Monday, May 31, 2004
William Tecumseh Sherman said, "War is hell, it is all hell". Some of those wars may have been necessary, grand in purpose and honorable. But in the trenches, young men sacrificed their lives or their health to serve their country. You may agree or disagree with some of these wars, but a simple truth is clear. Our ancestors sacrificed mightily to give us a free country that we can all be proud of.
Now we just have to live up to that precious gift.
We also spent time strolling around the little Bavarian village, buying gifts for kids and friends, people watching, and just enjoying the lush mountainous scenery. We dined at a nice little German restauraunt, looked at artwork on display in street exhibits, and browsed a quaint little bookstore.
Of course, now we are back and reality is upon us again. We both go back to work tomorrow and the kids are still in school. But I think I speak for both of us when I say that we are refreshed, rejuvenated, and very happy.
Saturday, May 29, 2004
Name Acronym Generator
Friday, May 28, 2004
Of course there are those logistical impediments. What to do about the kids? They are ok for an evening on the town but too young to stay here for the weekend unsupervised. I called our friend Marlane who is a single mom with three kids of her own. She graciously agreed to take all three of our kids for the entire weekend!
So we made reservations and are going to spend the weekend in a place neither of us have ever been. Washington's version of a quaint Bavarian village is called Leavenworth and its located in the middle of the Wenatchee National Forest. We made a hotel reservation this morning and will leave tomorrow! We envision a quiet weekend of talking, shopping, strolls along the river, a night on the town, and a lot of romance.
It sounds like heaven to me.
Thursday, May 27, 2004
01. Get 24 boxes of condoms &randomly put them in people's carts when they aren't looking.
02. Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5 minute intervals.
03. Make a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the rest-rooms.
04. Walk up to an employee and tell him/her in an official tone: 'Code 3 in Housewares' . . and see what happens.
05. Go to the Service Desk and ask to put a bag of M&M's on lay-away.
Here's the sad thing in my case. I actually like to shop and my wife hates it. I do almost all of the grocery shopping. I buy almost all of the Christmas gifts. I take the kids shopping for clothes and shoes. I stop by the mall just to browse. So very un-guy like.
I love to shop for gifts. I can spend hours trying to find the exact perfect gift for a family member or friend. I keep track of idle comments about what people might enjoy and sometimes I even write them down. There's something that is just a blast about getting that perfect gift. I especially like shopping for books and getting someone a book I know that they will enjoy.
I love to shop. I'm a guy. Help!
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
September 11, 2001 started off for me as a normal day. It was a Tuesday, and we always have faculty meetings on Tuesday mornings. I awoke a few minutes late and grabbed a quick shower and ran out the door. I often listen to a news radio station on the way to work, but I had a Pink Floyd CD playing in my car stereo and decided to leave it in and listen to music during my 30 minute drive.
I arrived at work blissfully unaware that anything had happened. I put my backpack in my classroom and rushed to the library for our faculty meeting. I walked in and instantly knew something was wrong. The expressions on my colleague's faces was striking. My principal started talking about "this tragedy" and I didn't know what he was talking about. Questions and comments flew around the room and I soon picked up the gist of what had happened. A lot of stories that turned out to be unsubstantiated were bandied about.
We considered whether to hold school that day. No one had yet put these attacks in any kind of context and there were concerns about student safety. We also had a trip to the state fair planned for the next day and quickly decided to cancel that. We also made a decision that TVs in classrooms would not be on during the day. We didn't want students watching those horrific images all day at school. I felt like my older students (juniors and seniors) could handle it, but the decision was made to have a uniform rule of no televisions.
I was going nuts! I desperately wanted to turn to CNN and find out what was going on. Deprived of that, I turned to the internet. I repeatedly surfed news sites, refreshing them over and over again. Pictures began to be posted and some of the news was clearer as the day went on. I read news stories out loud to the students and we discussed it. What did all this mean? Who did it? Why would they do it? How many were dead? What was our response going to be? What should it be?
I used my lunch hour and planning period to find a television where no students were present. I watched those planes hit the Twin Towers over and over and over again. I listened to retired generals, military experts, and experts on terrorism pontificate.
I raced home and flipped my TV onto the news. For the rest of the evening I barely budged from the couch. My children cuddled up next to me and I tried to explain what had happened to them. The biggest question of course was "why"..and that was the question I was least able to answer. For the next couple of weeks I was a total news junkie. I bought every newspaper and magazine I could get my hands on. I surfed the net and watched television. I tried to make some sense of it all.
Now here we are almost three years later. We are in still in the middle of a "war on terrorism" which I support but perhaps don't fully understand. I want victory but am not sure how to define it. Its a cliche to say that the world changed on 9-11 but it really did in many respects. The students I teach were the first group to grow up outside of the "Cold War". They didn't fear nuclear annihilation like I did as a child, and like students did when I first started teaching. Their world was a relatively friendly place. Sure, there might be a war or famine far away but the impact on their lives was minimal. Their country and their lives were not threatened by outside forces. That all disappeared when the first plan slammed into that tower.
They lost their innocence and so did the rest of us.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
(CNN) -- Several U.S. officials said Tuesday that intelligence indicates there is increasing concern about the possibility of a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil, perhaps as early as this summer.
Such an attack might take place before the November presidential election in an attempt to affect the outcome, the officials said.
I think the likelihood of a terrorist strike inside the United States is extremely likely. After the incident in Spain, terrorists are delighted with the idea of having an impact on the election.
The question is what would the impact be? Its really hard to say. Would the country rally around the president in time of crisis? Or would they blame him for not keeping the country safe and support his challenger? This is all uncharted territory.
You should vote for who you believe in. Don't let a gang of murderous thugs affect our democracy.
CINCINNATI -- Imagine it's a special day at school, and you're asked to leave because of what you're wearing.
That's what happened to a 13-year-old girl at Holy Family Catholic School in Price Hill on the day of her May crowning and graduation pictures, WLWT Eyewitness News 5's Brian Hamrick reported.....
