Monday, January 30, 2006
Need to start packing for my big adventure in missed connections, or whatever it is that next week brings.
Must make a list:
Sunscreen. SPF 400.
Paperback books. Three or four.
Bathing Suits (I have seven, but can’t swim. Don’t ask.)
Hair Care Products (It’s not how you get there, it’s how good you look when you arrive)
Rain poncho, snow boots, tourniquets, splint, snake bite kit, parka. (You know darn well something awful will happen to ruin my trip)
Positive Attitude. (Heck, if I had one of those, I wouldn’t need this trip so damn bad, now would I?)
Steamer trunk full of evening gowns. (Worked for Ginger)
Big sapphire necklace. (No, wait, that’s for boat trips. What do you take on planes? I didn’t design the aircraft, nor can I fly one.)
Shoes. Shoes. Shoes.
Empty space for souvenirs.
Excuses for customs regarding said souvenirs. (Know your rights! Alligators are not endangered! Florida allows the collection of herps for personal pets)
We’ll be flying into Miami.
Everything I know about Miami I learned many years ago watching Miami Vice:
Pastels are in!
Everyone is a drug dealer.
Boat chases are a twice-daily occurrence.
Your job would be way cooler set to rock music.
Stubble is hot. (Does this mean I don’t have to shave my legs?)
An incredibly rare vintage Ferrari can be parked anywhere and still be there when you return. Ha!
I’ve been following the whole Jim Frey thing very carefully, and just want to say he knew full well his stories were embellished past the provenience of ‘memoir’ and yet he enjoyed profiting from the lies.
Yes, memoir is an unreliable form that lends itself to flattering its author – look at any politician’s book.
Yes, people who are addicts have real issues with perception. But Frey shopped his book as fiction prior to its acceptance at Random House. (Hey, didn’t I just see Nan Talese’s resume on Monster.com? Right where it belongs)
I applaud Oprah for changing her stance on Frey and the book. Yes, it was just ‘good business’ and perhaps a bow to fan pressure, but I’m glad she changed her tune. We should not allow writers and publishers to make any claims they want to sell books. Right now, Frey is just one little (extremely successful) guy taken to task.
There is much work to be done, so the next time a Clinton memoir makes a similarly outrageous claim or glaring omission, they too should be taken to task. Look at Eli Wiesel. He published Night as an ‘autobiographical novel’. Was every word true? No. But his unmistakable sense of place let you know he had truly lived the horrors of which he wrote. He profited from his book with out lying, shopping it as non-fiction, or trying to defend it until the facts piled up to high to ignore. Kudos to the Smoking Gun and others who try to bring the truth to light – whether anyone wants to hear it or not.
Locally we are experiencing a liar of another sort, one much worse; yet he has attracted less attention. Why? Because he didn’t tell his lies to Oprah? Perhaps. But see if you agree his are worse than exaggerating a trip to the dentist…
Marengo Alderman Werner “Jack” Genot, 69, admitted he fabricated a decades old war hero story and acquired military license plates with forged discharge papers. He wins the “Most Fabricated Service Record Since George W. Bush” award hands-down. Genot claims to have participated in battles that took place long before he was old enough to serve, and hid his 1956 less-than-honorable discharge due to a stolen car. He appeared in area schools trumpeting his falsehoods and was the local contact for Toys for Tots. Among his claims: A Bronze Star, Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and a ten-month stint as a prisoner of war. It’s amazing he was able to keep up the façade for as long as he did. Shame on us for not investigating sooner!
Yet the public outcry has been muted, at best. Some say Americans just love to tear down their heroes, reveal their feet of clay. I disagree! Only in America are the “heroes” shown to be beneath contempt, yet they rise again and again. Look at D.C. Mayor Marion Barry! The average American didn’t uncover his true nature; they did however, vote for him again in spite of it. We as a nation are too forgiving. The cult of celebrity trumps any attempt to shun or shame these people to the fringes of society, where they belong. Any country where Tonya Harding and Joey Buttafuco can continue to make a living is much too forgiving indeed. Genot should have resigned the moment his lies came to light. Any citizens who did not immediately start proceedings to recall him gets the government they deserve.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Mr. Right read my little diatribe about the scrap paper incident and seemed to enjoy it, laughing out loud several times. Well, you know what they say, if the posty sticks…
Open Memo to the Two Houses on the Highway
Christmas is over. Long over. I do not care if you take down your lights (although I’d like to note it IS the warmest January on record) but do STOP PLUGGING THEM IN!!!!!
Isn’t there some provision in the Patriot Act for prosecuting these people??
Things You Learn the Hard Way Department
It’s really challenging to eat an ice cream cone while driving a stick shift.
Stay Tuned for an Ode to the Best January Ever in a future edition, along with kudos to Oprah for changing her stance on Frey.
In case anyone reading this hadn’t noticed, I’m a creature of habit. As far as I’m concerned, change is for Laundromats and parking meters.
This is but one of the reasons I’ve been under incredible stress as of late due to the land-gobbling Evil Empire ruining my little Eden. Ever read that horrible little book Who Moved My Cheese? It sucks. Sold a billion copies so bosses could give it out to employees and make them read it (gosh, wonder how I know so much?) and absolve themselves of the guilt laying off thousands of workers might have otherwise caused.
“Here’s this little book. It will point out that this horrible situation is all your fault. It’s just you. You’re not embracing change.”
Well let me tell you which character I was: Scurry. I’m the stupid little mouse who is bright enough to detect the cheese has moved, but goes running around aimlessly bumping into walls looking for more. Like Chicken Little, I know the sky is falling; I just don’t do anything more productive run around and shriek. But at least I’m running.
Anyhoo… I’m not the type of person to do anything last-minute or unplanned. (Took a year and a half to pick out my last car) My biggest fear is walking into a room and having a bunch of people jump out yelling ‘Surprise!’ I hate surprises. I hate people. The only good surprise I can think of might be the extreme misfortune of someone I didn’t like, and that only really happened once. And the person was so rotten; it wasn’t a surprise at all, so I can’t even count it. Yep. I hate surprises. Oh, wait, here’s an exception: winning a new Corvette. That would be good. Unless it was white. I really don’t like white.
