Sunday, December 31, 2006

Top Ten List Or...


What it says: “A National Preserve of Documentary Films about American Roots Cultures
streamed with essays about the traditions and film making. The site includes transcriptions, study and teaching guides, suggested readings, and links to related websites.”

What I found: It is a look back at the past. You can get lost in the different videos.


What it says:NPR (National Public Radio) is an internationally acclaimed producer and distributor of noncommercial news, talk, and entertainment programming.”

What I found: Faces behind the voices of “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” my favorite talk shows. Full of NPR information and extra NPR information if you are a NPR fan.


What it says: “…a radio Internet service that wants a conversation with you.”

What I found: A free radio Internet radio that you will love for sure.


What is says: “by the numbers it means that 80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs.”

What I found: Work until you find out what it is you like to do. This site is Quite interesting if you are a writer or a burgeoning entrepreneur.


What it says: “Top-100 essential downloads of free software & freeware for Windows XP.”

What I found: Free shareware programs for XP. Especially FREE virus scanners. WARNING: Do not download programs you do not know how to use! I found out the hard way.


What it says: “HAIL FOAMY!”

What I found: A neurotic potty mouth squirrel rants about everything. This site is funny as heck. The squirrel really does have a potty mouth watch his toons at your own peril!


What it says:Channel surf the Internet with StumbleUpon! Discover great websites,
videos, pictures and more — all according to your interests.”

What I found: Stumble will keep you rooted to your computer chair until you have butt cramps. It is an Internet roulette wheel taking you to random websites according to the interest you pick. However it is best to have the FireFox browser first before you install this program.

What it says: “Make money from your blog.”

What I found: Long read but very, very informative.


What it says:No matter how much you love your job, you can't work for 10 hours straight. That’s why there's Futility Closet — 2,000 anecdotes, epigrams, illusions, and wonders; puzzles, prodigies, sublimities and horrors. Read a few and get back to work. We'll keep finding more.”

What I found: It is a literal merry-go-round of oddities that will “un-bore” you if there could ever be such a word.

What it says: “The award-winning Web browser is now faster, more secure, and fully customizable to your online life. With FireFox 2, we’ve added powerful new features that make your online experience even better.”

What I found: This is a highly customizable web browser that you can add themes to, and all sorts of unique extensions. FireFox comes with pop-up blocker and will TELL you if you are running an illegal script or about to download content from an unknown host. Download this browser today.

This was just a small list of sites I frequented daily during 2006.

Have a Happy New Year and be safe!!!!


Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam Saturday

I was listening to CNN this morning while dressing for work. Between sips of coffee and packing my bags I listened to a guest who was commenting that Saddam should only be executed by a stable Iraqi government, who has put down the insurgency and rebuilt the infrastructure of Iraq. Because, in his opinion, anything less would have tragic consequences. Now just a few minutes ago there was a breaking news alert on Yahoo that stated Saddam will be executed on Saturday December 30th 2006. Somehow in all our democratic glory and daily filial sacrifices to the God of all things stupid we still are not getting the “memo”.

As we all know (the ones that are not in denial that is ) the present Iraqi government does not run Iraq. The insurgency runs Iraq. There has to be something said about making an evil despot a martyr. Haven’t we realized that the Ba'thists and Saddam loyalist are not gone, and that the Shiite and Sunni will fight even harder to rid of one another? Tip-toeing across Iraqi borders will be nefarious power brokers who will try to side with any insurgency leader or Imam that might potentially gain power. Let us not forget we were friends of Saddam in the war against Iran. So yes it is quite possible. Did we guess who will be directly in the middle of this mess? I am not a harbinger of doom…but geesh where did our common sense go? I am not in anyway saying Saddam should not be executed, after all, I along with another 150,000 service members kicked him out of Kuwait in 1991. It was there I saw Saddam’s atrocities first hand, and yes he is ruthless as they say he is. But we should at least let him live until this mess called “Iraqi Freedom” is resolved then it can be death by rusty bull-dozier. I don't care.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sincere Apology

Updating a blog is hard work. Missing a day is just like cheating on a diet. One day turns into twelve days and soon your belly has consumed your waist line. (Actually the diet thing happened also) Then your readers become past readers and your blog joins the other tens of thousand of blogs in that infernal holding pattern. For this I am sorry. I have missed juicy opportunities to point out public hilarity and political transgressions. I could have done the “I told you so” about Donald Rumsfeld or the “I told you so” about the Dems in the House (but I didn’t know they would take the Senate also). I could have blogged two thousand words alone about the look on the Presidents face when his party lost power. I could have joined the thousands of bloggers in chastising Kramer about his racist tirade (that would have been a good read I promise). I could have blogged about the Saadam death sentence being handed down, even though when the Iraqi government finally does hang him---holy…immortal…hell will break loose. It’s that whole puppet-government-hangs-beloved-dictator-in-home-country kinda-thing. I really do not want to turn this apology into a slobbering Jimmy Swagger-like event with tears and lots of snot. But I do feel that way because as a writer I let my own ego get in the way. “Maybe tomorrow I would say, maybe tomorrow.” But as you know tomorrow is never promised. So that’s why I got started back today.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Do Not Forget

After all the hype of the midterm elections has died down I am finally able to make my own statement about the butt whooping the Republicans took. I know that there is a lot of work to be done. I know that there is a general consensus amongst voters that the war in Iraq is of the utmost importance. But what I am not clear on is how the Democrats are going to resolve the Iraq nightmare issue. Nancy Pelosi was quoted as saying that in her first 100 hours during speakership she would “push for action implementing all 9/11 Commission recommendations on national security, raising the minimum wage to $7.25, eliminating corporate subsidies for oil companies, allowing the government to negotiate Medicare drug prices, imposing new restrictions on lobbyists, cutting interest rates on college loans and supporting embryonic stem-cell research.” However I don’t think one Democratic voter in America wanted to hear that first.

