Saturday, July 29, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up 7-29-2006

If it's Saturday, then it must be time for the Weekend Wrap-up! Onward!

Jockey apologizes for head-butting horse

This article talks about a man who head-butted a horse in a fit of anger. Apparently, the act got him in so much trouble that he had to later apologize for it. It seemed a dumb thing to do, anyway. Have you seen how much bigger a horse’s head is to a human’s? It’s good thing the horse didn’t head-butt him back! He would have gotten more than just a bad headache!

Rubber sidewalks

Are rubber sidewalks the wave of the future? It’s not quite what you think; these aren’t made entirely of rubber, but a mix of ground-up car tires plus cement. This combo apparently has more durability than standard concrete because it has a flexibility to it that standard concrete does not. It won’t crack as easily as concrete will. Plus, the surface is easier on the feet and knees of joggers. But don’t think that you can just slam someone onto a rubber sidewalk and expect them to bounce up real high like in a Warner Bros. cartoon. It’s a sidewalk, not a trampoline!

Cindy Sheehan to Crawford: I’m baa-aack…!

Cindy Sheehan, the most famous protestor who lost a child in the Iraq war, has purchased land in Crawford, Texas, and plans to start protesting there again, much to the annoyance of the Crawfordians (Crawfordites? Crawdaddies?). I don’t much blame them, as Crawford is a small town, and all those protestors last summer really disrupted things. And besides, Sheehan has pretty much worn out her gig. Don’t get me wrong—I am both sad and sorry that she lost her son in this war, and my heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to her. But her son knew the risks of serving in the military - sometimes you make the ultimate sacrifice for your country. In fact, she knew these risks as well.

I had chalked up last summer's protests as a mother grieving for her son. Her pain, and her desire to let Bush know about it were understandable, especially given that she also happens to be a liberal who was against her son serving in the military and who was also against this war. But Sheehan is not the only woman who has lost a child in this nation's wars. She's not the first, and she won't be the last. Her protests have gone beyond grieving and into self-promotional stunts to keep herself in the news. In essence, she is using her son much like she says that Bush used her son. Watching her efforts to keep her name on the news has become a study in psychological pathology rather than a demonstration of pathos.

In short, it needs to end. Her last chance at making a decent impact was in January's State of the Union address, in which she managed to get herself thrown out before Bush even got out to speak. She wore a protest t-shirt that she was told to turn inside-out, or that she would be escorted out. She did not do so, and was led away, wasting what was probably her best chance at making a poignant stand of the sacrifices that many parents of soldiers make in this nation's wars. If she had managed to keep herself in that auditorium, what news media could have avoided showing her when Bush got to the point of discussing the sacrifices that soldiers and their families make in wartime? It would have taken nothing for her to reverse that shirt so that she could stay in the auditorium, but her desire to protest got to the point that it overrode her logical thinking, and she got thrown out before she could make her ultimate act of protest - thus she ended up not making any protest at all.

Her fifteen minutes of fame have been used up much more than fifteen minutes ago, and she needs to go back to whatever she was doing before she started her protests. The above news article talks about her wanting to make the land she purchased in Crawford into a park named Spc. Casey Sheehan Memorial Peace Park once she's done protesting Bush. I say that she should go ahead and stop protesting now and get that park set up for her son. Maybe then, she can finally let go of this obsession of hers, and her son can finally rest in peace.


Okay, I haven’t talked about sports since the Dallas Mavericks’ run in the NBA Finals. Well, there’s a good reason for that. Basically, I’m waiting for football to come around, because the Texas Rangers baseball team is not doing well. They are a streaky club, that is, they’ll do well for a while, then they’ll turn around a lose several in a row and lose whatever progress they had made, then add two more losses on top. I’ll always support the Rangers, but dang, it gets so frustrating to watch them play. Like yesterday against the Royals. In the second inning, suddenly the pitching gave up 5 runs. The Royals ended up with 11. Granted, any teams’ pitching is going to have bad games, but these explosions of runs in one inning happen too many times for my taste.