So you get the picture that I don’t do ‘last minute’.
When my free-spirited and confident friend Louise called last night and said some gals had cancelled out at the last minute on the kayaking vacation they had planned for Key West, and would I like to go, of course I said no. Why would I want to leave the lovely Midwest in February just to go look at some sea turtles?
Flying? That’s just an opportunity lose nice luggage and find out your name is on the No-Fly list. (Just to be a bitch, I’m going to wear my Burqua to the airport…)
Reluctantly, I said I would consider it. First, I spoke with Mr. Right. He was okay with it.(Heck, four days without me? He offered to drive me to the airport!)
Well, I’ll check with work. We’re really busy at work. February 4 to 8? Sure. No problem. Enjoy. Uh, Oh. Looks like I have to Make A Decision in a Short Period. Hate that. Hate that.
Mr. Right went on the internet and got me a ticket. Do you want a window seat? Oooh! I don’t know, I agonized. I like the window so you can sleep, and there is that special thrill of being the first one to yell “Engine Four is on fire!!” Or perhaps an aisle seat, so you can trip the hijackers as they rush the cockpit… Decisions! Decisions! Regular Meal, or Low Cholesterol? Either will taste like the cardboard try it’s served on, so I pick regular, knowing darn well something will go wrong and I’ll get a Vegan Special. Bleah. *
So now I just need to buy a new piece of luggage, lose 10 lbs. in a week, and fret. I really owe Mr. Right big time for all his help. Think I’ll give him his own pad of post-its. Ones that say “I Love You!” Or “Please Recycle”. One of those.
*As an aside, we had this big debate at work as to what constitutes a ‘fruit’ vs. a ‘vegetable’. One person said the biological definition is anything that can propagate another plant is a fruit. That would mean cucumbers, peas and pumpkins are all fruits. I much preferred Kane Citizens’ pronouncement that “Anything I like is a fruit. Anything I don’t is a vegetable’. Works for me.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
GM Restoration Parts and Chevrolet Donate To Restore Stolen Corvette
GM Restoration Parts and Chevrolet have donated $2,500 in genuine parts to help
restore the 1968 Corvette convertible that Alan Poster recently had returned to
him after being stolen 37 years ago.
Alan Poster, who made a number of headlines last week for having his stolen Corvette returned just before being shipped to a would-be buyer in Sweden, was surprised by the gift during an interview with Cruise Control Radio, a national automotive talk radio show.
Harlan Charles, Corvette product manager, called to congratulate Mr. Poster on
having his Corvette returned and informed him that GM Restoration Parts and
Chevrolet were giving him $2,500 credit to use for genuine Corvette parts. Mr.
Poster’s Corvette was returned missing several original items such as a gas
tank, carburetor and a transmission, and its original International Blue paint
scheme had been changed to silver. “We’re happy to help Mr. Poster restore his
long-lost love,” said Charles. “We understand what it’s like to fall in love
with a Corvette and to get it in your blood. Corvette enjoys a 70 percent
loyalty rate, which means 70 percent of people who buy a Corvette purchase
Mr. Poster had just purchased a 1974 Corvette prior to having his
stolen 1968 Corvette convertible returned and plans to restore the car, repaint
it blue and give it to his 17-year-old daughter.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Sunday morning’s paper contained this very timely article about perfectionist tendencies* in children, and how that much pressure can paralyze a person. It even touched on the Procrastinating Perfectionism displayed by Mr. Right!
"If your child is sitting and struggling and won't write a paragraph until
it seems perfectly done and they're crumpling and throwing it away and obsessing
about getting it this way or that, their anxiety may have crossed over the
line," he said.
Some children procrastinate and don't do schoolwork until the last
minute, so they can blame a low grade on a lack of time, instead of facing what
feels like a judgment of their ability.
Although, I do think his was late-onset perfectionism. I need a big fat government grant to study that one properly. Any takers?
*BTW: I have now 'edited' my posts four times to make them look just right.
Just when we forgot it was January with a string of 50 degree days, a snowstorm dumped a little over seven inches of snow by us. Fortunately, my new snow tires worked well and I wasn’t out in the worst of it. Didn’t go skiing, but did read a book, watch some DVDs and listened to a few CDs.
The Dead Connection by Charlie Price was good, should appeal to the YA crowd and could definitely be used in a classroom to demonstrate point of view and shifting narratives. Not the greatest, but OK.
Just started Stiff by Mary Roach and so far, I love it.
Have a Nice Day by Bon Jovi: I didn’t. From the sound of it, netiher did they. I would like my $9.98 back. Not a good effort.
Nickelback: All the Right Reasons – Awesome!!!! Perhaps their best effort. Mr. Right and I both gave this high marks. Great energy. Do not want my nickel back on this one.
Watched more of Arrested Development, Season One collection. Loved the line where the mother announces she wants to throw herself a lavish birthday party and Michael says, “Who doesn’t love a bicentennial?” I love how honest this family is with each other – while being dishonest. Incredible writing, excellent actors.
Audioslave Live in Cuba
Love the band, but do check out the documentary portion if you get the chance, very enlightening. Mr. Right and I both agree trade should be opened with Cuba, the cold war is so over (but not McCarthyism, sadly). The only thing I would have liked to see is the band getting to meet Castro. Now that would have been cool.
Ok, people – can anyone here please explain to me what part of ETHICAL stealing your spouses’ special sticky notes falls under? As detailed earlier, Mr. Must Get All Questions Right has been taking an on-line ethics course. He holes up with the computer for hours at a time, blocking my blogging, thus causing great distress to the masses who visit here daily seeking my wisdom.
For Christmas I received three little cute pads of Stik-Withit Brand notes with witty sayings on them like “Lets Make Dinosaurs Extinct”, “Use in case of Wardrobe Malfunction”, and my personal favorite, “What’s the use of happiness? It can’t buy you money.”
I walk into the office where Mr. Right is sweating out an assignment of write a biography of something something something. (He won’t tell me exactly what, since he says: “Do you really think you need to put this stuff on your blog?” Well, there’s the thanks I get for taking an interest in higher education.)