Before Donald Rumsfeld got booted, but after the election was over with, the general voting consensus was to end the bloodshed in Iraq. The country has spoken and it is agreed that enough is enough. Americans will eventually deal with all the liberal aspects of government that the Republicans did not cover. And they will deal with those juicy tax cuts for the rich. But really we would like to hear first from Madam Speaker is how the improvised explosive devices, sectarian violence and rising U.S combat casualties will be dealt with. I have searched and searched and don’t have one snippet of information on how this is to be achieved. I know that this comment is early, but it keeps the mental juices running so we won’t forget why we voted.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Fallen Preachers and The Price of Power

Reverend Ted Haggard, the president of a 30 million member association and spiritual leader of a 14,000 member New Life Church, admitted to purchasing methamphetamine because he was curious. He has denied allegations of homosexual activity with a gay man who gave him a massage(s)and he has done it again. However this blogger who is old enough to remember Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Jones and David Koresh…is far from surprised. Here is the kicker, the longer we wait the more the Haggard story will unfold.

Spiritual advisers including Ted Haggard are men and women first. They are not endowed with the power to walk on water, throw lightning bolts or request the plagues of Moses. They will continue to have their faults. These imperfect individuals are not gatekeepers of my salvation, but the brunt of my jokes and if I ever do attend church I would request from my pastor a background check, a copy of his last drug screen and proof of residence. It's called trust but verify.

A British historian named Lord Acton said it best, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Mind you, not all of the spiritual leaders are corrupt. But in my opinion there are quite a few. I could start counting but I would reach my personal blog word limit before I stopped. And the debauchery is not new, because as a kid growing up in the Deep South, I remember over hearing that there were two people who you didn’t let in your house: Insurance Salesmen and Preachers, because one would steal your money and the other your money and your honey [that’s honey in the figurative term, not beekeepers honey for all you northerners.]

Personally I have my own religion I have detailed in an earlier blog. So I don’t even flinch when yet another fallen preacher has spent thousands on cocaine. Has a mistress. Has a gay lover. Or got caught drunk driving with his mistress and gay lover. I don’t pay tithes, so my hard earned money is not wasted on luxury automobiles or 3,000 dollar Ralph Lauren suits. All because the last time I checked, Jesus ran the money changers out of the temple, and somehow they crept back in.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pedal Oral Occlusion

Stricken by Pedal Oral Occlusion Syndrome are Senator Trent Lott’s (MS-R) “…we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years either” at Senator Strom Thurmond 100th birthday party, State Representative Rafael Arza (FL-R) drunken racial slurs on a voice mail of fellow republican and then Senator Kerry (MA-D) with his jab at President Bush during a rally for gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.

There are times that I wonder what goes on in politician’s mind. Somehow the ‘spur of the moment’ defense just won’t get it when it comes to a public faux pas. What was Kerry thinking when he took a jab at the President’s grades? Did he not get the memo that anything you say will be plucked apart like a chicken in a fox den? Didn’t he know that you don’t have to be a Rhoades Scholar to be president, but you can be surrounded by them? Holy cow! Now the Democrats are pulling back from him, as he is torn apart by conservatives who have spun his statement to mean out brave troops in Iraq. Personally I think he deserves to be ridiculed until he gets the point. DON’T SLING MUD, especially when you are not up for election. It looks particularly childish.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Holy Holidays Batman…!

I recently read one of my favorite blogger updates and was truly mystified. The school system in our community has reduced the number of parties to “maximize instruction time.” And to top that off they will have only two parties per year, one during the winter break and Valentines Day. By winter break party they mean Christmas!!! Not the holiday season, not the birthday of our Lord, not buy until you cry, but winter break. This has vexed me to no end.

You would think in a state where you cannot go ten miles with out passing a church; someone would have spoken up about this. I mean come on. I understand that you must first be tolerant of one another’s beliefs, before you can be truly tolerant of one another. But where do you draw the line? Do you sacrifice your beliefs for the sake of others? I understand people exist who equate Halloween with all things demonic…so what. And some people think Halloween is a supremely indulgent holiday…so what. A majority of those people don’t remember what fun is and what it is like to be a kid. You will never hear a group of kids’ say, “Hey lets cancel Halloween because our souls are at stake.” Or “Christmas has too many religious overtones, how about happy multicultural enjoyment period instead?” Only disgruntled adults say that.

There is joy in watching a child hunt for an Easter egg that the Easter Bunny left. There is joy in watching a child rip open presents after “Santa Claus” worked overtime, went to the Wal-Mart at the “North Pole”, spent all night putting gifts together, wrapping them with Dollar store wrapping paper and barely keeping his or her eyes during 4:00am wake up call to see the presents they left. And there is joy in baking cupcakes, telling ghost stories, bobbing for apples and watching the precious years of a child fly by in delight. These events create a life time of memories . If you don’t like it…tough, let the kids have fun now because there is plenty of time for them to frown later. Oh yeah, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!


Saturday, October 28, 2006


Living and working in the south I come across all walks of life. There are things that just tickle the death out of me and there are things that just get my goat. For instance the two clichés that you just read were uniquely southern. As a southern born man I use them in my daily life, but as a writer those clichés creep in like kudzu on speed. I constantly find my self having to edit and re-edit so I don’t confuse my readers. But somehow I don’t edit enough, but that is another story.

Having traveled the world I have found that once you are raised in one of the southern territories you belong to a haloed club of sorts. Let me explain. You are driving down at night and see yellow pair of eyes on the side of the road; would you know what they were? When you are in a restaurant do you ask for “Sweet Tea” or “Iced Tea”? What do you eat with purple hulled peas? How many horns are on a cow? Auburn or Alabama? Are you getting my point? I don’t care where I have gone on this planet a simple, “WARRRRRRR EAGLEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!” has found me friends even if they were lowly Alabama fans[ I couldn’t resist].

I laugh out loud at anyone who complains about grits and the fact that they are gritty. It automatically tells me they are not from the south. I take a personal offence if someone insults a biscuit or turns their noses up at milk gravy. These two items have fed many a poor southerner for years. They don’t have to eat them, but they sure as heck ought to respect them. After all Southerners never joke about a Yankee Pot Roast or a slice of pizza, honestly who just buys one slice of pizza. I frown when people complain about the heat or the mosquitoes and it just bites my butt when they talk about the humidity. And last but not least, we might not know the name of our roads but if you know your left from your right we can get you there. Ya’ll take care…ya hear!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

November 7th

Midterm elections are [as of this entry] thirteen days away and political analysis all over the United States will be eagerly watching closely contested Senate and House races. As usual there will be much fanfare and delight as cameras switch from camp to camp trying to catch the essence of this wondrous election. When the results are in and there is clearly a winner, there will be enough backslapping to make me want to throw up all over my television and DVD player.