As for football, the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp opens up as of today. In a month, the regular season will follow. However, one loyal fan I know –whom I’ll call Kokomo Joe – has sworn off the Cowboys until Terrell “Terrible” Owens (a.k.a. “T.O.”) is no longer with the team. Kokomo Joe thinks that TO is a bad influence, and he does not want his kids to watch this guy. So for the first time in Kokomo Joe’s life, he will be Cowboy-free this season. But he won’t be football free. There’s still the Texas Longhorns. The National Champions, in case you don’t already know.

And speaking of national champions, I also look forward to going to see my local university’s team play, the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. They have been a surprising team in recent years, thanks largely to Coach Gary Patterson. He also agreed to a multi-year contract, leaving open the possibility that he might live up to the promise he made of trying to bring home TCU’s first national championship since the 1930’s, when the name Davey O’Brien was on the playing field rather than on a trophy. Ah, what a grand, glorious day that would be if it happens. Hey, stranger things have happened! For instance, who would have ever thought that the Cowboys would sign TO, the very guy who had stepped on their star?

Abortion and the death penalty

Someone asked me if I could put my opposition to both legalized abortion and the death penalty into one sentence. Although I don’t normally like “sound-biting” my arguments, I gave it a shot. Here ya go:

“Any society that can execute its unborn is not responsible enough to execute its criminals.”

Feel free to quote me, and note my blog address while you’re at it. :-)


Soon and very soon, I will experiment with making podcasts. This blog site allows for making podcasts to post here, and I’ve also come across info on making podcasts. Won’t it be cool to actually hear me rant about something instead of just reading me rant about something? I shall be keeping you good folks up on my progress on that regard. :-D

Have a great week!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Astronomy lesson

Check these out. These are various celestial objects (planets and stars, for those of you who were raised by wolves) placed according to scale. It starts out with the Earth and other smaller planets of our solar system, then moves up to other celestial objects. It just boggles the mind. When you see how much larger the Sun is to the Earth, it's no wonder that it's so hot right now!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

New, interesting tactic in the labor/management wars

In this article, we see the labor union for American Airlines trying a new tactic in the usual labor/management wars: They are actually praising the 23% pay increase that AA's CEO, Gerard Arpey, will be getting (plus the usual stock options, of course). Why?

"Well," the labor union reasons, "if AA can now afford to give its CEO such a large pay raise, then this must mean that the time of 'shared sacrifice' is over. Now is the time for 'shared gains' ". What a brilliant tactic. Back in '03, the AA management had asked the labor union to take pay and benefit cuts to help keep AA out of bankruptcy. After much debate, they agreed. (Then the CEO of the time, Don Carty, tried to leave with a whopping retirement plan, for which he rightly got much grief, but that's a separate story).

Now, 3 years later, AA is showing its largest quarterly profit in eight years. The chickens, in other words, have come home to roost. Most likely, this tactic won't work, but I still think it's worth playing and utilizing. Plus, if the labor union can get the local press on board with this new tactic, then the chances of its success increase.

In any case, this shows that cool heads are in charge at this labor union, who are trying a more effective, persuasive tactic than the usual "anger, outrage, and protests" tactics of the past that are now less effective. I shall be keeping a close eye on this story, and I'll be commenting on its progress as things develop. See, this is the kind of juicy stuff that my liberal side loves. >:-)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My views on the war in Iraq

Some people I know had asked for a clarification on my views on the war in Iraq. They asked, because they thought that they sensed an inconsistency in my views, so this blog entry is for the sake of that clarification.

First, I was opposed to going into Iraq largely because I am opposed to war in general. Understand that I am no "peacenik" who wants peace at all costs, because sometimes the cost is too high if it means giving up freedom. However, the emergence of war usually indicates a failure to communicate somewhere along the line. I believe that most wars are avoidable, and I believe that the war in Iraq was avoidable.