There's cleavage, but when you're as big as Dannielle, there's going to be cleavage," Meyer said. "There's nothing I can do about that."
I note that this is a Catholic school..a private institution. They have the right to set a dress code which specifies "no cleavage". Obviously, the young lady is showing cleavage. The school was well within its rights to send her home.
However, this is pretty mild compared to whats worn in schools on a daily basis now. The most popular styles for teenage girls now show bellybutton AND cleavage. Short shorts and skirts are common and the trend is to be as provocative as possible.
In the meantime, boys are wearing pants that I could make a nice tent out of. Baggy pants that look like they are going to fall to the knees at any time are the norm now. The bottoms of the pants are so wide that you can't even tell if they are wearing shoes.
Regulating student dress is a pain in every school I've ever worked in. Students want to wear the latest styles and express their individuality. Girls want to be hot and boys want that grunge disaffected look. Even the best dress codes leave a lot of room for disagreement. Schools want students to dress in a way that is not disruptive to learning, but that is hard to define! Parents are increasingly aggressive in backing their children up when it comes to dress code issues.
Hell, when I was in high school, boys couldn't have beards or mustaches. My principal kept razors and shaving cream in his office, and he wasn't shy about sending you to the bathroom to use them.
One solution is simple: school uniforms. It takes the guesswork out for everyone. When we lived in Louisiana our children all attended schools that required uniforms and we loved it. The kids hated it but they got used to it.
I've heard kids make fun of others by remarking, "you get your clothes at Wal Mart..I've seen that shirt there". Parents are pressured to by those latest $150 shoes or $75 jeans so little Johnny can keep up in the fashion department.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could focus on what schools are actually supposed to do..teaching and learning?
Elizabeth Eve never thought of herself as an exhibitionist. But these days, the 33-year-old history professor with the gold nose ring can barely contain the urge to lift her skirt and flash her skivvies.
"There is something so liberating and exciting about it, you've got to try it out," she said recently as she fidgeted, fully clothed, on the couch in her friend Tasha's Manhattan apartment. "I was teaching a class on imperialism, " she continued, "and I was delivering all this material that was kind of new and upsetting, and everyone was getting all worked up and upset, and I was getting all worked up and upset, and all of a sudden, all I wanted to do was flash my underwear! It was crazy," she said with a throaty giggle.
None of my professors ever did anything like this. Then again, I never had any professors that I would've wanted to be exposed to..as it were :)
They take to the streets wearing "protest panties" which come emblazoned with anti-Dubya double-entendres like "Expose Bush," "Lick Bush," "Give Bush the Finger" and "Drill Bush Not Oil." When the Eves flash them at rallies, the effect is somewhere between a 1970s' love-in and George Bush's worst, frat- addled nightmare of a panty raid gone awry.
I'm sure that everyone will be thinking all about George Bush after that little show.
And they've also designed panties for first-time voters that read "My Cherry for Kerry." "We think Kerry needs a little help in the sex-appeal department," said Tasha. Elizabeth and Zazel nodded vigorously
Hey, he's a little stiff...oops, nevermind.
KITTERY, Maine — A Portsmouth, N.H., woman, who reportedly didn´t like her boyfriend´s dog, is accused with a girlfriend of faking a robbery, taking the dog and drowning it.
Erin Wylie, 27, and Shannon Walters, 34, of Newmarket, N.H., were accused of breaking into the home of Wylie´s boyfriend in Eliot on Friday night and taking a laptop computer, a camera and the dog.
Police said the women drowned the 2-year-old dachshund.
Only a really disturbed mind could do something like this. I hope she gets everything thats coming to her.
Why a pickle?
When I was 15, I worked in a fast food restaurant. I had an accident. I slipped on water that was on the ground and my hand fell on top of the steamer machine. The manager gave me pickles and basically a long break. I did have to finish up my shift-with my hand all bandaged up-pain it was the first time I hated my job. It took a couple of weeks for the blister to go away and 15 plus years later I still have a scar on inside of my hand.
I remembered the pickle experience...it still works for burns.
Is that a pickle in your pocket or did you just burn yourself?
Monday, May 24, 2004
It's hard not to think about one's age and how it relates to rock music. I just turned 47, and with each passing year it becomes harder not to wonder whether I should be listening to something that is still thought of as more age appropriate — jazz, folk, classical, opera, funeral marches, the usual suspects.
I'm 42 years old and I still LOVE rock-n-roll. I like a little jazz, enjoy the blues, can handle a little country,and even get into a few show tunes. But at my core I love rock. I can get as lost in Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" as I did twenty years ago. The pulsing beat of the Rolling Stones "Satisfaction" still revs me up as it did hundreds of listenings before.
Rock-n-roll is one of the connections I still have to my youth. I have less hair (thats an understatement), a few more pounds, kids, a job, a wife, and responsibilities. But crank up Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and I'm that 16 year old boy cruising Main Street, listening to the tunes pumping out of my 8-track player, looking for cute girls, and enjoying the wild irresponsibility of the young. Kiss' "Beth" still makes me feel romantic, Kansas' "Dust in the Wind" still makes me ponder the meaning of life, and Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" makes me want to put the pedal to the metal. As Hornby says:
Youth is a quality not unlike health: it's found in greater abundance among the young, but we all need access to it. (And not all young people are lucky enough to be young. Think of those people at your college who wanted to be politicians or corporate lawyers, for example.) I'm not talking about the accouterments of youth: the unlined faces, the washboard stomachs, the hair. The young are welcome to all that — what would we do with it anyway? I'm talking about the energy, the wistful yearning, the inexplicable exhilaration, the sporadic sense of invincibility, the hope that stings like chlorine. When I was younger, rock music articulated these feelings, and now that I'm older it stimulates them, but either way, rock 'n' roll was and remains necessary because: who doesn't need exhilaration and a sense of invincibility, even if it's only now and again?
Give me that old time rock and roll. That kind of music really soothes my soul......