So what do I see? He’s opened the happiness package and is taking down little notes with a ball point pen!! All over my good stick-ums!! Oh, that’s real ethical! Stickys are for notes that need to be stuck somewhere. Mr. Right points out he would use them at work if it was the most handy item. Well, drive your employer into bankruptcy; see if I care, Mr. Ethics. Those postys were a gift. I was planning on using them for important messages like “VCR set! Do Not Change Channel” or “Buy Crickets”. Think I’ll now use them to mark “Mr. Right” on the food in the fridge most salmonella-suspect.
It never fails to amaze me how he loves little scraps of paper. Makes it that much easier to be unable to read your notes and more likely to lose them, I guess. So I make a big show of removing the notes from his grasp, giving him the post-it etiquette lecture and providing him with an old steno pad for notes. What A+ student doesn’t have a notebook? Oh yeah, I want this guy running my business. That million dollar quote? It’s on a sticky somewhere… oh, try looking on the bottom of Johnson’s shoe – that’s where our lunch order turned up one day.
Anyway, he had a paper due Saturday. That would mean submitted by midnight, a deadline he made by a full four minutes. He spent hours and hours and hours researching on line and preparing a paper. The instructor said in the syllabus that there would be a sample paper for guidance, but elsewhere under the ‘grading’ section, he wrote that at this level he did not feel an example was necessary. So Mr. Right overdid it as usual and went to submit his paper at 11:56 p.m. (he started sometime before 10 a.m. I think) where he found the sample paper in a drop down menu of the submittal screen – much too late to do anything about it. Ha! Serves you right, Sticky Abuser. Bet the teacher was going to affix a little sticky to your syllabus noting where the example was, but his wife had used his last one.
Not exactly the Spring Training Camp you had in mind?
Ozzie Guillen joked afterward that the biggest difference between having a green card and being a U.S. citizen is "now you cannot kick me out of this country."
Oooh, Ozzie. I hate to be the one to tell you, but...
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
My guess is A) none of the government-funded researchers have ever been incarcerated, or B) they are the same group whose
FBI procedures fail to find spy in own agency
January 17, 2006
A Stolen Love Is Found, 37 Years Down the Road
By Michael Wilson
Alan Poster had been going through a rough time that winter. A Brooklyn native and a 26-year-old guitar salesman, he had just divorced and moved from Queens to a 21st Street studio in Chelsea. He bought himself a flashy treat that he could barely afford but could not resist: a blue Corvette. Boy, I know that feeling. I was 25 and worked three jobs to save up enough
He had owned it for only two or three months when it was stolen from a parking garage on 23rd Street. It was Jan. 22, 1969. What trauma!
Years passed, and there were other cars, but he never forgot that 1968 Corvette. "Probably the only car I've ever really loved," Mr. Poster, now 63, said in an interview last week. "That car and my new life started together." I’ve loved all of my cars, but the Vette the most
The new life took him to California. Turns out, the car followed.
Almost 37 years after the Corvette was stolen, Mr. Poster got a call last month that it had been recovered, just days before it was supposed to be shipped to a buyer in Sweden. It was flagged during a routine Customs Service check of the vehicle identification number, sending two New York City detectives on a long-shot search through thousands of crime reports to connect the car to its first owner. Amazingly nice of them to pursue it.
"We can call this a miracle," Mr. Poster said. "I stand in the shower going, 'Why me?' Has anything like this ever happened to you?" Sniff! I’m getting all choked up here…
The car is to be returned to Mr. Poster today, at a news conference in Carson, Calif. It is silver now, with a red interior, and the engine was replaced at some point. Inexplicably, it has no transmission. "Up until this moment, I thought it was chopped up and shipped away," Mr. Poster said. "It's in great shape, I understand." He said he does not plan to drive it much. "I am going to be a collector of a Corvette." GASP! What do you mean, great shape? It has little value now! That poor baby!
The 1968 Corvette represented a breakthrough for Chevrolet, created in the so-called Mako Shark design and ushering in the third generation of Corvettes. There were 18,630 Corvette convertibles made that year. One of which sits in my garage…
One of those convertibles, painted International Blue, rolled out of the factory and to a dealer in Great Neck on Long Island on July 16, 1968. Mr. Poster paid $6,000 for the car a few months later, he said. This is the shade of blue my car is currently, although it is coded for British Racing Green
"I didn't have a lot of money," he said. "I went out on a limb to get this thing. It was an egocentric muscle car that just came out. Back then, Corvette was hot as heck. That was an absolute fantasy of mine." Sob! More Kleenex, please. This is so moving…
A 1968 Corvette in mint condition would be worth anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000 now, depending on the type of engine, according to Classic Corvettes and Convertibles in Tarpon Springs, Fla. Most of the 32 1968 Corvettes listed for sale yesterday on the Hemmings Motor News Web site were in that range, with some priced at more than $100,000. That’s for a big block. Ours aren’t so optioned.
He liked, in no particular order, to drive fast with the top down and impress girls. "I was dating back then," he said. "I used to drive up the West Side Highway to Jersey. Trips like that. For the little time I had it, it was fun." Joy is so fleeting.
On the night before the Corvette was stolen, Mr. Poster foiled an attempt to steal it from a curbside parking spot on the Upper West Side, he said. He was picking up a date and saw the car pulling away, but managed to pull the man out. "I let him go," he said, and he did not report the incident. The next night, a garage attendant went to get the Corvette, but returned and said it was gone. Mr. Poster did not have insurance against theft because he could not afford it, he said. He went years without owning another car. Well, what part of no insurance sounded like a good idea? (Or owning one in NYC, for that matter) Hello? That’s like child endangerment. You can afford years of payments with nothing to show for it? But not insurance? Didn’t think this thru, Mr. I ♥ NY, now did you?
"It was a wake-up call," he said. "It made me believe you can't fall in love with things. It was kind of an interesting awakening." Well, there’s a little epiphany you can forget me ever having. (Holding down intercom to garage) Isn’t that right sweetie? Beep! Beep!