I'm also opposed to this war because I don't feel that we exercised all our options. We also didn't have a clear idea or objective in mind, nor did we have an exit strategy. Our goals going in were to seek "WMDs", but later it became the removal of Saddam Hussein, then it became the liberation of Iraq. Now it's "to establish a democracy in Iraq, so that they may serve as an example to the rest of the Middle East". This shows a lack of foresight on the leadership - something unacceptable for being in a war, because wars already have a tendency to go beyond even the instigator's control, and without a clear objective or goal in mind, then the exercise of that war becomes a waste of the lives of our soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice, as well as damaging to the population and the social structure in the area that it's being waged in. Sound familiar so far? The above is my usual "anti-war" rant.

Okay, here's the part where people get confused over my views. I oppose the war, but I also think we need to finish the job we started there. In other words, it would be an enormous mistake to simply pull up stakes and leave Iraq right now. As evil as Hussein was - and I am glad that he is no longer in power - he also was the power structure there. We are now the power structure in Iraq, and since we have upset the power structure there, we owe it the Iraqi people to help them back to their feet. To simply get up and leave now would be the height of irresponsibility.

This view makes people think that I am now in favor of the war. I still am not. But I also know that we caused the collapse of the power structure in Iraq, and if we are going to be the good guys that we say we are, then we can't leave until we live up to the responsibility that we placed upon ourselves regarding the ultimate fate of the country of Iraq and its citizens. Again, we placed this burden upon ourselves when we decided to go into Iraq - the Iraqis did not ask us to come there. The way I see it, there's two possible outcomes, with two possible and opposite results.

One, we leave now. The result: we make ourselves to look like the most thoughtless, most arrogant, most irresponsible country on the planet who thinks nothing of going into another country that is absolutely no threat to us, and creating chaos there and leaving once we've lived out our "Rambo" fantasies.

Two, we stay and help Iraq get re-established again. The result: Iraq becomes an example of a country that can rise from the ashes with a little help from the world community. Then perhaps Iraq's example can occur in other countries nearby. This sounds close to Bush's "Let's make a democracy in Iraq" plan, and it's also why people then think I'm in favor of the war. But we simply don't know if Iraq can become a democracy. I would settle for it being a peaceful, stable country that does not contribute to terrorist activities.

Look folks, I didn't want this war, but that's a moot point now. Leaving now won't magically undo what we've already done there. We're there now, and we need to be responsible enough to do this right, because if we leave now and the problem there gets worse, then we'll have an even bigger mess to clean up. On top of that, we will have the ire of the Iraqi people to deal with for having left in the first place.

Not only that, how could they trust us to do things right that second time? What would make them believe that we wouldn't just bolt again if things got too difficult? And folks, I wouldn't blame them for feeling that way. This is why I say let's fix this right the first time. We owe it to them to do that much.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A wedding and a funeral

Sorry I didn't have a Weekend Wrap-up this weekend folks, but a family emergency came up. An aunt passed away over the weekend, and in the hustle and bustle of preparing for the funeral, I was not able to get to my blog. Barring any other such family emergencies, the Weekend Wrap-up will return this coming Saturday.

For me, this month started with a wedding and is ending with a funeral. This goes to show how houses of worship can be both places for celebration, and of sadness. Much like hospitals, I suppose, since hospitals both usher in our entry into the world, and are often where we leave it.

An important lesson to be learned from this recent experience: Be sure that your children know what kind of funeral that you want to have. That's all that I'll say about this. In any case, I pray for my aunt and for the family that she leaves behind.

Oh, and appreciate those that you have in your life, folks, for you never know when they'll be taken away.

I'm going to end this entry here, and resume normal blogging activities tomorrow.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Catholic squirrels

There were four country churches in a small TEXAS town: The Presbyterian Church, The Baptist Church, The Methodist Church and The Catholic Church . Each church was overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, The Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

In the Baptist Church, the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it. The squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as many there the next week.

The Methodist Group got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creation. So, they humanely trapped the Squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back.