Edit: If you're really, really bored you can glance through my computer playlist here. Mind you that other people live here and some of the music on the list isn't what I would put there :)
Saturday, May 22, 2004
Isn’t there enough of this “reality” programming yet? Do you realize we’re at the point where a couple could feasibly live their entire lives through reality TV?
Yes, I watched the first season of Survivor. But most of the "reality TV" I've seen just leaves me cold. It all seems like hyped up situations and manipulated drama.
When I want reality I look around me. I go to work, to the park, to the store. People watching is one of my favorite activities. Pick someone out, observe them covertly, and wonder what their life is like. Is that the wife or the girlfriend they're with? A lawyer, an accountant, or a postal worker? Does she dye her hair? I wonder if they vote Democratic or Republican.
Reality slaps me in the face everywhere I turn. I teach kids who live in very difficult family situations. They tell me about it all the time. It hits me when I pay the bills or go to a conference at my son's school. It knocks me around when I have leaky pipes and pumps that don't pump.
I'm a newsaholic, so I get plenty of reality there too. Nicholas Berg, Iraqi prisoners, terrorist attacks, famine, poverty, election-year politics...its all right there to see and soak in. I watch the TV news and hear stories about car crashes, murders, and rape. I also hear about heroic rescues, charity drives, soldiers doing good deeds, and people helping out a neighbor in need.
But when I sit down in front of the TV I don't want reality. Give me some old fashioned fantasy. Make me laugh, make me cry, or make me think about something I haven't considered. Just don't give me any more reality.
When Phyllis Bradshaw's twin sons went off to college, she decided it was time to better herself. She started exercising, ate better, and began writing a novel. Then the Lewisville, Texas, ex-airline reservation agent went in for surgery to remove excess skin from her upper eyelids. She liked the results so much that she decided to have her neck and stomach done, too. "I'm not trying to look gorgeous, 20, Barbie," Bradshaw, 49, says. "I'm just trying to get rid of the things that are hanging." Her husband hated the idea, so she went to the bank and borrowed the $20,000 herself.
Tummy tucks? Face lifts? Nose jobs? How much are people willing to pay to look better? What kind of risks are they willing to take? Apparently, the answer on both counts is a lot.
Look, I know I'm not the best looking guy out there. When I walk into a club, women don't swivel around or poke their friends and point. I'm sure that some of these surgeries might make me look a little better. So why not do it?
First of all, there is the money factor. None of these surgeries are cheap and being a poor schoolteacher I have limited resources. Do I want to use the money I have for cosmetic appearance or for other things...a hot tub, a boat, a new car, savings, perhaps a cruise?
Then, I look in the mirror and say to myself, "this is who you are. God made Brad Pitt and used the leftover spare parts on you". However, I am blessed with a wonderful family, some good friends, a quick wit on occasion, a good job, and decent intelligence. I may not have it all, but I have more than many do.
The article documents the fact that all of these surgeries carry risk. You can end up deformed, maimed, or worse. For many it looks like they feel its worth the risk. I guess I just don't.
The only thing I've ever seriously considered is something to replace my hair. There is no way I'd every wear a hairpiece or toupee. I looked into hair transplant surgery rather seriously. The cost was high, but they promised a head full of hair! Hair!! I went bald on top in my mid twenties. Honestly speaking, its caused me a great deal of anxiety throughout my life. The male ego is a powerful thing, and I still sometimes fantasize about what it would be like to have hair again. I shaved the little ring around the back and sides a year ago, and I'm much happier totally bald. I guess it feels like I had a choice in the matter!
Maybe some day my ego will get the best of me and I'll have the surgery done. It would be nice to make a head swivel..just once.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
MEN are more likely to stray if their partners are slim, a survey has found.
Men with skinny wives and girlfriends could be interested in appearance alone - and on the lookout for someone even more attractive.
In contrast, seven in 10 faithful men prefer their women size 16 or over.
Interesting eh? This kinda flies in the face of conventional wisdom. With body size being considered the standard barometer of attraction, you would think that the guy with the "cuddlier" companion would be more likely to be unfaithful as he seeks out slimmer/more attractive women.
I've always been fascinated by the idea of attraction. I've been involved in relationships with women of all different sizes and shapes. So at least for me, body size isn't the only measure of attractiveness. I'm probably as likely as the next guy to run the risk of an accident craning my neck to look at a shapely lady walking down the street. But when it comes to attraction...what stokes me fire..what keeps my interest..it gets pretty complicated.
What is it then? I'm a quiet, soft-spoken, thoughtful guy who sometimes needs encouragement to "loosen up". So I've often found myself attracted to outgoing, feisty, opinionated women. The old "opposites attract" thing must have something going for it.
Then there is laughter. There are few things sexier than a woman with a sense of humor and a great laugh. I like passion, and in my experience, women who laugh a lot have passion in other areas as well!
Of course there are the eyes. I love eye contact and always enjoy a woman who can hold an extended conversation and not avert her eyes. So much can be conveyed through eyes! If you pay close attention to a woman's eyes they will tell you much.
Some people would say, "yeah right". But I've always enjoyed intelligent women who can talk about a variety of subjects. Politics and religion? No problem. Sports? Why not? Sex? Lets hear it! Kids and school? Tell me all about it. I'm attracted to women who are aware of what is going on in the world around them.
I'd be lying if I said there wasn't also a physical component to what attracts me. I tend to like curves and shape...women who are built like a woman and not a skinny teenage boy. Its probably very un-guy-like to admit but breast size has never been any issue for me. Big or small?..doesn't matter as long as they are there! Hair color doesn't matter either but I tend to be attracted to women with hair at least shoulder length.
Other than that I still have a hard time figuring out what defines attraction for me. Sometimes the chemistry is just there or it isn't.
Who said life was supposed to be uncomplicated anyway?
There is something about that burning sensation..not on fire..just a nice burn that I find enormously satisfying. Being the bald guy that I am, the heat is often very visible! Its not uncommon for me to have to pat my head down with a paper towel or napkin.
