least strongly biologically predisposed. So what you say? A broad public recognition that gayness is as biological as bald hair, brown eyes, or being a midget has profound long term ramifications. I grew up hearing the notion that being gay was a choice. Some guy or girl looks at the choices out there and says, "I prefer being gay". Given how difficult it is to be gay (especially for gay men) in today's society I've always found that unfathomable. One of the common putdowns among my students is to call someone "gay"..its the all-purpose insult, ie, "that is so gay". It seems like science is moving to give us the definitive answer to the question and I look forward to finding out more.

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Longtime Oklahoma Senator Don Nickles is retiring next year after 24 years in the Senate. In 1980 I cast my first ever ballot and and voted for Reagan for president and a much younger Don Nickles for the U.S. Senate. I met Nickles a few times at various events and was always impressed with his affable nature and availability. He is a couple of shades to the right of me on the issues but he has represented his state with distinction and character. Good luck in whatever you decide to do now Senator.

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I'm posting numb. Just got back from the oral surgeon awhile ago. He removed a couple of teeth and "smoothed" one of the bones in my lower right mandible. Ugh! I started counting backward from 100 and I think I got to 94 before I lost track of everything. Woke up in a different room with a mouthful of gauze and feeling a little shaky. I just popped a Vicodin because I can feel the pain coming as the numbness wears off. I missed work today obviously and will probably miss work tomorrow. I hate coming back to work after missing time like this. But what can a guy do?

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Monday, October 06, 2003

I just went to the dentist and got the bad news. The tooth that has been giving me trouble needs to be pulled. I'm going to the oral surgeon tomorrow to have it (and two others) pulled. What is it about dental work that I find distasteful? Laying there with your mouth wide open and several people standing around using terms I don't understand. It feels like you're layed bare. I also hate the sensation of being numb....like your tongue is just flopping around. I've always had a fear/dislike of dentists and now I'm paying the price for it.

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Monday morning...ugh! Actually as far as Mondays go its ok. But I have to protest..just on principle! Its funny..the cycles of life.

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Yikes! Ouch! After reading this I'll be extra mindful of being nice to my wife. Need me to do the dishes honey? :)

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Like many people I'm still keeping a close eye on the California recall. Will Arnold survive the most recent charges and win? He seems to think so. My betting is that he's right.

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Rush Limbaugh has been all over the news this week. First were his comments about Donovan McNabb. Then came a blockbuster story in the National Enquirer regarding his alleged abuse of prescription pain-killers. They seem to have the goods on him. Why would a multi-millionaire like Rush risk it all? Addictions are a powerful thing and this just goes to prove that no one is exempt. It sounds like he needs some serious help. I doubt he'll do any jail time but hopefully he will voluntarily or by court order submit to rehab. Rush is not wrong about a lot of things. But he's never seemed to have an understanding of human weakness or a toleration for those who struggle with life's challenges. Maybe now he will.

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Ever notice that Meatloaf looks a little like Rush Limbaugh? Meatloaf has one of the great Rock-n-Roll voices of all time. Rush has one of the biggest mouths of all time (even though he can be entertaining).

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Sunday, October 05, 2003

I often read Josh Marshall's "Talking Points". Josh is a serious writer who is an unusual breed of liberal Democrat. He takes an interest in and writes prolifically about national security, defense and foreign policy. Sometimes I even find myself agreeing with him. But I can't agree with what he says in this post regarding the CIA Wilson/Plame affair.

Josh opines, "And what has he done about it? Nothing. " regarding President Bush and his inaction to get to the bottom of who leaked. And he goes on to say, " the president could quickly figure out who they are --- probably by demanding that they come forward, and certainly by reviewing phone logs and emails. Yet he has done neither. "

Well, Josh, lets think about this. Had the president launched his own internal investigation ahead of the F.B.I. the press (and probably you) would be saying:
1) there is a coverup going on and he doesn't want the
F.B.I. to investigate
2) this is just damage control and some poor low level
fish is going to be tossed overboard for appearance's
sake
3) evidence might be tampered with or destroyed

I'll grant you that the president either knows or could know who leaked Mrs. Plame's name. But it seems like that allowing the proper authorities to investigate this quickly and professionally is the way to go.

Its a serious crime. Let the chips fall where they may.

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Heh...it looks like an Audience of One has doubled in size. Welcome my lovely wife Lee and her unique perspectives :)

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Since Brian is the master of politics and sports, I'll focus on the Life aspect of Audience of One. When you have a house full of kids and an interesting lifestyle, a job working with folks with mental illnesses, and a three-legged cat, Life seems to be full of little tidbits of hilarity.

Most recently, I've been battling a most irritating infestation of fruit flies. My friend, Chip, and I have even been exchanging email about the progress of my war. Chip even sent me a link to website that promised to rid my kitchen of fruit flies. The gist of the solution involved a funnel made of notebook paper stuck in the top of a jar with a banana chunk in the bottom. I'm guessing the idea was that the flies would fly down the funnel into the dreamy land of rotten banana and get stuck there. I think my fruit flies, however, have an attitude. The little fuckers sit on the paper funnel daring one another to take the plunge. And there is a large audience of their little friends who have perched themselves on the coffee pot taking bets on who can get out of the jar before the large human hand comes looming with the lid. My son ran away last night because he's so disgusted with the fruit flies .. he said one flew into his mouth while he was yawning (I might run away too). Chip's last response was, "Those little bastards! I hate it when they take bets!" I had to take my cat, Flip, to the vet a couple of days ago. I went crazy with the fly spray before heading out the door to work, and I forgot that Flip was sleeping on the couch. Apparently Flip's barfing problem and gagging thing was purely coincidental .. no toxicity noted. I paid the damned vet $145.00 to tell me that Flip has a tummy ache and a sore throat. Shit... Did the fly spray thing work? NO! As I stood in my kitchen after work admiring the lack of fucking little fruit flies and wondering why the cat looked so funky, my son emerged from the basement. He looked at my joyful face, and informed me that the fruit flies have migrated downstairs to the empty yogurt container in the downstairs trash can, "So, don't look so happy, Mom"
Shit....

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Dallas 24 Arizona 7...I nailed that prediction :)

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The Arizona Cardinals and Emmitt Smith visit Dallas. My prediction? Dallas by 17.

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I think the White House has had the same picture on their front page for months. Christie Whitman resigned as E.P.A. director some time ago. Isn't there someone there who can keep their page a little better updated?

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You wouldn't know by reading the headlines or watching the news on television, but murder in the U.S. has dropped to a forty year low. This corresponds to the steady decrease in many crimes over the last thirty years. But surveys show that the public's fear of violent crime continues to grow at the same time that incidents of it decrease. Why is that?

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I can never read "Gut Rumbles" without laughing at least once.

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I think Arnold will win the election in California's circus...err..recall election in spite of recent troubles. Star power and charisma go a long way and his competition is pathetic. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a more uninspiring political figure than Bustamante. Wait...I forgot about Gray Davis! If you are interested in recall news, you can always get the latest skinny from Daniel Weintraub. His coverage is superb! They always say that everything hits California before it hits the rest of the country. I sure hope not.

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Beginnings 

I'm feeling inspired to blog again. I've been thinking about it for awhile and here I am! I don't know if anyone will read it but me. But thats OK.

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