But the Catholic Church came up with the best and most effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the parish. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Abortion counseling article

In this article is the following paragraph:

"Care Net, an umbrella group for evangelical pregnancy centers across the country, instructs its affiliates to tell callers there is a possibility that abortion can lead to greater risk of breast cancer, according to Molly Ford, an official with the organization. She said there have been several studies that say it does, and several that say it doesn't." (emphasis mine)

I have highlighted the sentence above to point out a common problem in the abortion debate. Each side can provide studies that back up their point of view even though, logically, they can't both be right. But both sides' scientists are going to say that they have scientific research to back them up, and of course, we all know that science deals only with facts, and fact can't be disputed.

However, what is a woman with a problem pregnancy to do when each side says that they're right? This suggests, then, that one side is lying, and that they are purposefully obfuscating the issue so as to benefit themselves rather than the woman that they are allegedly trying to help. So, which side is doing that? Who benefits from lying to a pregnant woman about the chances of getting breast cancer from having an abortion?

I'm going to let that question sit for a couple of days before I answer that, so that I can let some of you ponder it. Then we'll see if you agree with my response when I post it later.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Women running - in stilettos!

Nope, these are not scenes from a horror flick in which the girl wears something totally inappropriate for running away from the bad guy or monster, and ends up tripping at the wrong time. These are actual races of women racing while wearing stiletto shoes.

Here is a race in Moscow, Russia.

And here is a race in Warsaw, Poland.

While I think the idea certainly has a drawing appeal, I gotta wonder about the safety of women running in such high heel shoes! I wonder how many ankles got twisted at those events? Granted, no one is making these women run in these races, but still...! And you'll notice in these pics that some women are fashionably dressed up for these races. That must have been an interesting sight to see. Hmm. I wonder what's next -- swimming in stilettos? I better not say that too loudly, or they just might take me up on it!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up 7-15-2006

Woman has quadruplets - after having triplets!

It's a story that belongs in a supermarket tabloid! Well, it would, except that it happens to be true. This woman had triplets 3 years ago. Now she has followed up with quadruplets! Can you imagine the work that this poor woman now has? First, her triplets are only 3 -not much beyond being babies themselves- and now she has four infants to care for on top of that! I just hope that she has people helping her!

U.S. aid to Cuba

The Presidential Commission for Assistance for a Free Cuba has recently committed 80 million dollars for the effort to free Cuba of its totalitarian influences, including freeing the media from being the mouthpiece for the Cuban government. What I'm worried about is that George Bush will get it in his head that he needs to have Fidel Castro thrown out, and he'll send in the U.S. military to step in until the Cuban citizens can step up and run their countries themselves. We're already doing that in Iraq, and the results have been mixed --do we really want to try this nation-building "strategery" of his in another country? Note that this idea hasn't been brought up yet, but I fear that it will. And besides, who's to say that Castro won't end up getting that 80 million dollars?

I am not trying to sound pessimistic, I'm just trying to keep a proper perspective on this so that we don't start down a certain road when we don't know if it will go where we want it to go. For instance, is Iraq where we want it to be? Is it within the foreseeable future that it ever will be? And most importantly, do the Iraqi citizens want to go down the path that we want them to go? What if they don't want to? What then? See, we haven't answered these very basic and very important questions in Iraq, and I don't want the U.S. to start something else like it in another country - like Iran, or Cuba.

Space Shuttle set to return to Earth

As I write this, the Space Shuttle Discovery is about to leave the International Space Station and return home. But my comments that follow are not so much about the shuttle as they are about the U.S. space program in general. Back in the 1960's and early 1970's, our space program did spectacular things like send us to the moon. Since then, however, we've limited ourselves to orbit around earth. I think it's time to take the space program in a different direction than around in circles --literally and figurately. You know when the last time we went to the moon was? Over 30 years ago!

The space program challenged our knowledge and engineering into new directions, and that new knowledge brought us many wonderful things, including today's Internet. So what happened? I'm not sure. Maybe the leadership at NASA in the past 30 years has been filled with people who are just butts in their seats with no vision or direction as to where the space program can go next. Maybe funding has been cut by Washington bureaucrats who are more concerned with red tape than with helping the space program.