A few months ago I had an extremely spicy meal at a Mexican restauraunt in Portland. I had to ask the waiter for another "head patting" napkin. I drank a couple of "mojitos" (made of rum, mint, and lime juice) along with the meal. It was soooooo very satisfying. Aaaahh!!
As they say, some like it hot!!
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Where the heck is Margaritaville? In New Orleans, it's at the end of Decatur Street, just down from Cafe du Monde and across from the Farmer's Market. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe heads the list of other French Quarter bars. It indeed serves up cheeseburgers and cold draft beer, but mainly what it has is Jimmy Buffett. From tables featuring his album covers to the non-stop videos to the music, it's a Parrothead's paradise. (From Pub Club)
May 17, 2004 — Women of the 1600s, from queens to prostitutes, commonly exposed one or both breasts in public and in the popular media of the day, according to a study of fashion, portraits, prints, and thousands of woodcuts from 17th-century ballads....
Far from being a sign of tawdriness, Jones said breast exposure during the 1600s could indicate a woman's virtue.
"The exposure of the breast was a display of the classical and youthful beauty of the woman — she was showing her 'apple like' unused Venus breasts," Jones said. "This was a display of her virtue, her beauty, and her youth. Upper class women maintained the quality of their breasts by not breast feeding their children and passing them on to wet nurses."
Of course, some history conscious Americans are carrying on this proud historical tradition.
Ever been to New Orleans? I lived just across the lake from "The Big Easy" for several years. I've made a few little sojourns down to Bourbon Street and its unlike anything you'll see anywhere else. On a busy night (and almost every night now is a busy night) you'll see "flashing" everywhere you look. Guys with beads to bargain with negotiate with girls with boobs to flash for the crowd. Some of the girls are tough negotiators and demand the high quality beads before they show their stuff. Then "Hand Grenades" and "Hurricanes" take their alcoholic toll and they practically strip for a 25 cent strand of plastic beads. Where are the standards anyway?!!
I decided I'd lived there too long when I walked down the street and a woman flashing her breasts didn't even cause me to turn my head.
The federal government is cracking down on the sale of drug paraphernalia it refers to as “User-specific products”. In recent months Attorney General Ashcroft has launched two series of raids dubbed “Operation Pipe Dreams” and “Operation Headhunter”.....
In February the Justice Department obtained court orders seizing 11 web sites selling paraphernalia and arrested 55 individuals for operating these sites. Ashcroft claims that the sale of paraphernalia had "exploded" on the Internet. “Quite simply,” says Ashcroft, “the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has invaded the homes of families across the country without their knowledge.”
My generally conservative outlook is overtaken by my libertarian instincts here. Is this a proper use of government resources, FBI agents, money, and time?
Tom sells pipes to Dick and Harry. Dick takes his pipe home and uses it to consume fine Turkish tobacco. Harry takes his home, takes out his little baggie of fine Jamaican weed, and gets stoned into oblivion while watching "The Simpsons".
1) Should Tom spend years in jail because of what Harry did with his product?
2) Should Dick be denied use of that product for an otherwise legal purpose?
3) What Harry did is illegal under current law, but is spending so much effort enforcing that law a wise thing to do? The agents spending time browsing "paraphernalia" websites could be spending their time on Al Queda websites tracking down people who actually want to kill large numbers of innocent people.
I don't think that all drugs should be legal. But the "War on Drugs" has been a miserable failure..every bit as miserable as the Prohibition on alcohol in the 1920's. There has to be a better way.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
My new guy likes to be kicked in the testicles before sex. I refused to participate the first time he asked me to do this, so he took my foot and "kicked" himself with it. He really seemed to get off on it. I found the whole thing shocking. He also likes me to tell him what to do when we're in bed, and really gets off on doing anything with my feet, and I mean ANYTHING.
Why would a man get excited by being kicked in the balls? Is this desire tied to his likes-to-be-dominated desires? What cause an otherwise in control and self-assured guy to behave like that in bed? Should I worry about his tastes?
Chickadee (35 year-old woman) from Canada
Ouch!! You ladies out there know how we guys don't understand the whole "monthly" thing or childbirth? I doubt a woman can really understand the pain involved in being "racked". There is no pain quite like it. Its been a long time since I've suffered that particular kind of pain, but it makes me shiver to think about it. I can't imagine ASKING for it!
I once had a Physical Ed teacher bring two 7th grade boys to my office. They were both walking funny, gasping for breath, and crying. He was standing behind them snickering! When they finally calmed down I got the story out of them. They had devised a game which involved taking turns sitting against the wall with their legs spread. They would then take turns kicking each other between the legs. The loser would be the one who gave up first! The teacher caught them after the second kick. Since I couldn't punish them any worse than they were already feeling, I called their parents to come pick them up.
One of the moms came into the office, signed her son out of school without saying a word, then picked him up from the chair by his ear. She led him out of school by the ear and in his "racked" condition he was hobbling behind her trying to keep up. I tried not to laugh, but you know...oh well!
With any luck, I'll avoid that sensation for the rest of my life.
Monday, May 17, 2004
This article lists a karaoke DJs worst karaoke songs:
I must confess I've done a couple of these. I've crooned "Piano Man" a couple of times. On a dare I once sang Britney Spears "Oops I Did It Again". This was a bit of a challenge since my voice is very, very deep! I keep trying different songs but always come back to a few old standbys:
1. "Turn The Page" by Bob Seger
2. "Mustang Sally" by Wilson Pickett
3. "Long Haired Country Boy" by Charlie Daniels Band
4. "In the Still of the Night" by The Five Satins
5. "Don't Let The Sun Come Down on Me" by Elton John
6. "Pink Cadillac" by Bruce Springsteen
7. "Truly" by Lionel Richie
8. "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole
There are some songs I've sang that I totally sucked at:
1. "Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry
2. "Drift Away" by Dobie Gray
3. duet of "Summer Nights" from Grease
4. "My Fathers Eyes" by Eric Clapton
and others too numerous to mention!!
A friend of mine once patted my leg after I finished a particularly gruesome butchering of a popular song and said, "As long as you're having fun". (Thanks Marlane!)