In the winning camp there will be: falling balloons, confetti, music, expensive catering and lots and lots of glad handing. In the loosing camp there will be: balloons, confetti, music, expensive catering and lots and lots of glad handing. Each respective candidate will rinse the mud out of his or her hair and throw only accolades to the winner or loser. I have seen this show before.

On November 8th however there will be improvised explosive devices and insurgent sniper teams on the road to Baghdad, the threat of a second if not third nuclear test by Kim Jong-il [that’s the dictator with the weapons of mass destruction], gas attendants that will climb that ladder once again to change the price of gas and hung over winners and losers from both sides of the midterm election.

This election is supposed to change the color of the House from red to blue and quite possibility even the Senate. But nothing actually changes, it only changes hands. That means Democrats will quite possibly be in charge and will now take the blame for things going on in our country. I can see it now. There will be a whole new set of scandals [I can’t wait]; the quagmire called “Operation Iraqi Freedom” will still be…a quagmire. There will be squabbling and in fighting as each new Representative and Senator tries to make a name for him or herself, and gas will still be as high as a giraffe’s rectum. Oh joy.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Investing Too Much

I honestly hate pugnacious pundits. Self styled experts who scream and grimace as if their gesticulations alone, will hammer home their educated opinions as fact. Blessing us with enlightenment because they think we are trapped in varied states of non compos mentis. These “Super Gurus” cajole or congratulate the current Bush administration on its successes or failures, laughing haughtily at the inane possibility that Bush could be wrong or even right. It really depends on who is being interviewed at the time. These cantankerous critics sparkle on camera. They are clean shaven, well dressed, make-up laden, finished off with blindingly white smiles. Their faces are animated and they look particularly unstressed. Not really the kind of people I want the truth from.

The most accurate opinion given without experiencing hardship is from talking to the people “living the condition.” If you want to know the state of affairs in New Orleans, don’t listen to Mayor Nagin or the self promotional professor who has written a single book on the failed levees of the Big Easy. Pick up the phone and call one of the shelters and talk to someone there. But not to be bias, drive down(because some places still don’t have phone service a year later) and find some one who is fighting alligators, water moccasins, nervous rabbits hiding from alligators and West Nile tainted mosquitoes, trying to repair their home after a year with zero assistance (remembering assistance isn’t always monetary!)

If you truly want to know about the condition of things in Iraq or Afghanistan, ask a Soldier, Sailor, Airmen or Marine. Or even join the armed forces (I have a friend who did just that at 32!) I once stood in line at a grocery store and watched a combat veteran disassemble a patriotic wannabe in 30 seconds flat without blinking an eye. Part of the conversation went like this,
“So how were things over there?”
“Hot and dangerous” the veteran’s words were sharp and quick. “Well, if I was there," The fat wannabe held up his arms to simulate firing a rifle. "I’d have my mini-14 with my Bushnell scope taking out rag heads like POW!”
The veteran smiled and asked, “What color are their uniforms?” This drew a confused stare from the wannabe, “I don’t know…” he replied.
“So you would be shooting at everyone…right?” At that moment the veteran was physically standing in the grocery store but mentally on the street in the Anbar Province. The wannabe left hurriedly.

Then again there are people that know the truth but can’t tell you: the President, all the President’s cabinet members, and people in the middle of all current events. They really know “The skinny,” but they just can’t tell the general public because some of you… and you know who you are CAN’T TAKE IT! I honestly keep waiting for that Presidential press conference where the Commander-in-Chief steps out from behind the podium, unloosens his tie, takes a deep breath and starts his sentence like this, “Ok you bitches here’s the truth…” You can see it on his face, he wants to say something to every critic, blogger and self styled expert who has had their share of finger pointing. But he can’t. He mutters the phrase, “Stay the course” quietly thinking assuredly “Because we have no choice.”


Thursday, October 19, 2006

The World Has Gone Crazy

I am a self confirmed news junkie. And have been since September 11th 2001. I wake and sleep to CNN, FOX or MSNBC and when I am in an adventurous mood Link TV (because I can only be insulted in six different languages every now and then). As my idiot box flickers I realize the world has gone crazy. There have been at least two entire families slaughtered over the course of a month, 10 Amish girls wounded and murdered in a wooden one room school, a boyfriend in Louisiana dismembered his girlfriend and hid her parts around the apartment…then jumped to his own death, 71 of our citizen soldiers who were children, wives, husbands and friends have been killed in battle so far in the month of October and Kim Jong-il tested a nuclear weapon right in our faces… and we haven’t stomped him flat.

On top of that the GOP is now the Grumpy Odd Party with fall outs from the Foley scandal, the Ashcroft scandal, the Hastert not telling on Foley scandal, the Karl Rove I-had-nothing-to-do-with-it scandal, the “Your-wife-is-a-CIA-operative” scandal, the Tom Delay-I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I scandal, and my favorite scandal the-we-were-right-in-removing-Saddam-scandal and we still can’t find those pesky weapons of mass destruction (Because they are in NORTH KOREA!).