The police report, dated Jan. 22, 1969, offered little hope that Mr. Poster was ever going to see his Corvette again. Oh, but they were incredibly concerned and polite, I’ll bet. Right after taking that $200 bribe from the parking garage attendant who said it vanished before his shift.
It stated, in full: "Comp reports that at the t/p/o his car below was taken from the above premises in some unknown manner." Did it have the anti-theft option? Or was that too costly as well?
If it seemed - full as it was with police abbreviation - that the officer was in a hurry, there was good reason: With 1969 just 22 days old, Mr. Poster's was the 6,620th car reported stolen in New York City so far that year, and one of more than 78,000 by year's end. On average, about 215 vehicles were stolen in the city every day - more than four times the current rate. Sheesh! No wonder insurance was so high. The subway is starting to look good.
He eventually left New York for California, founding the Ace Products Group, a company that makes cases for cameras and guitars, drums and other musical instruments. He settled in Petaluma, north of San Francisco. He is a single father with a 17-year-old daughter. He drives a Mercedes. I hope the little princess gets her hands on the Vette and comes visits me so we can go for a cruise together.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau keeps a database of stolen vehicles, a database that is routinely checked before a vehicle is exported. On Dec. 7 last year, Customs checked three cars being sold by a collector in Long Beach, Calif. One of them had been reported stolen in New York City on Jan. 22, 1969. No further information was available. No name of the owner, no address, not even a police precinct or borough. Lucky even that showed up as it was pre-computer-database info.
The case was given to two detectives in the auto crimes division in Queens, Cliff Bieder, 44, and William Heiser, 41. They went to police headquarters in Lower Manhattan, and to Room 300, the daunting records room, to search on microfilm. If they had not found the report by Jan. 1, the car would have been shipped to Sweden, they said. Where it would have been retro-fitted with a can opener, spoon and screwdriver and painted Neutrality Beige. Oh, wait, that’s Switzerland.
"It was the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack, that report," Detective Heiser said. "One of the guys bet us a steak dinner we wouldn't find it." Can I offer you guys some venison?
With 44 years' experience between them, the detectives spent four days in Room 300, squinting at fine print - "Our eyes were hurting," Detective Bieder said - when Detective Heiser found the report on Dec. 23. He told his partner. "I thought he was going to pass out," he said. I think we owners should chip in and get them something nice for their efforts. Like a slow squad car to chase speeders with or something. This was far beyond the call of duty, and I’m guessing one or both were car enthusiasts to make that type of effort.
Finding Mr. Poster was easier. The detectives tracked him through the buyer of his last house in the New York metropolitan region, who said he lived in California. Mr. Poster said Detective Bieder called him at his office.
"He said, 'You had a car stolen in '69? A Corvette? What color was it?'" Mr. Poster recalled. "I said, 'Blue.' He said, 'We have your car.' " How did they know from that?
Less is known about what happened to the Corvette over the past 36 years than what did not happen to it: apparently no one ever tried to register or insure it, the detectives said, or the same flag from the database would have surfaced. Amazing.
"It's almost like it was just put somewhere and then pulled out a year ago and put up for sale," he said. The man who was selling the car to the buyer in Sweden is not suspected of any wrongdoing, the detectives said. The detectives are trying to trace the car's history backward. "It could have been through so many hands already," Detective Bieder said. "It's hard to find who's culpable." But fun to try and find out
Auto thefts in New York have dropped sharply, to 17,875 last year, the police said. The detectives have been gloating over their success since the day they found the report. "We came back and said after the new year, we'd be eating steak dinner," Detective Heiser said. "Somewhere nice. Not Sizzler." They could char some steaks over at the Ground Zero Café…
The whole affair put Mr. Poster in a reflective mood. So sad. Yet happy. No, sad, no, happy….
"Things don't happen by accident," he said. "Things come back to me. I have no idea why. Maybe it all comes back to you at some point."
Zen and the Art of Corvette Recovery?
Monday, January 16, 2006
I guess we always admire those with qualities we lack in ourselves – I mean, what other explanation can I offer for Mr. Right’s fascination with the TV show 24?
Does Jack Bauer have time to be a Procrastinating Perfectionist? Of course not. He needs to make lightening-quick decisions based on scant evidence in the blink of an eye. Which also begs the question: is the book Blink on the best seller list because people buy it with out thinking about it? Or because it’s good?
Anyhoo, while he’s wasting precious study time watching TV, I snuck in here to do a quick post. I’m too tired to get into the whole Million Little Pieces thing, but I promise to address it soon.
Saw a ‘statistic’ today that I just can’t believe. It said that over 80% of dual income households use some form of cleaning services. I find that impossible to believe because A) many homes with two working adults aren’t doing it to turn around and spend the money on a maid service and B) it was a book on how to start your own cleaning business.
There was also a book on starting your own coin-operated laundry. This is a dream I’ve always wanted to pursue! I’d call it “Happy Laundry – The only thing we agitate is your wash!”.
There’d be little faces printed on the machines and a real fun atmosphere. Monday night would be family night, with movies for the kids and free balloons. And lots of pinball machines – Heck, mom has some quarters, doesn’t she? Tuesdays could be Singles Night. I’d dub it Suds and Studs and have a Ladies Wash their Unmentionables Free promotion or something…Or I could call it Unmatched Sock night! Wednesdays could feature Lint Sculpture Contests and Funniest Thing in a Pocket. Maybe I could even get a liquor license for Saturday night Suds n’ more Suds mixers. Sunday could be AA night where your meeting token gets you a free dry or something…. It could be huge. I just know it!
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Blake Ranking wrote "I did it" on his blurty.com journal three days after the October 2004 crash that caused a friend's death and left another seriously injured. He had previously told investigators he remembered nothing of the crash and little of its aftermath.
Disclaimer: This Blog is for Entertainment Purposes Only. As Al Franken said, parody is protected speech, whether the object of that parody gets it or not.
Blake was sitting in the back seat as he and then-17-year-old friends Jason Coker and Nicole Robinette left a party when he pulled the steering wheel as a prank, causing the car to somersault off the road. Ho Ho Ho. What a stitch. Let’s party with him!