Maybe the space program has been hijacked by politicians who are more concerned with the next election than with helping a program that had inspired a generation of mathmeticians, scientists, and engineers, whose results fascinated and inspired a generation of young people, including me as a boy. As a boy, I couldn't get enough about learning about the space program. I also remember my mother getting a magazine subscription for me that covered the space program. I can't recall the name of the magazine now, but it was one that was aimed at kids, and it was filled with all kinds of facts and pictures of the spacecraft, astronauts, and prominent members of the space program.

I don't remember the first trip to the moon, but I remember the second trip, and the other trips that followed, including Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz effort in space with the U.S. and the Soviet Union meeting in space with each other instead of competing with each other. Then after that came the Space Shuttle, and we've pretty much stuck with orbiting the earth since then. It's time to go into a new, different, and bolder direction with the space program, folks. Reaching for the skies for greater things is far better than making war as we have been doing in recent years.

It can be something simple, like stepping up the space probe projects that we've also been doing as of late along with the Space Shuttle. We can learn how to make the probes more sophisticated, durable, and maybe even re-usable. After all, if we are to ever make long journeys into space one day, we'll need to learn how to make spacecraft that will stand up to the rigors of space. Making space probes capable of such demands will go a long way into making similarly durable spacecraft in the future. I long to have that same excitement again about the space program that I used to have as a boy.

San Antonio trip

As of today, it's already been two weeks since my friend's wedding in San Antonio. There's still things that I want to talk about here, but I haven't made the time to put them to words. So until then, let me put up some pics. :-D

The above is a restaurant near San Antonio's famous River Walk. I just like the name of it. I can imagine Dante, after having traveled Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, then decides to open up a pizza shop in San Antonio. Yep, makes sense to me!

And speaking of the world-famous San Antonio River Walk, above is a picture of it. This was after the wedding rehearsal and before the rehearsal dinner. We took a boat ride. Despite having been to San Antonio several times, this was actually the first time that I've ridden the boats.

And speaking of the boats on the world-famous San Antonio River Walk, above is a picture of one of the boats. I took this picture from the boat that I happened to be on. Unlike the boat above, our boat was VERY crowded! I enjoyed the boat ride, and the next time I happen to go to San Antonio, I'll take another ride.

Have a great weekend, folks!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Texas law on the death penalty and abortion

This article makes mention that Texas laws as they are currently structured could possibly allow for the execution of doctors who perform abortions that are illegal under Texas law. As someone who is opposed to both legalized abortion and the death penalty, it provides me the opportunity to talk about both at the same time.

The article makes mention that it is not believed to be the intent of the lawmakers to allow for such a possibility to execute doctors who perform abortions. But even with this new awareness of such a possibility, I seriously doubt that it would be followed through- or even brought up in court in a case involving an abortion doctor. From what I understand, it takes a lot just to get charges brought up against these doctors, much less making the charges stick.

Even if these doctors are convicted, the protest among the political left would be so loud and so animated that it would make it a virtual impossibility for such an execution to take place. The reason for this is because such a case would be combining two "sacred cows" of the left; namely, support of legalized abortion and opposition to the death penalty. What lefist could resist going on a melodramatic tear if so plum a circumstance ever fell into their lap?

Thing is, many left-wingers claim inconsistency when those in opposition to legalized abortion also happen to favor the death penalty. In turn, many right-wingers also claim inconsistency whenever a supporter of legalized abortion also opposes the death penalty. I say that they are both right: they are both being inconsistent.

So thus, this suggests that, in order to have some credibility and consistency in one's views, a person should either be both for or against these two issues --just as I am in my opposition to both. Being in favor of one and opposing the other suggests that this person has not thought out their views enough, or that they don't care that they are inconsistent in their views. In either case, it's just as bad.

I would say that I will be keeping an eye on this, just to see what develops, but I don't think anything will develop, because again, an abortion doctor given a death sentence would attract left wingers like little else could, and why would any right-winger simply give a left winger such a prime opportunity to make a spectacular production out of this? Nope, this issue is actually a non-issue, and it ain't going anywhere. However, I WILL see if this story crops up again.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Which sci-fi personality are you?

For sci-fi fans, here's a way to determine which personality type you are.

For Star Wars.

(I was Luke)

For Star Trek.