Lastly there are freakish weather anomalies that range from the east coast pummeled by heavy wet weather (in places), deep snow in October in Buffalo, and ice caps the size of Texas that have broken off because of GLOBAL WARMING. There were earthquakes in the Gulf of Mexico, around Hawaii, under Pakistan. There have been droughts, pestilence, disease, famine and war. And all I could think is grab a helmet. Because the terror alert is stuck on Chicken Little yellow and the sky is really falling. But no one is really listening.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Marlin, Jim and Steve

As a child my religion was Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom on Sunday evenings.Wild Kingdom Clip The show consisted of Marlin Perkins narrating what his trusty sidekick Jim would do next. Marlin reminded me of a skinny Colonel Sanders without the goatee, and I often wondered if they were twins. I imagined Marlin being the good twin who rescued and nursed sick animals back to health. And the Colonel being the evil twin, who fried then served them up in a tasty concoction of eleven herbs and spices. I lay mesmerized in front of our color television and watched as Jim would wrestle huge jungle snakes, tranquilize water buffalos, and run from snapping alligators. My young mind would wonder off into some steamy jungle, as Jim and I tracked down an elusive five legged snake or dive off the coast of Bimini looking for the cow who thinks she's a dolphin. I would snap back to reality only when my mother would yell, “You are too close to the television, slide back!” To this day I cannot see an ad for Mutual of Omaha and not think of the courageous Jim Fowler and the scardy cat Marlin Perkins.
Recently Steve Irwin was killed while swimming with a stingray. Doing what he loved to do. And I couldn’t help but feel a personal loss. Steve Irwin and Jim Fowler shared almost the same sense of curiosity and danger. Honestly however, I think Steve was braver (Sorry Jim). I would watch Steve tempt a twelve foot crocodile with a raw chicken and when the croc jumped towards the bait I would flinch. (How’s that for a big bad Paramedic Man) Often thinking he is going to lose his entire arm one day. Occasionally my youngest daughter and I would sit and watch Animal Planet,The Crochunter
where Steve would jump, swim and run (in the same khaki shorts and shirt mind you) chasing whatever animal he wanted to show the camera. My daughter would hide her face behind a pillow if she thought he was going to be bitten. I would laugh and tell her when it was all over. “Dad,” she would say breathlessly, “he’s crazy!” like she had been running along side him the entire time.
Then she would look at me and ask, “Would you do that?” and without hesitation, and with vibrant enthusiasm I would answer, “Why yes of course!” The cynical twist of her mouth said it all. She knew better. She knew her daddy would be mangled by the 15 foot crocodile in the first 2 minutes of the show. Or be drowned, and then swallowed by the 39 foot python. Her 10 year old mind knew Steve was fast and slender, and her daddy was built like a tasty biscuit---with feet. But alas, in my mind I could really do it. Just give me that Wild Kingdom music and I would make Steve proud. Crikey! We are all going to miss you Steve.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

The City of Eastchase, Montgomery Mall and a Whole Bunch of Zombies

Driving down the Southern boulevard I can’t help but notice how traffic ebbs and flows like a motorized ocean. Shortly before 7:00am the boulevard is as empty as a scene from your favorite Post-Apocalyptic movie. However at 7:01am and 22 seconds a traffic nightmare erupts from thin air. The hustle and bustle is obscene with each car rushing to their destination of choice. But the kicker is each one of those vehicles represents a potential customer for the giant empty mall they pass. So the question is: How do you get just 1-2 percent of those potential customers to stop at the Montgomery Mall? And secondly how do you get just 25 percent of that 1-2 percent to purchase something when they get there? I am sure these questions are being asked daily by the marketing staff of Gilmcher Realty Trust. Gilmcher Realty Trust Site After all they own the mall.

As a business owner and having 15 years of management experience I am sure of one thing. It won’t be long before those glass doors shut for good. I don’t mean to be the harbinger of doom. But when you lose a majority of your profitable tenants to the City of EastchaseTheir Website, you either have to reinvent yourself or sell your property at a tremendous loss. Personally, I don’t patronize the mall. Solely because it reminds me of the scene in Dawn of the Dead where the stores are closed and the zombies run free. But I digress. Actually there is nothing, and I do mean absolutely nothing in that mall that I couldn’t get from Walmart. And that’s the problem. The mall is supposed to be a specialty-spend-your-money kind of place. Somehow it has lost its ambiance, right along with its anchor tenants.

With the loss of anchor tenants comes the loss of another customer base, namely those who shop around the mall at the strip malls. If you happen to live in Montgomery, Alabama you can see this for yourself. Since a retail exodus is killing the mall I think that escaping stores should be given tax breaks and utility subsidies, a commercial bribe of sorts, to stay. Of course, this is easier said than done. Currently there is a small carnival posted outside the malls walls, and it honestly looks pitiful, real pitiful. If Gilmcher Realty does not do something to reignite an interest in its property, the wonder that used to be the Montgomery Mall will close its doors…for good. And we all know what that means. Crime will sky rocket, because economic decline and crime are intrinsically meshed together and eventually it will become too dangerous to even stop for IHOP or even the traffic lights. Let alone live in that area.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Death of the Boogey Man

This man is not my enemy. I do not know him. I have never met him. But I can relate to him deep, deep within the very essence my parental existence. His name is Jonathon Edington aged 29. He is the father of a 2 year old. You see. This man is a murderer by definition. He became one by slipping quietly through his sleeping neighbor’s window. In his hand was a sharp knife. In his heart was anger. Like a Ninja he crept slowly and methodically until he stood over his quarry. And with a flick of his wrist, he stabbed. He stabbed. He stabbed. And his neighbor was no more. This quiet previously law abiding lawyer delivered a blow for his daughter no court system could ever deliver. Then climbed out of the window and went home.

The real question is what would you the reader do? Would you let the law handle it? Or would you confront the person who did it? Or would you the reader have the testicular fortitude to do what Jonathon did? The thought of something happening like that to my children makes me shudder. I know there would be a cell waiting on me at Kilby Correctional or Atmore. And honestly I don’t care. Because a message needs to be sent loud and clear that when you molest people’s children you suffer a fate reserved solely for rabid dogs. Thus saving the tax payer a lot of money and lowering pedophilia crimes by the straight fear of being Jonathonized.

When I saw the news on CNN I stood up and cheered. Because too often the guiltiest of offenders hire the best attorneys, and then manipulate the legal system until they are either freed or their sentences are reduced. Jonathon Edington skirted this issue. There will be no appeals. No DNA evidence. No child psychiatrist probing a 2 year olds mind. There’ll be no “Breaking News” alerts on the Edington trial. The only thing that will happen is that the knife he will use will be collected into evidence. There will be articles written extensively on why Jonathon did what he did. But the truth of the matter is…the boogey man is dead and will never awake. That is what daddies do. Kill the boogey man. And Jonathon did it like a pro.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Friday, August 18, 2006

Running Towards a 10K

At 37 years of age I am contemplating running Atlanta's 10k, on July 4 2007. Not that I couldn’t finish that darn race. But I would probably be somewhere in the back, next to the leper runners, but well before the runners who just got out of their hospital beds. This 10 k will be run in the Southern July heat. Imagine 6 miles of humidity, Atlanta concrete, asphalt hills, convection oven sky scraper windows and copious amounts of sweat to your nether regions. The thought alone furrows my brow.