Words to live by.
You're a sick man Bill...sick I tell you!
BELLINGHAM, Wash-- SOMEWHERE, as you read this, a long-legged, heart-faced barn owl is stretching out its neck and delicately upchucking.
Out drops a compact pellet of undigested lunch, which falls onto a dung-spattered pile below the owl's shadowy perch.
That's where Bret Gaussoin enters the food chain. With dozens of his collectors staking out barns throughout the West, Gaussoin has become the nation's premier pellet impresario -- helping turn owl leftovers into a staple of classroom instruction
This reminds me of an old expression about "turning shit into shinola".
Sunday, May 16, 2004
I also added Harry's blog, "Chase Me Ladies".
In any class you have a variety of kids with different approaches and attitudes. One of my students prepared for the trial very intensely and competitively. She borrowed a business suit so that she could look the part of a lawyer. She practiced her questions, fine-tuned her case, and was fully ready for the trial. We tried the case and the decision was in the hands of a six student jury.
The jury went out into the "commons" area and sat around a table to discuss the case. They were debating their verdict for more than 30 minutes. I noticed that time was getting short and walked out to tell them to wrap it up and bring in their verdict.
The young "lawyer" mentioned above was watching the jury through the glass in the door. Right before the jury came in, she saw two boys engaging in a game of "paper, rock, scissors". She was totally outraged.."I prepared this case and they are deciding it by PAPER, ROCK, SCISSORS"?!!! Grrr! I could understand her frustration, but her tone and expressions were so funny!! Just total outrage.
It makes you wonder if any real juries have ever decided cases using "unconventional" methods.
A much larger version of this picture can be found here.
Eshoo rival makes $2 bet with voters
Brian Holtz, the Libertarian Party challenger to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), is one candidate for Congress who’s willing to put his money where his mouth is.
Holtz, a Yahoo software engineer gunning for Eshoo’s seat in the Silicon Valley district, is betting that 14th District voters will vote for him if they read his website. If not, he’ll pay them $2 each.
Now if only two bucks would buy a gallon of gasoline!
John Kerry is married to a very wealthy lady. Maybe he could make a similiar offer and up the ante to ..oh..100 bucks!
On second thought, he'd be safe. It would be impossible to pass the quiz. Since he's taken both sides of so many issues, no matter how you answer the question you'd be wrong!
Saturday, May 15, 2004
Power Rangers Movie!
What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla
My twelve year old son will think this is really cool. Off to save the world dude!
It seems like I'm not the only one taking these quizzes as this article can attest.
5. You know more people who own boats than air conditioners. (wHAT'S AN AIR CONDITIONER?)
I've never in my life lived without an air conditioner before. Now my house doesn't even have a window unit anywhere.
11. You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Oregon, and
I've mispronounced all of these...usually to the laughter of my wife or my students.
25. You think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists. (YEP!)
I've given up on umbrellas but I do buy my jackets with hoods now!
As a fairly new arrival to this fair section of the country I might add a few of my own:
1. You think tofu is a good substitute for meat.
2. You know that the hippy movement hasn't died..they just all moved to Olympia!
3. You refer to a massive traffic jam on I-5 with, "I've seen much worse"
ILLA PARK, Calif. (AP) - At least three teachers have been placed on paid leave following complaints they showed students the videotaped beheading of American Nicholas Berg in Iraq.
Villa Park High School English teacher Stephen Arcudi allowed students to use his classroom computer to see video footage of Berg being executed, school officials said.
I had several students ask me to help them view the Berg video. They knew it was out on the internet, most did not want to see it, but a few did. I told them that I was sure that they could find it if they wanted, but they weren't doing it on my time or on my computers. These teachers did show very poor judgement, and if I was their supervisor they would be reprimanded.
We did discuss the Berg incident in some detail but I really see no valid reason for the kids to see it. I haven't seen it myself and have no plans to do so.
I can be outraged without being sickened.
Friday, May 14, 2004
What Color is Your Brain?
brought to you by Quizilla
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Nearly half the world's computers may soon have built-in protection against debilitating infections of spyware and other unwanted software, thanks to Microsoft's update of the Windows XP operating system.
Expected to be released this summer, the Windows XP Service Pack 2 update will contain no fewer than five new security features designed to ward off the unauthorized installation of software via the Internet, according to Microsoft officials. The company hopes the features will not only quell the growing number of complaints from consumers about Windows XP's susceptibility to spyware, but will also save businesses millions of dollars in tech support calls.
Its about time! Not only am I constantly cleaning uwanted software from my home computers, I do it at work as well. I'm responsible for twelve laptops that my students use. Even though I warn them about being careful where they click, a ton of spyware and adware end up on those machines. Grrrrr!!!
Microsoft could have done something about this long ago. I guess its better late than never.
Those Oklahoma winters are cold as hell, and we regularly had plumbing problems. I would wrap the pipes with heat tape and even used bales of hay to try and block out the wind. Even so, the pipes would sometimes freeze and it would be me and a hair dryer laying under the home unthawing pipes.
One particularly bad winter the temperatures dipped below zero. My sewage line backed up and froze solid. Yes, this big pipe was full of frozen...err...waste. My brother-in-law came to visit and the two of us bundled up and crawled under the house. We came up with the brilliant idea of cutting the line so it could drain, patching the pipe, and then running warm water through to clean things out.
We were very cramped...especially wearing big coveralls and barely had room to move. With teeth chattering, I cut through the 3" sewer line..nothing happened. So I pulled the pipe downward and a huge chunk of frozen icy waste with suspended..particulates slid out of the pipe and landed on my brother-in-law. He was pinned and unable to move for awhile and was cussing a blue streak. I laughed till I cried!
Then of course there was my quarterly trip to the roof to paint liquid aluminum on the seams to keep the rain out. But hey..I had a garden tub!
At least my lil mobile home didn't look like many of these.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
My washing machine drains into the sump pit and the water is supposed to be pumped out. The float that tells the pump to start pumping was not working properly and the water ended up all over my tile floor and seeped into the carpet in the next room. UGH!