(I was Chekov.)

E-mail me and let me know what you came up with, and maybe later I'll post some results to see what kind of readers I have.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Texas Governor's race

This article states that the independent candidate for governor of Texas, Kinky Friedman, can use his nickname of "Kinky" instead of his given name of Richard on the voting ballot. Well, I breathed a sigh of relief. ;-)

Actually, I'm glad that they are going to allow it, because that's how everyone knows him; as Kinky Friedman. And now that both he and Carole Keeton Strayhorn are officially on the ballot as independents, this just might shape up to be one heckuvan innerestin' governor's race.

I still feel that it's Rick Perry's election to lose --he just has to keep from doing anything stupid and the election is pretty much in the bag. Here's how I feel the other three candidates shape up:

* Chris Bell - candidate for the Democratic Party. Long, long shot to win. For Bell to win, all three other candidates will have to do something so bad and so wrong and in so dramatic and spectacular a way that he is the only viable alternative left. He's the guy that is equivalent to an NFL football team on the bubble of making it into the playoffs that needs a complex set of actions that need to occur first. He'll be lucky to be third in the final tally of votes. This is not his fault, but rather that of the perception of the Democratic Party, which does not have a great deal of appeal in Texas.

* Kinky Friedman - independent. Not as long a shot, but still long; largely because he acts like such a goofball most of the time that it won't be easy for voters to take his candidacy seriously. Even if the voters take his candidacy seriously, they may not think that he'll take the governorship seriously should he win the election. Right now, Friedman needs to battle this perception, and the sooner, the better. This is not to say that he needs to lose his sense of humor, but rather that he needs to learn how to use his humor more effectively so that it helps his campaign instead of reinforcing his "goofy" reputation.

* Carole Keeton Strayhorn - independent. Of the three, she has the best chance of unseating Perry. However, she'll have to convince the voters that she can be more than "not-Perry". Plus, she has a reputation of a large ego. She'll need to sell her ability to do the job as governor, and she would also benefit from a Perry gaffe, and the bigger the gaffe, the better for her. She has to play all her cards right and take advantage of all the help that comes her way; in short, she needs nothing less than a brilliant campaign, and even then, it might not be enough --but people don't run for office to lose, so she needs to adopt that mindset so that it comes through in her public appearances.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Alternate definitions

From an e-mail that I just received:


The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners..

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

14. Glibido: All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter, when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.


Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.): the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.): appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.): to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.): to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Negligent (adj.): describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

6. Lymph (v.): to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n.): olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.): emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are runover by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.): a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.): a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.): the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n): a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.): a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.) [back by popular demand]: The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Benny Baloney detective stories

First, no Weekend Wrap-up this week, folks. It will be back next week.

However, I want to bring up some short detective stories that I write on the side, and for which I've gained a small but dedicated audience. The main character is named Benny Baloney, and he's the classical tough-guy 1940's private eye who, despite having a jaded and cynical outlook on life, still fights the good fight and tries to do his part to clean up his town.

The first BB story I wrote on a lark, but my readers asked for another. They liked that one as well, and asked for another. Well, before you know it, I've written 10 short stories in 2 years, and my readers are still asking for more.

I'm not quite sure what attracts readers to my BB stories, but apparently I have a knack for writing such stories. Anyway, here is a link to a draft archive of all my BB stories in the order that I wrote them. Later on I will be adding graphics and other such art onto here, but for now, this archive provides a list of all of the stories that I have written so far. By the way, the archive was something else that my readers asked for, and while I was away from work on an almost 2 week vacation, I finally did enough of the archive to at least have all of the BB stories on it.

So check out the archive, read the stories, and drop me an e-mail and let me know what you think. :-)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Unuzuel speling

Today is "Freaky Friday!" On Fridays, I shall post a news article on an unusual topic --hence the name, "Freaky Friday". ;-)

Heer' an artikul on making it eezier tu spel wurds in the English lainguige.

Just to illustrate a point, the article alternates between correct spelling, and spelling in words that is supposed to make the words easier to spell.