His blood alcohol content after the crash measured 0.185, more than double the legal limit.
Robinette, who was driving and had no traces of drugs or alcohol in her system, was seriously injured. Coker lay in a coma at Orlando Regional Medical Center until he died Jan. 11
That’s refreshing, the driver was clean and trying to get her junky friend home safe. Nice to know no good deed goes unpunished.
"It was me who caused it. I turned the wheel. I turned the wheel that sent us off the road, into the concrete drain ..." Ranking wrote in the blog. "How can I be fine when everyone else is so messed up?" The universe has a heck of a sense of humor
Ranking later retracted his words, deleting them from the blog and penning an explanation.
"People say I 'contradict' myself since I 'already admitting pulling the wheel.' I didn't 'ADMIT' anything. I went on a guilt trip, and I posted the story that I WAS TOLD . . . Nicole told me I pulled the wheel, I believed her," he wrote. Peer pressure and not thinking for yourself seems to be a theme here, eh?
Still, the confession forced him to lead guilty Monday to manslaughter charges. He could have gotten 15 years in prison, but defense lawyer John Spivey and Assistant State Attorney Julie Greenberg recommended five years in prison, 10 years of probation and a permanent license suspension. This is nothing compared to the pain and suffering (heck, death) of his friends
Circuit Judge Mark Hill agreed to impose the sentence Dec. 28.
Greenberg said she had planned to use the blog as evidence, a first for the office covering Lake, Citrus, Hernando, Marion and Sumter counties, but almost certainly not the last.
"Anytime a defendant confesses, that is very relevant and important," she said.
But I’m still not comfortable with this whole ‘go after the blog’ line of thinking. Little that is posted on personal websites is true. Just ask a few of those poor guys who thought they were meeting a hot fourteen year old girl only to find a police officer had been emailing them for months. At what point is it entrapment? No underage sex took place, only the promise of a meeting. I predict we will see some very different laws enacted when today’s tweens are the law-makers. They are growing up in an environment of fantasy video games and chat rooms that allow them to pose as anyone they wish. Would an online confession hold up in the courtroom of the future? I say no.
Ranking posted the lyrics to Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" the day of Coker's funeral, but prosecutors said his remorse was not always apparent in his blogs, which included entries railing at Coker's mother because she asked him to stop calling and coming to the hospital.
"He lost the best friend he ever had," Spivey said in Ranking's defense.
Ken Coker, Jason's father, said his family never wanted prison time for Ranking, but they wished Ranking would stop writing about them because they felt the blog was insensitive.
He said Ranking would benefit more from psychiatric counseling.
"There's not enough forgiveness in the world," he said.
There’s so much talk now of employers checking out employee blogs and warning college students of the repercussions of having their on-line retellings of beer party exploits come back to haunt them.
Well, wild partying and mediocre college performance sure didn’t hurt the president, now did it? As for the employer checks, it is just one more example of Big Brother with nothing more productive to do. I’m not speaking of anyone who gives away the secret spices from their fast food job online, but getting fired for (without naming corporations or people) complaining about the boss and the perks they accept. Can you really hunt down and fire everyone critical of your organization? How bad of an employer are you? What of verbal comments? You’ve got the resources to hunt down an IP address but Sally complaining in the break room to a captive audience is OK?
I really take issue with pre-employment searches. Why? Because really, what are they searching for? Nothing positive. Just a reason to not hire a candidate. Can a company fire an employee for their religion? If they come to work and preach, disrupt the work environment, etc. you can certainly argue it is not conducive to business and should be stopped, and I’d be right there with you. However, should they fire you because someone saw you go into a certain church and told the boss? That would be discrimination, if you could ever prove it. Would they look the other way if you were a productive employee, even if you had some little “undesirable” points against you? Possibly.
But to run a background check on you (easy as Google) and decide not to hire, well, there’s a line that is very thin indeed. Pre-emptive discrimination. All those questions it’s illegal to ask during an interview could be easily on display. Candidate A writes about how busy she is with three children in ballet, soccer and karate. Don’t hire her, pick B who writes about every Star Trek episode. He has time on his hands.
Oh, so don’t put it in writing. Well if you’re an anarchist, that’s good advice. Or is it? Should it matter what you do outside of work? What if you’re running a website critical of community policy regarding swimming pool ordinances? Think an employer would see that as a real positive? Look how erudite and organized that person is! What web design! What community involvement? No, of course not. You’d be seen as a malcontent that doesn’t shirk from a fight. Someone who might know their legal rights and invoke them! Don’t hire that loose cannon!
Some halls of academia consider blogs a drain on time that should be spent on scholarship. Well, a family or a passion for golf could be considered such as well. Why the discrimination against we who like to type? Is every waking moment owed to your employer?
So here we sit, a few bloggers on the fringes of anonymity, typing away against injustice and not using our real names. Not that it matters. The government already knows my computer ID, listens to my calls and tracks how many sinus headaches I get a year. What next?
Greatest (Weather) January Ever, Day 15!!
Here's someone who knows a few things about Satan
Long time no post! It’s been a mess here, with Mr. Right taking an online course and monopolizing the computer. I mean, I could write without an internet connection, but then I would still need to research and create links before making a final post, and I haven’t tried that yet. So for now, my only post day is Sunday. Sorry. I will try harder in the future.
As I may have mentioned, Mr. All Questions Absolutely Right obsesses over every test, quiz, grade, teacher feedback, etc. Why he wants a double major in CIS and Business Management (with a minor in Overachieving) is beyond me. He agonizes over each and every assignment and is devastated when he fails to get 100%.
Reminds me of the line in the third book of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban about the Bogarts. A Bogart takes the form of the thing you are most afraid of, and Ron teases Hermione, “What would it look like for you? A test paper with only 9 out of 10 right?’
I just love it when he argues the instructor is wrong. My pleas of ‘Why don’t you just become a professor yourself?’ go unanswered. Right now he’s agonizing over his first ‘discussion board’ score. It’s a low B!!! Horrors! I said perhaps the instructor wants you to aim higher, you know, give out a low grade to start. Mr. A+++ didn’t want to hear it. Do they give out Valedictorians in Anal Retentiveness? Whatever.