Last night I pulled the pump out, took it outside, and gave it a thorough cleaning. Caked-on, nasty smelling soap covered the whole thing. Hoping that my cleaning job would solve the problem, I hooked the pump back up, turned on the water, and prayed. As water starting seeping onto the floor I gave the pipe a little jiggle and it started pumping. Alas, one of the pipe clamps was stripped, the pipes separated, and I found myself being sprayed in the face with foul smelling water. I held the two pipes together, being sprayed the whole time, until the water was drained. Damnit!!
Today, I went a bought a new pump and installed it. Nasty, smelly job but voila...it works! Its much quieter than the old one and I think I can run appliances without worrying about building an ark.
Now I know why I'm a teacher and not a plumber.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
But the beheading of an American military contractor in Iraq puts the mistreatment of Iraqis in a little perspective doesn't it? Yes, they were humiliated and degraded. I'm sure its not a lot of fun to be stripped nude and razzed by people you consider to be part of the "Great Satan". But they are still alive, and have a chance to rejoin their families and have a normal life one of these days. Nicholas Berg has no such option.
What kind of man could slice off another man's head as he lay helpless and confined. His crime? He was an "infidel", "an American", a foreigner, a citizen of the occupying army. What a bunch of cowardly, heartless bastards.
The one standing directly behind Berg reads a statement identifying himself, and then Berg is pushed to the floor.
Berg is heard screaming as his throat is cut. One of the captors then holds up his severed head.
There is a very special corner of hell for men who would do such a thing.
We are a democracy founded on individual liberty, with respect for the rule of law, and the rights of man. That is why we were so outraged by the abuse of prisoners. We expect a great deal from those who represent our country, and when they break the law there are consequences.
But we are fighting an enemy that doesn't have any such constraints..an enemy that has no respect for life. Its a helluva challenge to fight such an enemy, and at the same time, uphold our own values.
We don't want to become like the enemy. But as this incident shows, we should never forget the bloodthirstiness of those we are fighting.
Monday, May 10, 2004
Saw a girl on a bus today, bit of a fox, so I sat down opposite and attracted her attention by bursting a balloon. “I am a tomato,” I announced, when she looked up. “So am I a fruit… or a vegetable?” She did not know, so I explained to her in a nerd voice that technically I am a fruit in that I grow above ground, but that the United States Agricultural Department considers me a vegetable for the purposes of import levy.
Thats no worse than these lines!
Sad but true, tragic but amusing…
WARSAW (Reuters) - A sexually excited stallion bit a Polish man to death when he tried to calm the beast, which had become uncontrollably aroused by a nearby mare, police said.
“The 24-year-old man, identified as Robert R., was bitten when he tried to calm his horse, which had become unsettled by the presence of a mare in the vicinity,” a duty officer in the Baltic port of Szczecin told Reuters.
The horse went wild and began straining and bucking while pulling a farm cart through the village.
An autopsy would determine whether the direct cause of death was a severed jugular vein or damaged spine, the officer added.
Pardon me while I hum the Rolling Stones "Wild Horses".
Absolutely. Let's check out the reasons you might want to be a tourist in Saudi Arabia:
No alcohol: It's a dry country, unless you know where the after-hours clubs are, and then, make sure you don't get caught by the religious police.
Dress correctly. It's required. Oh, and if you're a woman, you can't drive, you can't bare your legs or arms, and hon, you probably need to wear one of those headscarfs while you're at it. But it's all for your protection.
Hey, whats not to like? No drunk drivers. No distracting women showing off their body parts. A vigilant religious police to keep sinful sights out of the streets. Its a tad warm, but you can adjust. Of course you won't be able to get a tan, but that causes skin cancer anyway. No "Playboy" magazines crowded shelf space in the stores that are needed for Wahabbit jihadist tracts about the infidels.
Of course there are those pesky foreigners who get accused of breaking Saudi laws. But whats a little beheading anyway? Justice must be done you know. Of course we all know that its only American soldiers that would torture a prisoner.
Perhaps a stopover in luxurious Syria afterward would cap off the perfect trip!
Dan, this is Congressman Pete Stark, and I just got your fax and you don’t know what you’re talking about. So if you care about enlisted people you wouldn’t have voted for that thing, either. But probably somebody put you up to this, and I’m not sure who it was, but I doubt if you could spell half the words in the letter. Somebody wrote it for you so I don’t pay much attention to it, but I’ll call you back later and let you tell me more about why you think you’re such a great goddamn hero and why you think that this general and the Defense Department who forced these poor enlisted (laughter) guys to do what they should shouldn’t be held to account.....
Does this congressman believe that his constituents shouldn't be allowed to register their opinion with their elected representative? Does he think that his position entitles him to respond in such a verbally abusive way? In a perfect world he would be thrown out on his ass in the next election...but of course he won't. Not exactly what our founding fathers had in mind is it?
Now I'm going to be humming "Comfortably Numb" for hours!
Sunday, May 09, 2004
Saturday, May 08, 2004
Friday, May 07, 2004
Lee is a wonderful mom, and I admire her greatly. Why you ask?
** To my teenage stepson Brynden she is a "cool mom" who talks to him about subjects large and small. She has a wonderful, teasing, bantering relationship with her son that is a pleasure to watch. She combines this with holding his feet to the fire about his grades and encouraging him to follow his dreams.
**My son, Patrick (age 12), is a special needs child whose issues are hard to put into words. Some of his behavior would put a saint to the test. Although he does exasperating, unexplainable things, she still loves him. She takes him to the doctor, makes sure his prescriptions get filled, goes to school conferences, talks to psychologists, and takes care of him when he is sick. To him she is mom and I am deeply and eternally grateful for her influence in his life.
**Our precocious nine year old Aubree is a bright, athletic, moody, spirited little handful! Lee has been the dominant female influence in her life, and when Aubree becomes a woman, Lee will have cast a huge imprint on her. I see it now in many of the mannerisms she has and it puts a smile on my face. Because of her, I think Aubree will be a great mom herself some day.