See, I used to be an overweight two-pack-a-day smoker, and when I quit (thanks Zyban) I gained close to 50 MORE pounds. My battle to remove the flab has been loud and bodacious at times and soft and whimpering at others. I have gone through a myriad of weight loss options. Some have worked, some have not. In all honestly you cannot sit on your buttocks and lose weight. There is no pill, cream, lotion or powder that will do it. You have to get moving. So my choice was running, because walking does absolutely nothing. Part of my motivation belongs to the Barnhills Buffet next to my gym and all the portly people in their tight clothes headed to feast, which made me run even FASTER and the majority of my motivation has been my children.

In the beginning the only change I could see was swollen ankles and that my Motrin consumption had increased. Then the results started. My pants became looser, my stamina increased and my girl friend…well let’s just say enjoyed the change. I began to consume every tip and technique for running beginners. After trial and many, many errors, I finally settled on a fairly simple regime of hydration, nutrition and stretching. I also found out that if you run you do not have to diet, believe it or not.

A simple formula helped me and it goes like this: take your weight, divide it by 2.2 then multiply the result by 33 formula here.This will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. Just reduce your calorie requirement by 20 percent (regular soda to water, chicken strips but fat free ranch dressing) and POW weight loss. Add this with running…more weight loss.

But my true problem is my run time. I run at least three times a week varying the distance of my run. But the time remains the same (one hour). I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never run as fast as a 98 pound Kenyan, because I am neither Kenyan or secondly will never be 98 pounds. So that means I have no chance in a fat mans hell of crossing the finish line first…unless it is on an ambulance. But I would like to finish. That to be would be the ultimate in my fitness success, from ex-smoker to 10k runner. Sounds like a book deal. Wish me luck!


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Artisan Water and The Mystery of Jalapeno Trout

Sprite’s savvy marketing campaign ruined a good night’s sleep for me. I used to have outrageously funny dreams but recently that all came to a screeching halt. The dream began in a large meadow of wild flowers. The morning sun bounced playfully off vibrant Zinnias and Morning Glories. Sad Coneflowers and tiny baby’s breath covered the ground, as proud purple Lupines stretched towards the summer sky. Nature’s perfume wafted around me. I strolled carefully looking for ole’ no shoulders (that’s a snake to all you northerners). And that’s when the nightmare began. I could see movement in the thick broom straw in front of me so I stopped. When I moved the rustling grew louder. When I stopped it stopped. I was being stalked. I stopped and stared. And there beneath the Bahiagrass were little white flowers.
Then suddenly one raised its petals and appeared to look directly at me! I took off running. The white flowers were everywhere. I sprinted carelessly across the endless meadow weaving like a running back. Thousands of the evil flowers chased me as I stomped the ones in my way. They tripped me. I tumbled like a fat gymnast and got back up. They were on my head licking the sweat from my face. Little scratchy root feet clawed at my bare legs and finally wore me down. I screamed, jumped out of bed, and promptly put my house plant on the patio it was 3:15am. Once I calmed down. I realized that the Sublymonal Sprite campaign had its first victim.
Being a business owner I understand the mechanics of marketing impact on sales implicitly. But I wonder if there is such a thing as too much marketing. Take the bottled water industry for example. There are so many artisan flavors that a decision has to be made as to WHICH WATER TO BUY. That is just insane. I keep waiting for the “tap” flavor to come out. Niche marketing to country residents who miss the flavor of the city. Somehow I don’t think that is far from the truth.
Hardees used to sell regular ole hamburgers. Now it is the Angus thick burger. And if you don’t like the burger you can always eat the cheese paper. Catfish are now marketed as “farm raised”, or “grain fed” because harvesting those scavengers from a river sometimes gives you a “poo flavored” fish. Or my personal favorite, the Saab commercial slash car wreck. I will not forget the Saab, even though I wouldn’t buy one. See where I am going with this. Just seeing hyper-creative marketing gives me a headache. Deep down inside we all want something new. Like chicken flavored hamburgers or Jalapeno flavored trout. But the true question is at what mental expense and how long should this mental payment last. And if I catch any of those white flowers in my house there will be hell to pay.


Friday, July 21, 2006

First Video "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

This possibly has to be one of the most amazing things I have seen on the internet.
This talented man sits in Central Park and haves at it. He never misses a beat on the hardest song I have EVER tried to play, and if you look closely it is not a guitar he is playing either.

Watch out for my newest blog entry entitled "Artisan Water and The Mystery of Jalapeno Trout"!


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why In The Name of God…

Isn’t the belief in God enough? I recently had a relationship ending argument, while driving, about my Spiritual beliefs. In that car I suddenly became Palestine and she morphed into Israel. There was no middle ground, no compromise or even a solution to our argument. In a flash an imaginary line was drawn through the middle of the vehicle and where once a loving couple sat, warring factions took our places. I could feel her beautiful eyes searing a hole in the side of my neck. I swallowed hard and immediately understood how religious differences could cause civil unrest and the destruction of cities. I tried to make amends by telling her that due to my travels and interaction with other cultures, I found it hard to submit to one spiritual belief and that I was tolerant of all(the intelligent stance). Well, that flew like a lead penguin. She bared her white teeth and scoffed at my ignorance. She laughed because I didn’t resign to her belief system of tithes and Sunday finest, holiday food banks and Pastoral Cadillacs. There was nothing I could say that would reduce the tension in the air. I was then ridiculed loudly because of my own beliefs. I could feel my neck tighten and taste the bitter bile rising in my it became time for a Hamas style attack. So I took a deep breath and unchained my writers mind.