Let’s see. I need to mention so many things! Did you hear about the stampede in Saudi Arabia where some 345 people were trampled to death making a pilgrimage known as the stoning of the devil ritual? All they need to do in order to prevent future tragedies is put up a few signs along the way to the pillars. Something along the lines of the children’s game Simon Says. You know, like: Allah Says No Pushing! Allah Says Stay on the Ramp! Declare Jihad!... Oh, I didn’t say Allah Says!! George W. Bush would solve this by posting a sign that says Satan Wins if you Push. Oh, that would work. Not.
Perhaps you’ve heard about Governor Rod Blagojevich’s suggestion we add Keno to legalized gambling in Illinois. This from the same brilliant mind who gave money to rebuild a church, a clear violation of the separation of church and state, but I digress. I think it’s a stupid idea. The amount of money spent on gamboling is pretty finite in most cases, and I think Keno would bring little in the way of new dollars at best. Now I’ve been to Vegas enough times to know that it is extremely tempting to play a few rounds of Keno while waiting for your meal in a restaurant. It’s only a few dollars and very convenient. The odds are horrible, but so are the odds for the lotto. It’s just the ease. I didn’t have to walk into a gas station (love that pay-at-the pump) or remember while at the grocery store. (Heck, when I’m at the grocery store I’m taking a huge gamble with my life in the canned tuna section, why waste another dollar?) Still, Social Security checks are shrinking, so even addicted gamblers will just end up dividing their dollars between the options.
What is needed is a new game that would tempt people like myself – not really interested in gambling, but a bit of an armchair quarterback - into betting. How better than by betting on Illinois politics? Handicap every public figure and post odds on a big tote board in front of the capitol. Chances of the Secretary of State being indicted on fraud? 5 to 7. Odds of the Governor being recalled? 2 to 1. Odds of Betty Maltese being released early? 14 to 1. Chances of Tollways ever becoming freeways as they were promised: 15 billion to one. Odds that Lotto money will ever make education self-sustaining: 32 trillion to .5. Chances of Lincoln spinning in his grave? Even money.
I keep hearing that since the advent of Quincy, many young people desire to go into the field of forensics. A flip through the channels yields tons of shows like CSI using science to solve crimes. Why not a survivor-type reality show that uncovers the dirty dealings that college students fall prey to as they compete for an ever-increasingly-difficult-to-obtain spot in crime solving and forensic schools? They could be killing each other for the prized slots, and using their knowledge to cover up their heinous deeds. Kane Citizen suggested the title “Stiff Competition”. I’m leaning towards Dying for Acceptance.
This brings up a good question: should couples watch shows like The Staircase? Is it just asking for trouble to let your spouse see how not to make common mistakes when killing your mate? Mr. Right and I have already had that little talk. All I have to say is, if Bucky ever falls of the mantle and impales me to death causing an ocean of blood over everything except the Ugly Couch, I want you to re-open that investigation! It was no accident!!
On the heels of the announcement that doctors admit most cough remedies sold over the counter don’t work, and they don’t care enough to address it (this could go either way: doctors could act as patient advocates and push for research to see if the over-the counter stuff could even be harmful, or they could just do a big self-serving ad campaign called See Your Doctor for The Good Stuff) comes a new law restricting the sale of certain decongestants. Seems many pseudoephedrine-based cold pills can be melted down to make meth. In order to purchase the pills, you must now go to the pharmacy counter (this restricts sale hours) where they are locked up. You must then produce ID and sign for the pills. Oh, great. Now Big Brother knows just how drippy my nose is. Stop the insanity! You want to regulate things that can be used in a harmful fashion but have legitimate medicinal purposes for innocent sufferers? Fine. Then legalize marijuana. Some cancer patients really need it, and the efficacy of pills is not the same.
Headline in the Business Section: Can the Camaro concept save GM? Excuse me? How about firing the idiots who cancelled it in the first place? GM is moments away from bankruptcy. Should I order a new Corvette now? What if…
Front Page Headline: Nation’s Phones Tapped Government analyzing massive amount of calls, e-mail traffic. Who does George W. Bush think he is? My employer? I'd love to look into my file to see my 'ties with Al Quaeda. Yeah. Right. I thought so.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
I've found my calling! Raising Mini-Cattle! These cute little (about a third of the size of a regular steer) critters need little acreage, less food and produce enough beef to feed a family of four for six months.
According to Falster Farms,
Mini Registered Hereford beef cattle are only about 42" in height but produce upwards to 70% of the rib-eye area of animals twice their size and yield smaller, right-sized steaks! These miniatures are the most efficient, absolutely the cutest and tastiest cows available. Gentle and easy to care for, these little cows are ideal for small acreages, companion programs, and family "freezer locker" operations.
Yum. Now may I borrow $17K to get started?
Gotta love the story about the recent vandalism at a Fraternite Notre Dame retreat. Read full background and incident accounts here and here.
First off, residents opposed the religious order's plans for their 65 acre site, so it could be argued the sect is a victim of backlash from the decision to allow them to develop the property. Boy, do I know how the neighbors feel!
McHenry County Board member Barbara Wheeler said Tuesday that she believed that the vandalism might be the work of malicious adults whose religious beliefs clash with those of the order.
Sorry, Barbara, I don't believe it has anything to do with religion. Perhaps they are disliked for their land use plan? In that case, the order is not alone in culpability. It goes to the zoning and city/county boards that approve such use. The only dissentersrs in the decision were those county board members who lived nearby.
It certainly could be a few teens causing destruction. Yet you must admit; when some school busses were vandalized in December, police collared suspects within two days. Where are our suspects now?
The charges could range from a felony hate crime to a misdemeanor charge of property damage, McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney Thomas Carroll said. A conspiracy charge could be a possibility, Carroll said, if multiple people were involved.
Conspiracy theory? Hello, Dan Brown?
Secondly, the Catholic Church, whom the Fraternite claims to be affiliated with, disavowed this bunch long ago. Amy Wellborn's take here...