**Although she has moments of frustration in our sometimes chaotic life, she typically handles situations involving the kids with grace, humor, firmness, and common sense. She is their emotional support, their master chef, and their dispenser of life lessons.
Lee would just "pshaw" all this gushiness and tell you that she really isn't doing much at all. Don't believe her for a minute. She is the glue that holds us all together.
My mom is red-headed fireball with an opinion about almost everything. She couldn't abide a messy room, an unfinished job, a mouthy teenager (yeah, that was me), a broken curfew, or wasted money. She had a temper, and could sometimes cuss in a way that would make a sailor blush. Her eyes could see right through any pathetic lies or excuses I would try to pass her way. Being the sensitive lad that I was, she could sometimes hurt my feelings. But even when she was chewing you out, you always knew that she loved you.
But let me tell you something else about my mom. If I'm in a fight I want her on MY side. Once she believes she is right she is relentless, persistent, and a force to be reckoned with. She stood up for me time and time again, and it still touches me to this day.
I was a shy, skinny 7th grader who loved to play basketball. There was a kid on my team that picked on me a lot, and one day he threw the ball at me and hit me in the face during practice. It hurt like hell and I went to the bathroom to clean up and compose myself. The coach followed me into the bathroom and kicked me off of the team for being "disruptive". I thought that was it and I went home in tears. The next day, to my horror, I was in the principal's office with her and the coach. She reamed the coach a new asshole in front of the principal. I was horrified, and yet so gratified, at the same time! The coach apologized profusely and I was back to bouncing the roundball. There were many other times when she felt I was being treated unfairly and she just wouldn't stand for it.
When I got divorced my mom was there for me. She helped take care of my kids, loaned me money when I needed it, and even came over and mowed my lawn. She listened to my bitter ravings and helped me put things into perspective. She combines that temper with a lot of common sense and a rare insight.
I now live far away from mom and don't talk to her as much as I should. But her impact on my life has been deep and profound. I may not always agree with her but she will always have my respect.
I love you mom.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
President Bush privately admonished Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld yesterday, a senior White House official said, as other U.S. officials blamed the Pentagon for failing to act on repeated recommendations to improve conditions for thousands of Iraqi detainees and release those not charged with crimes.
Bush is "not satisfied" and "not happy" with the way Rumsfeld informed him about the investigation into abuses by U.S. soldiers at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison or the quantity of information Rumsfeld provided, the senior White House official said.
The fact the Rumsfeld's admonishment became public so quickly may very well have been a trial balloon. It could even be a not-so-subtle message that he should think about resigning. Rumsfeld is a controversial figure who has made many enemies, inside and outside of the military. You have to give the man credit for modernization efforts, his emphasis on special forces, and his conduct of the war to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. His pluckiness and spirit made him a favorite of mine in the days following 9-11.
But even putting the prisoner abuse issue aside, Rummy has some marks against him:
1. His persistent underestimation of the number of soldiers needed to secure Iraq. He was warned by the brass that his deployment numbers were too low. Even when evidence suggests that they were right he stubbornly sticks to his guns.
2. The occupation in Iraq sometimes appears mired in indecision (witness: Fallujah). You can't pin all the blame on Rumsfeld, but he hasn't seemed as decisive and clear-headed as he was in Afghanistan.
3. His alienation of the brass (especially the Army) has damaged morale. He had to go to the retired ranks before he could find a candidate he liked for Army Chief of Staff.
Now it seems as if, at the very least, he mismanaged the prisoner abuse scandal. Pure speculation on my part, but Bush may be thinking of replacing him. If he does, possible replacements could include:
1. Former Sen. Dan Coats who was a finalist for the job in 2001.
2. Deputy Sec. of State Richard Armitage, a gruff talking Colin Powell appointee
3. Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf
Rummy has served his country well but it may be time for him to go quietly into the sunset.
You see ... I'm a link whore. That's right. A prostitute. For links.
Now, I don't mean to go around implying that I perform sex acts for links, though ... well, let's just say that I'm not ruling it out ... but I've done just about everything else. I've comment spammed; e-mailed other bloggers, begging; shamelessly mocked great Americans in caption contests; considered duplicating all manner of crazy schemes to get links; personally stalked Glenn Reynolds.
Thank goodness I'm far too virtuous to do such things. I revel in my microbial status. I laugh in the face of irrelevance. Muhahaha!
The fact that I just added Bill to my blogroll is pure coincidence.
(Hat Tip: Suburban Sundries Shack)
Even more unlikely are the scenes that take place beneath them as students from across the globe gather twice a day to meditate and send out cosmic vibes of spiritual energy that they believe can heal a stress-stricken world.
But now a murder and allegations of a cover-up have shattered the tranquillity of the college and of the town of Fairfield, Iowa.
The killing of one student by another has threatened the future of not only what Maharishi disciples call 'a safe, harmonious campus', but also undermines the credibility of the one-time guru of the Beatles and spiritual leader to Hollywood celebrities including film-maker David Lynch and actress Heather Graham
THAT Maharishi guy is still around? I remember seeing pictures of him with the Beatles, but that had to be forty years ago. What the hell is he doing running a university in Iowa?
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the bearded purveyor of world peace, heads a movement of tens of thousands of people who believe their brew of transcendental meditation and yogic flying - a kind of bouncing which devotees claim is akin to levitation - sends out powerful vibes of harmony that can end conflict across the planet
Well, its working great so far.
In the east-facing buildings of the 272-acre Maharishi University, some 800 students mix a traditional undergraduate education with a heavy dose of meditation and yogic flying.
Sounds like a well-rounded curriculum. I've wanted to fly away after a few exams too.
At 7pm Shuvender Sem, a 24-year-old from Pennsylvania, sat down in the university dining hall with fellow students to eat his organic vegetarian dinner. Suddenly Sem stood up, took a knife from his pocket and plunged it into the heart of 19-year-old Levi Butler.