I ask her how many times had the Bible been edited for "clarity" by scholars who wanted some control for themselves or for the ones they served. I asked had she ever heard of the council of Niece. I asked her to tell me who the Byzantine were,(after all they named that hill in the holy land Mt. Zion). I asked her if Christianity was the only way into heaven why didn’t the Jews, Muslims, Buddhist, Taoist, Practitioners of Voodoo, Santeria, or any of the thousands of tribal religions for that matter get the memo. And if the “living” memo was Jesus, why must those before mentioned live their religion every day, instead of on Sunday, between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm (3:00pm if you are in a Pentecostal church, 4:00pm if you are in an evangelical church) like good God fearing people should. I exhaled. I pretty much sealed the deal on that conversation. She didn’t look in my direction and by the fog on the passenger window I could tell she was well beyond angry. Her silence or my blood pressure rang like a jackhammer skipping on steel in my head. I tried to touch her hand. But she snatched it away. So I took her home and drove away…crushed. I knew thinking outside of the box could be perceived as evil. And I feel like kicking myself in the butt for even discussing religion… but after all she started it.



Saturday, June 24, 2006

Network Television Fines For My Eye Molestation

I hereby list my fees to the major networks for subjecting me to the most STUPID commercials and television shows known to man (at least this man).
I hereby charge the following amounts:

1. 100.00 dollars anytime some commercial mentions the words “But wait there’s more.”
2. 100.00 dollars anytime some commercial starts with “Have you ever wondered…”

3. 200.00 dollars for every time I am subjected to an info-mercial during waking hours. That fine shall be 25.00 dollars after 10:00pm, 2.00 dollars during my 2:00am pre-breakfast snack and .50 cents before my morning bowl visit but before Good Morning America.

4. 500.00 dollars for subjecting me to any movie preview that totally rocks but the movie is only released in select theaters. That fine will be reduced to 2.00 dollars if by the time I see the feature it is outstanding. But 10,000 dollars if the movie sucks like a three dollar---well you know.

5. 2000.00 dollars for any AXE Commercial. Period. Questionable hook-ups are best left alone. Memories of dressing up like a ninja turtle and being spanked should remain behind that dark door, that dark, dark door. Damn you AXE Body wash.

6. 5000.00 dollars for any commercial that makes me hum the tune all day. Zoom…Zoom…Zoom (stop singing).

7. 5000.00 dollars for any television show that contains the words “Reality” or “House” in the title. Somehow watching people live there lives really makes me yell out loud uncontrollably. It is called a NEIGHBORHOOD look it up.

8. 10000.00 dollars for any television show that couples the words, “Funny” with “Videos”. Laughter is the best medicine, but some of us are NOT SICK. Come on, how about this show title “Calamity, Chaos and Canker sores” where stupid people get their just rewards.

9. 10000.00 dollars for any diet commercial. One because they show an absolute fat ass frowning in the first photo and the skinner shapeless version smiling in the second photo. And second because three commercials ago the same channel showed the new KFC bowl o’ slop. And I hate contradictions.

10. 1 million dollars for any news channel interrupts regular scheduled programming but has absolutely NO news to report, i.e., a prisoner break, but they don’t know the name, the city, the color of the car, his originating charge. I really hate that. Those breaking news alerts scare the living daylights out of me. I keep waiting to hear of a zombie outbreak or something right in my back yard but nooooooo it is only a lost {insert mundane item here}. Stupid breaking news reports.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sanctity of Marriage

As a realist and a truth seeker I feel as though there should be a smidgen of clarity on the sanctity of marriage.
The truth should be told that there is nothing holy about marriage. (If you are clapping you are probably divorced.) Marriage is an antiquated legal agreement originally intended for a man and a woman based on the theory that love alone will keep them together for their proverbial life time. This love based bond is the basis for propagating the human species as well as the basis for community. So that means family is the basis of a community and community the basis of government. Now somewhere between the Civil Rights struggle and the Clinton administration, someone came up with the idea of wanting a legally binding agreement between people of the same sex. A close personal friend of mine and a staunch fence riding atheist once said, “Who says two men cannot love each other and have a committed relationship?” I honestly agree with that. No one can stop emotions or relationships; however I adamantly disagree with that lifestyle. But my opinions are my own. A lot of people including government officials set their marriage beliefs in scripture. However if we remove scripture (because any person with an ounce of intelligence knows vile acts have been done because of scripture) from the picture you are left with nature. And nature is the enemy of irrational thought. So someone please tell me what is natural about two men or women copulating with each other and what about this fact alone is the basis for marriage.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Alabama SB283 "Castle Doctrine"

On June 1st Governor Riley signed into law Senate Bill 283 or the Alabama version of a “Castle Doctrine”. I actually heard about this bill on National Public Radio on my morning drive to work. This bill is a victory for the National Rifle Association and the Alabama Association of Funeral Homes. But for the average hard working Alabamian it means it is time to go get a pistol. Not because of the sudden ability to shot an aggressor who is trying to kill you. But because that aggressor who normally would hesitate from killing an unarmed person knows his life is now cheaper than the bullet in your gun. I honestly don’t care about this law. Some how the proponents of this measure think having the ability to protect their “castle” with the newest armament makes them less fat, more observant, stronger and have cat like reflexes lets say, from those nefarious characters who rob people for a living by climbing into windows, kicking open doors and outrunning the police on foot. As an Emergency Worker (there is that dreaded name again) dead bodies are not really a concern of mine. Maimed ones are. And I think a lot of maimed bodies will come from this. But let’s just wait and see. What really is a concern of mine is Hurricane season. A season that happened to have stared on the same day this silly law took effect.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sure Fire Home Remedies

Imagine this, your son or daughter is playing outside and gets a couple of bruises and scrapes. They come inside in the house and what is the first thing you do? Do you call 911? (Don’t laugh people call for minor stuff like that all the time) Do you call his doctor and see if you can get an emergency visit or better yet take them to the ER? Or do you reach for the antibacterial soap, band aids and ice pack and offer them a painkiller? If you agreed to any of those answers above, I suggest you stop here and not read the rest of this blog.