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with splintering off, just that tensions continue to exist internally and externally. Was there more to the graffiti than meets the eye??
What of the sect's refusal of help from the concerned public? Were they really awaiting an insurance adjustment? Had someone called Statues-R-Us to see what solvents could be used on fiberglass? Or were they just being, well, French?
"Even with the best intentions in the world, they [should have been] respectful of private property," the Rev. Philippe Marie said. "This is the United States, not Russia or something."
Um, have you read the fine print of the Patriot Act lately?
Finally, I'm no corrosive chemical genius myself, but paint remover on a colored statue? What were these people thinking? Good intentions? Or a vigilante posse of make-worsers?
Stay tuned for another episode of 'Goo-Gone Gone Wild!'
Have to give credit where credit is due! Walked into the local Jewel-Osco store the other day (motto: Thank you, Wal-Mart, for busting that annoying Baggers Union) and lo and behold! What to my wondering eyes did appear but a little canister of Disinfecting Wipes to use on your cart handle! Wow! They read my mind. Or blog. At any rate, this was most welcome. This brings up a great new gift book for that annoying co-worker: The Hypochondriac’s Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have.
Drinking problem sinks Liberal leader
Items compiled from Tribune news services
Published January 8, 2006
LONDON, BRITAN -- The leader of Britain's opposition Liberal Democrats resigned under pressure from the party Saturday, days after he acknowledged battling a drinking problem.
Charles Kennedy had initially resisted stepping down despite calls for him to quit from nearly half of the party's lawmakers, saying the Liberal Democrats' rank and file still backed him.
He changed course Saturday, saying he was resigning immediately and would not run in the leadership elections he had announced Thursday.
"In all of this, the interests of our party have got to come first, that's where my personal, my political and my constitutional duty lies," Kennedy said at a news conference at Liberal Democrats' headquarters in London.
Kennedy, 46, acknowledged for first time Thursday that he had sought medical help for his drinking.
See the musical Wicked
Become Editor of the Chicago Tribune*
Find out how fast my new car is
You know that supposed 8% of humankind that is using up 40% of the Earth’s natural resources? Work on getting that other 92% down to a more manageable 96%
Move to a planet where they appreciate me
Get A Life!
*(something tells me there’s a corner office empty since they ran '12 found alive in coal mine’ and repeated Tuesday’s comic page on Wednesday in the January 4 paper)
Here’s a story about Jay Leno driving a 2006 Corvette Z06 as the Daytona 500 Pace Car.
Corvette has been selected as pace cars for races more than any other model, and for a mere $60K, it’s nice to know it could win the race as well:
Interestingly, the Corvette Z06’s 505-horsepower (377 kw) output is actually more than the power produced by the race cars that will compete in the Daytona 500 – a first for a pace car. This is because of the unique "restrictor plate" rule established for the Daytona and Talladega , Ala. racetracks. On these 2.5-mile-long super speedways, the restrictor plate reduces airflow into the engine to limit horsepower and keep race car speeds below 200 mph. With a restrictor plate, racing engine power is reduced from about 750 horsepower to about 450 horsepower.
As I always say, you can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much horsepower…
Regarding that paint job:
The Corvette Z06 Daytona 500 wears a unique paint scheme, inspired by the hot-to-cool color transition of a space capsule entering Earth’s atmosphere at a high rate of speed. The paint scheme is carried out with an elaborate, interlocking scallops design – a twist on hot rod-style flames – that blends "hot" Lemon Drop yellow at the nose of the Corvette with Lemon Glow, Amber Ecstasy, Blazing Copper and Hot Poppy. The colors culminate with a cool Sapphire Trance blue color at the rear of the vehicle. DuPont, the sponsor of Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Monte Carlo, supplied the colors, which are from the company’s "Hot Hues" line of automotive paint.
I’m back! Seems I only have time to blog on the weekends, and this will be true more than ever as Mr. Right-as-soon–as-I-get-another-A takes an on-line course in Business Ethics* and ties up the connection further. Personally, after hearing his story about how he tried to pay for the course at the last possible moment (in order for the credit card billing to be applied to the next month) and encountered a computer glitch, I can’t help but think a course in Business Organization is in order here. How this type A++ personality can wait until two days before a course begins to order a book, register, etc. yet still succeed is beyond me. Heck, it’s an ethics course. Why didn’t he just kite them a check?
So what sucked up my time this weekend? None other than The Staircase, a trial documentary loaned to my by KaneCitizen. (Read his comments here.) As for myself, I think Michael Peterson is innocent... But I would check into his buddy’s death in Grenada, just in case it turns out to be tied to a hit by a gay soldier of fortune… I mean, just to be on the safe side.
I still have season one of Arrested Development to view! Why Fox couldn’t keep this on, or NBC purchase it (after what they spent on Joey, why not go for a proven award winner and build the fan base?) is beyond me. Hopefully, they will find a home on Showtime. Which I’m too cheap to subscribe to, but at least I can purchase these season compilations after the fact.
Trying to fit in some print/audio books in between all the other insanity as well.
My personal picks for the top two books I enjoyed in 2005 are Freakonomics, (author blog: freakonomics.com) and A Short History of Nearly Everything by one of my favorite authors of all times, Bill Bryson.
Another blogger of note who had her postings compiled into a wonderful book, Baghdad Burning, is Riverbend, be sure to visit her here: riverbendblog.blogspot.com
I also read Teacher Man by Frank McCourt. It’s good, but nothing touches Angela’s Ashes.
I’m currently working on What Every American Should Know About Who’s Really Running the World by Melissa Rossi. It’s a nice follow-up to her What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World. Preachin' to the choir....
Next on my list is Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. Hope it’s not too dead. Would it kill me to read it? I’ve only had it lying around for about a year. Rigor is setting in…
In audio, I’m enjoying Harry Potter (currently on book three) and have also enjoyed Kira Kira and the Mistmantle Chronicles. Well, Mistmantle was a little squirrelly for me. So Harry Potter wins, hands down.