I don't care how bad an organic vegetarian dinner must be, there is no excuse for this. Seriously, this is tragic. What in the world could he have been thinking?
The knife Sem used belonged to the dean, Joel Wysong. Earlier that day, in a class called Teaching for Enlightenment, Sem attacked another student, John Killian, stabbing him in the face with a pen. Killian needed seven stitches. Sem was taken to the dean's apartment where he was supposed to be under supervision. But it was there that he stole the knife before going to the dining hall.
Just a little stabbing in the face..no reason to upset the harmonic convergence of the university. Its understandable that the victim's family is upset with the university. They took this crazy guy who attacked a student and turned him loose again.
The Maharishi himself is reported to have blamed the violence on US foreign policy. Dr Craig Pearson, executive vice-president of Maharishi University, said: 'Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has made one comment regarding this event. He said that this is an aspect of the violence we see throughout society, including the violence that our country is perpetrating in other countries.'
If Bush had just worked more with our allies and given inspections more time, this kid would be alive. Makes all the sense in the world to me.
I've had girlfriends that turned out to be imaginary, but they never started off that way :)
Monday, May 03, 2004
The only hope for many outside was to wave a credit card and utter the only password that comes close to guaranteeing passage into Manhattan’s inner nightlife sanctum these days: "Bottle service!"
Crobar has dedicated vast sections of floor space to roped-off tables where ordering by the bottle is the only option. For around $300 and up, a group gets a tray with a bottle of Grey Goose Vodka (retail price: $27.85), a bucket of ice and carafes of mixers. There’s just enough room for them to dance on the chairs and live like Page Six subjects for a few sweet hours. How much they must spend to reserve this bit of heaven depends on many factors: the number of people in the group, the ratio of men to women (with the deadly all-guy combo likely to pay more) and the prominence of the table, although the average is around $100 worth of bottle consumption per person.
No price to high to pay to be at the right table in the right club eh? This type of conspicuous consumption is something I don't really understand....... and you know what? It has no appeal to me at all.
We're all concerned that one Iraqi prisoner died from interrogation. Not good at all, but let's keep it in perspective. The real crimes are on a mass level -- Iraq and Rwanda where well over a million died en toto. And we all know who looked the other way on both of them. The Secretary General of the United Nations.
Its not just the corrupt and venal U.N. leadership. While the French and Russians kept pushing for an increase in Iraqi oil production throughout the 1980's, the Americans and the British resisted. France and Russia unrelentingly pushed for an easing or elimination of the sanctions to "help the Iraqi people". They dragged their feet on getting inspectors back in Iraq, and only agreed to that when an American invasion looked imminent. The ruling elites of those two countries (and others) were in bed with Saddam's thuggish regime. What drove them? Concern for Iraqi civilians? Hehe, you must be jesting. If they had their way Iraq would be pumping oil like crazy, they would be lining their pockets further, and Saddam would still be dropping political opponents in acid vats.
Remember that the next time you hear about a "war for oil"
A cartoon questioning late footballer-turned-soldier Pat Tillman's credentials as a "hero" was pulled from MSNBC.com this afternoon. The drawing also brought Ted Rall 110 e-mails in less than 15 minutes.
MSNBC showed some good judgement not commonly seen in big media. What did they remove?
Rall said in the cartoon that Tillman -- who gave up a $3.6-million National Football League contract to join the military and then died last month -- "falsely believed Bush's wars against Iraq and Afghanistan had something to do with 9/11. Actually, he was a cog in a low-rent occupation Army that shot more innocent civilians than terrorists to prop up puppet rulers and exploit gas and oil resources. So when Tillman got killed by the Afghan resistance, one word naturally came to mind: 'Uh -- idiot' [says one person in the cartoon's final panel]. 'Sad' [says another]. 'Hero!' [says an editor]."
Rall enjoys a few cheap laughs at the expense of a dead hero and gets paid to do it. Is there anything more sickening than that?
See the cartoon here. (via the lovely Michele)
I realize that our soldiers are doing an incredibly difficult job in very adverse conditions. We should give them every benefit of the doubt. But there is simply no excuse for this kind of behavior. I'm glad to see the Army taking these charges seriously, and I hope these "soldiers" will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Edit: Check out Sgt. Stryker's comments on this sorry state of affairs.
Saturday, May 01, 2004
In a letter sent home to parents, Roosevelt Principal Mike McDonald said a student had asked whether it was OK to call someone gay. Teacher Richard Kalman responded by asking the class if it was OK to call someone by a common racial epithet for blacks, which he used.
McDonald said Kalman used the word "as a clear example of words we never use," but noted that the discussion had "stirred up some conflict and emotions" in the classroom.
In the context of his lesson I can't see where Mr. Kalman did anything wrong. If he used that epithet on a student, I'd be the first one to say he should be fired. If he had used it as part of a racial joke I'd show him the door. But he was teaching a lesson on tolerance and bullying. He was making it clear that this word was inappropriate for students to use on one another.
Walk into my classroom at any time with a tape recorder. If you walk in at the right time you might catch me saying something provocative. I view my role as one of challenging kids to think. Many times I will play the devil's advocate as a way to engage kids in discussion. If you take those few sentences out of the context of the lesson I would look like an insensitive jerk.
A few weeks ago I taught a lesson about stereotyping. We listed five ethnic groups on large sheets of paper and the students wrote common stereotypes about each group on the paper. Then we discussed those stereotypes as a group. I thought it was a valuable lesson, but I'll bet this mom would have been offended.
Our kids are not fragile little wallflowers. Its OK for them to think about big ideas and controversial issues. The children in Mr. Kalman's class have heard that word before on the street, in their neighborhoods, and at school. They may not have heard it in the context of a discussion about how to respect one another.
The principal of the school should tell that overwrought mom to take a hike.
I like going out and singing karaoke. I know I can't sing, but I have fun anyway. I've heard dozens of karaoke singers that sound better than the illustrious Mr. Hung. I really don't get the appeal. The poor fellow can't sing!