I remember falling from my yellow skateboard and scraping both of my boney knees. When I got home my dad gave me a casual almost nonchalant look and reached for a half-full bottle of Swans green alcohol. Studying my bloodied knees carefully he dashed copious amounts of the evil liquid into my open sores. “BLOW! BLOW! BLOW!” He yelled. I almost had an asthma attack from keeping the alcohol from burning a hole into what felt like my very bone. That single experience taught me how to fall without scraping my knees and fear the green alcohol.

For the few readers who decided to stay, I wanted to say somehow we have become too soft when it comes to our kids. As a child growing up in the middle of Dixieland, I was brought up with the idea that boys had to be strong and girls even stronger. With that being said, if I fell outside and hurt myself while playing I didn’t stop what I was doing. I just bled until it stopped. Back then there was no sympathy for boys. A boy had to practically carry one of his severed parts into the house to get any attention out of his father. And if you think I am joking, even the doctors would call you a sissy if you showed up with minor injury. A black eye then was a badge of honor; today it is a lawsuit to the person or item that made it. A helmet back then was for the special children not for daredevil kids on banged up ten speeds. Today I am surprised that someone hasn’t invented the personal airbag for the perambulating professional. Note if someone does invent that item I claim first rights to it.

Green alcohol has survived ,recalls, bans, frivolous lawsuits and a menagerie of bad parenting books. Oh yes. That emerald green liquid has put the fear of Jesus in the hearts of Southern boys everywhere. It smelled like my grandmothers favorite chewing gum but burned like a huckleberry switch on bare legs. And IF my parents didn’t have anything in their medicine cabinet they had wintergreen alcohol because of the diagnostic properties. Simply put if you were hurt enough to endure the burning pain and still complain you went to the doctor. But if you didn’t complain after the burning pain you weren’t hurt in the first place.

Back then being injured was a physical form of adversity. You either survived the injury or died. It was as simple as that. And it was that adversity made us stronger. Today however parents look for the best antibiotic ointment money can buy for their children whose only real injury comes from falling off of the couch onto soda cans. As a parent I feel we should really ban all the ointments, Band-Aids and topical lotions and resort back to the good ole green alcohol.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Yay Me.

Sunday morning for me consist of watching paid advertisements for the latest ab-destroyer-thingy and church programs that are nothing more than paid advertisements themselves. I sit and stare at the spiritual commercials in awe. Wondering how pastors, equipped with lapel microphones, studio equipment and sound guys, have the ability to keep a straight face. Believe! They cry. Repent! They admonish. They point their dramatic fingers in judgment towards their well dressed congregation and right into the TV audience. As the camera pans I can see sparkling jewelry and makeup laden faces. I see Brooks Brother’s suits, and silk ties. There are no hungry masses, the sick are not lying between the isles and the homeless are not listening intently in their tattered garb. I change the channel disgusted. Don’t get me wrong: I have a sense of faith. I believe in a greater Being than myself. However, the Christian battle cry, “What would Jesus Do?” has left me with a confirmed answer, because so much wrong has been done in his name, he would throw his name…away. So I have decided that the best spiritual path for me to take will be one of my own creations. So I hereby bring to you The United Repugnant Front of Ultra Conservative Libertarians Incorporated. Repugnology for short and as a Repugnologist there are tenets listed below that are essential to my faith:

1. Anyone found guilty of any heinous crime against spouses, family or children, will be smited with bags of cold quarters, until those bags stop jingling. Anyone who defended those found guilty will be smited with those non-jingling bags. And those who oppose the smiting process will be sent those bloody bags of quarters as a warning. Yay Me.

2. As a Repugnologist, you will not have preachers, reverends, bishops, deacons, pastors, priests, nuns, monks, friars, holy men or witch doctors. There will be one monthly surprise visit where we will ask you to recite one tenet. If you fail to repeat it word for word there will be ceremonial smiting of the closest adult person of non-relation with stray items of our choosing. Yay me.

3. Wood chuck, could, chuckwood, a if chuck, chuckwood, a could wood much how. Yay me.

4. As a Repugnologist you are hereby required to do one of the following: cut your neighbors grass, have a neighbor over for dinner, or just have a decent conversation about anything you and your neighbor decide to talk about on the 5th day of all prime numbered months. On the 11th day of all non-prime months you will find a homeless person and give them two meals. If you don’t know what a prime number is, find out. Yay me.

5. Be nice, play fair, respect others, remain tolerant, talk second, shoot first, don’t lie (unless it is about the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Bigfoot and Santa Claus, it is the “joy in children’s life” kinda thing), know cultural boundaries and cross them only if armed. Yay me.

6. Love your family with emotion; hate your enemy with a passion, never offer the other cheek unless it is a butt cheek and then it shall be unwashed. Yay me.

7. Keep Tuesdays close to your heart by feeding one obviously starving person. Not the overweight homeless person. If you cannot find a hungry person, find a cold person and give them a coat or blanket, or a hot person and give them a cool beverage to drink. Yay Me.

8. The Omnipotent One shall be know as The ONE. Refer to it (even though we are chauvinistically predisposed to think he, it could be a she) as The ONE and know that The ONE invented the sense of humor. Know that The ONE has multiple aliases even though you might not know the ONE by The ONE’S entire list of aliases act like you do. After all, The ONE created the Universe and the single cell organisms that evolved into you. Yay Me.

9. Anyone found in disagreement of our spiritual organization will be “flipped off” with the middle finger of the left hand and summarily asked, “Where should I put this?” Yay me.

10. Don’t argue with evangelists, missionaries, or those who are saved, for they can induce a smiting upon themselves of repugnant proportion. Just take the pamphlet and say, “My horse is on fire,” leaving them wondering how a horse would catch fire. Yay me.

11. Reflection time is from 6:45pm to 7:00pm daily. During this time, reaffirm to your spouse, children or family members how much you love them. If they are not available, call them. If they are not there, write a note or send an email. IF you fail to do so, it will be considered a heinous crime, then refer to tenet 1. Yay me.

12. You must end all affirmations with Yay me. Yay me.

These tenets can be modified as the need arises or if The ONE decides to update these rules by email, handwritten letter or emblazoned into a mountain side.