Hey! Only one reader has weighed in on the Dewey vs. Dilbert debate! C’mon folks, let’s see some comments! Still unable to fit the cartoon feed into my sidebar, despite some 'pretty close but no cigar' moments. Will continue the quest! Until then, scroll to bottom.
*Final Exam: “State the following with a straight face: During my time in Congress, I have always acted in an ethical manner within the rules of our body and the laws of our land.”
Monday, January 02, 2006
Speaking of the news imatating the Simpsons:
A Nebraska fisherman caught a rainbow trout with two mouths last month, and said he plans to eat the deformed fish. (See a picture and read story here.) Scarier still is the fact that Don Gablehouse, head of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is quoted as saying
"It's probably a genetic deformity, I don't think there's anything wrong with it"
Um, excuse me, but external factors, like mercury poisoning and radiation can CAUSE genetic deformities...
I know I'll sleep better knowing the head of Nebraska's wildlife department sees nothing wrong with eating deformed fish. Or having lakes full of them.I'm not the only one who tapped into that line of reasoning, as evidenced by these bloggers.
Ever wonder what happened to Alistair Cooke? In a story straight from a Simpsons episode with Doctor Nick, he may be in a truck driver or waitress near you. Seems his body parts may have been sold for profit, without his family’s consent. I just want to go on record now: please sell my tissues for as much as you can possibly get. I’m worth way more than $7K! What good will my organs do in a pine box? A low mileage liver can give someone a second chance. Or is that a last call?
I’m adding a new link to the blogroll, the Dilbert Blog. Creator Scott Adams is one of the funniest and most intelligent guys writing today, be it his blog, books or comic strip. I love Dogbert, in case you couldn't tell. Some of his recent posts invite debate about torture, (Would you resist torture at any cost, even if it meant the loss of NYC?) good works, (Who is holier, Mother Teresa or Bill Gates) and religion (If Santa Claus fought Jesus, who would win?). The responses get pretty wild of course, and Adams is always above the fray. Despite reader’s misguided attempts to discern his standing on an issue, Adams just does the questioning. Why doesn’t he run for some office? As Catbert would say, Purr, Purr.
While we’re mentioning great blogs and comic strips - (Notice how the two go together? I need to dust off that Emergency Waitress graphic novel I started…) Another site to try is OverdueMedia. Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum have created a wonderful strip about a public library. I’ve met them and am impressed by their decision to give their strip away to subscribers. I am featuring their daily strip here and hope you will support them by visiting their site and purchasing licenced merchandise. They are financed by book and merchandise sales, both of which I heartily endorse! All three books are great, and my Mad About Reading Cow T-Shirt is a real hit at the health club. Do check them out!
This all just begs the question: If Dewey took on Dilbert at Tetris, who would win?
I realize that people all over the world have bigger problems, but frankly I can’t feel their pain. For some reason I only feel my own. I’m lucky that way.
Dwelling on my own pain here as developers threaten my homestead from every side. I’m really afraid we’ll lose the Ponderosa this time, paw…
Spoke with a Land Conservancy representative today and discussed our strategy. We will attend the annexation meeting tomorrow, but I know how useful that will be. This ties in to a great movie I saw yesterday, The Weeping Camel. Thanks to KaneCitizen for loaning me many good movies of late, a few of which I will mention here.
The Story of the Weeping Camel was a great look at life on the steppes of the Gobi. I highly recommend checking this out; it’s a heartwarming look at people eking out a living in a harsh clime. Of course, the scene that resonated for me was the one where a tiny clan of sustenance shepherds gathered to offer a Buddhist prayer emphasizing the need to treat the land with respect; not over-develop it, as they were not the last generation on earth. The camera then pans about twelve thousand miles of nothing… No trees. No houses. No Water Parks, Affordable Housing or Condo Conversions. Just howling wind, dry grasses and a few mountains on the horizon. Can I join these folks? Seems they are worried about poor land use policies too. Perhaps we could draft an ordinance together to keep out the mini-bikes seen in the next town over…
Oh, and there’s a camel. She gives birth and rejects her cute little white calf. Mr. Right started making animal husbandry suggestions at one point. As if the guy with the violin wouldn’t succeed? These people have been raising camels since long before Genghis Khan was whelped. I think they know what they’re doing…Not to worry. It works out happily.
As heartwarming as the story was, it ended on a note of corrupting Western influence… in the final scene; the family gets a TV and satellite dish. Just what they need after a hard day of spinning camel wool into rope – an episode of Desperate Mongolian Housewives Gone Wild.
Another good flick is The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. It’s a fascinating study of just how long a social misfit can successfully exist on the fringes of a flock. And there’s some cools stuff about birds, as well.
Loved The Lost World (silent, 1925, but I think I saw the 1929 version - KC?). Read a great interview with David Shepard here. Stop action animation at its finest and lots of errors to point out – what could be better? My favorite faux pax was when they identified a leopard as a jaguar. I could certainly do without the racisim and sexism in these old movies – the ‘screaming blonde’ archetype is wearying. (Note to self: write a dinosaur movie where the beautiful woman is feeding her annoying travelmates to the dinos) Ever notice how every island that time forgot has dinosaurs from every era all smooshed together? At least in Jurassic Park it was the intentional work of a mad scientist with no regard for scientific restraint. Speaking of…
What do you make of the news that Snuppy is a fraud? How disappointing. The next thing you know they’ll discover man never landed on the moon. But we should pour billions into pre-emptively attacking any large naturally-occuring satellites just in case...
Speaking of conspiracies…here’s just a little proof I’m not so crazy after all – it seems that some 1.100 people were given fake flu shots.
A) it happened in Texas
B) it involves ExxonMobil
C) innocents were taken advantage of, and their health put at risk
Another entry for the Wildlife Gone Wild file:
A surfer was attacked by a Great White Shark off the coast of Portland and credits watching the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week for teaching him how to react in such a situation. As an avid fan of Shark Week (who roots for the sharks, of course) I applaud their efforts to educate and inform the public while making it very clear it is humans who are trespassing in the shark’s domain. This is also my philosophy on spiders, a creature I do not like. If I am outside, I leave the spider alone or vacate the area. If I find it in my living room, all bets are off.