As you can tell, Repugnology is straightforward and uncluttered by any of the traditional rules. There is no sanctuary; there are no tithes, or sweaty pseudo-prophets bouncing around on a carpet covered stage. No guilt by association, like the other guys. There is space for fellowship and the sanctum is located right under your feet. As you are finding out, Repugnology is just one of many ways to the great amusement park above. Not like the other guys who adamantly say their way is the only way, lest ye be burned by the shiny demon.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Bad Scare Is Better Than Good Advice

As an emergency care worker, (as much as I hate that name I have to use it for this blog) I cannot express enough the importance of wearing a seat belt. Twenty years of mending the injured and covering the dead have forced my hand with this blog entry. No matter how hard the public safety sector politely tries to warn the driving population of the dangers of driving unrestrained, some folks just don’t get the picture. My state in particular (like a lot of other states) has a “Click it or Ticket” law. However I recently overheard someone say that the twenty-five dollar fine was fair enough to ride without a seat belt. "Click it or Ticket" is a toothless law in my book. Now what would have a nasty bite is a two thousand fine for the first offense and impounding of your automobile for thirty days for the second offense. But there is no way that bill would pass. And the sole reason I am not a politician.

The photo above is an open tibia fracture and more than likely a person in pain ,probably the result of a bad accident. This image was pulled from Ogrish, a website dedicated to blood guts and gore and responsible for a lot of sleepless nights. I posted this image here for one reason only---shock value. Now just imagine if you woke up one morning and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided to throw off the gloves and show what really happens when you have an accident without the proper protection. I could only imagine the horror as millions of Americans woke up, to the most graphic Public Service Announcement money could buy. I can see it now:

Bob American is driving down any one of the nation’s interstate systems, his cell phone rings. Driving with one hand he chats incessantly while maneuvering through the morning rush hour traffic. Noticing his exit he puts on his turn signal and drifts onto the exit ramp. The intersection light ahead has just turn green so he doesn’t slow down. Out of the corner of his right eye he sees a dark image. Headlights…silver grille….BAM...truck….t-bone…Bob is thrown out of the driver’s side window. Wait it gets better. The green Chevy behind Bob cannot brake in time and runs over his battered body. The camera zooms in on a single shoe tumbling slowly in midair. The scene speeds up as Bob flips and cartwheels into oncoming traffic. The camera flashes. Once for each time he is hit by a car. Four flashes later the spot ends with the camera zooming in tight on his bruised face with the scene fading as he takes his last breaths. The screen goes black with a tiny caption that reads, “Wear your seat belt”.

As much as I would like to see that public service announcement I know there would be a national uproar about how graphic the spot was. There would be angry parents who would make the talk show circuit claiming their children won’t ride in cars, psychologist who would offer free therapy to those affected and thousands of calls to remove the public safety announcement. However there would be more people putting seatbelts on faster than you could shake a stick at. Now say for example in real life, Bob was thrown out of his vehicle into oncoming traffic but the traffic swerved to miss him. Do you think he would wear his seat belt from then on? Of course he would.

As this blog is titled, sometimes it takes a little frightening in order to get someone’s attention. Do you remember the “brains of drugs” segment? I cannot help but think of it when ever I see an egg sunny side up or how about the girl diving into the dry swimming pool. Where did those type segments go? Since when did we become so touchy feely that we cannot emphasis the seriousness of death and disability. We have to find a way to get through to our fellow citizens when it comes to being safe. Personally there is no worst feeling than covering a body of a person that has been killed upon ejection in a car wreck. I have performed that task to many times to count. And sometimes I just want to kneel down beside the body as whisper, “Well since you screwed that one up what do you do now?” But I don’t, lest they lock me away in a padded cell.


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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Signs Of The Times

The title of my opening blog won’t be about the song of the same name. No. This blog will be about H5N1 (or bird flu), hurricane season and the ongoing war in Iraq. Let’s start with the bird flu. If you happened to grow up during the 70’s and early eighties you should remember the “Killer bee” reports that used to pepper the nightly news. I vaguely remember John Chancellor reporting on the location of those death dealing honey makers as they crept towards the United States. I sat staring at the floor model television imagining hordes of unstoppable mutant bees killing everyone I loved in sight. To my relief the bees didn’t reach the US until 1990 and with that they headed west. My Yellowhammer state dodged the brunt of their rampage. I went on that rant to say that the Bird Flu has not transmuted into an unstoppable man killing virus. As such if you are a bird, your poultry ass is good as dead. As of the 8 of May there have only been 115 human deaths from Bird Flu since 2003. 115 deaths however tragic do not a pandemic make. Anyone remember the West Nile Virus?

What is of some concern of mine is the impending hurricane season. If you have been watching the standard news channels lately you can tell that most of the commentators are bristling with excitement with the up coming season. Do you know why? (If you said ratings slap yourself for being a moron). The correct answer is he of she who plays next in the seething rain gets the most face time. You would think after the last hurricane season, there would be a consensus to store fuel and ready the masses for another year. But the truth is we haven’t recovered from the last season. My chief concern however is the five dollar gas prices that those storms will bring. If fuel prices are undulating like a fat girl on a beach ball now, what will hurricanes Alberto, Chris or Rafael or a combination of thereof do to the prices later? Sweet mother Mayhem! We will all be walking or suddenly turned into scooter trash.

Last but not least is the war in Iraq. Our nation has turned its attention from blaming each other for whatever reason to the act of removing the pretentious black and white “W’s” from the back of their SUV’s. Let’s face it; support is dwindling for our war. No matter how much spin our political leadership places on the situation. One dead soldier is one too many. Now don’t begin to prejudge me, I believe in opening up a nice frosty can of whoop ass every now and then. Sometimes you have to create an atmosphere of fear in order to have peace. If you have ever been at gun point you know that. The problem I have is no one admits to faulty intelligence. And for that we or at least I have become extremely suspicious of any thing that comes from on high. Every day we have remote controlled explosives killing our soldiers, suicide bombers, and ambushes. There are fanatical terrorist that behead their captured on film and an Iraqi government that is far from being sovereign. The Shiites and Sunnis are killing each other during a live fire civil war and during their breaks killing our soldiers. And somehow we think we have a handle on the situation. Not to mention the misinformed that rally against our troops and the hyper-patriotic who rally for the troops but are too scared to enlist.


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