Houevur, theez "alturnut speling" wurds aktuallie make it hardur to reed then wen wurds r speld curektlee.

Plus, I don't doubt that-- even if these "alternate spelling" words are adopted-- some years down the road, even those new words will be too hard to spell for future generations. Then they'll try to simplify words that have already been simplified. I think it's best to leave well enough alone. If someone's too lazy to spell correctly, then I don't see why the rest of us have to accomodate lazy f0lks just so that they can feel better about themselves. Plus, with those who have genuine reading difficulties, will these "alternate spelling" words help them overcome their reading difficulties, or will it make their problem worse? I say the latter.

Bai thuh wai, trie tu spel in alturnut speling. It'z nott eezie tu du! It took me longur to rite this sentencuh than it took tu rite thuh paragraf abuv it!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Terri Schiavo

"Man's brain seemed to fix itself"

The paragraph below is from the article that is linked above:

“Wallis' sudden recovery happened three years ago at a rehabilitation center in Mountain View, Ark., but doctors said the same cannot be hoped for people in a persistent vegetative state, such as Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who died last year after a fierce right-to-die court battle. Nor do doctors know how to make others with less serious damage, like Wallis, recover.”


In the news article linked above, mention is made of Terri Schiavo, and it’s how she’s mentioned that I have issue with. First off, Terri didn’t just “die”, she was starved to death! However, this article makes no mention of that very important fact, even though it is an important point to bring up in this issue of people in a “persistent vegetative state.” The way this was presented above is offensive, and I’ll give an example why.

Suppose you oppose the death penalty (which I do), and a man was executed by the electric chair after being on death row for over 10 years. Someone who is passionate in their opposition to the death penalty will want a news report of the execution to give details so as to highlight the brutality of the death penalty. But what if, instead, the news report mentioned the execution in this way?

“Jim Smith, after spending 10 years on death row, died this morning.”

See how much is missing here?

Jim Smith didn’t just “die”, he was executed! A lethal dose of electricity was sent through his body! His body jumped and jerked as sparks flew out of his body! This is what death by the electric chair does! It’s gruesome! It’s why it isn’t used anymore!

So getting back to Terri Schiavo, she didn’t just “die”, she was made to starve to death over a two week period. You know what happens to the human body when it is starving? Most likely, you don’t. That’s because we in the U.S.A. are well fed. TOO well fed, according to some news articles. But we do know enough that it isn’t pretty.

According to a Wikipedia article of this issue, here’s some effects of starvation:



  • Decreased resting metabolic rate (RMR)
  • Drop in sex hormones
  • Decreased sexual interest
  • Amenorrhea (no menses)
  • Lanugo (growth of insulating hair)
  • Bone loss
  • Constipation and gastrointestinal upset
  • Sleep disorder
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hypothermia
  • Loss of lean body mass
  • Changes in brain chemistry regulating appetite and food cravings


  • Preoccupation with food - collecting recipes
  • Unusual eating habits
  • Increased consumption of fluids
  • Increased use of spices
  • Loss of the body's natural mechanisms for regulating hunger and fullness
  • Less pickiness about tastes
  • Binge eating


  • Decreased concentration
  • Poor judgment
  • Apathy

Emotional and social

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • [Sandy behavior]
  • Lability (constantly changing moods)
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Personality changes
  • Social withdrawal


In light of this knowledge, is starving Terri Schiavo to death made better –that is, is it made more dignified and acceptable—by the fact that she couldn’t tell us that she was in great pain from being starved to death? I hope you can now see how it is an injustice to simply say “the Florida woman who died last year”. The impacts and effects of “the right to die” needs to always be brought up and addressed when this topic comes up, for it is still an issue that is still being debated to this day.

The state-sanctioned starvation death of Terri Schiavo is even more appalling than when the state executes criminals. While I oppose the death penalty, at least in theory the criminal has had his day in court –but in the case of Terri Schiavo, her only “crime” was an inconvenient existence.

I think that the above article should have mentioned Terri Schiavo in this way:

“Wallis' sudden recovery happened three years ago at a rehabilitation center in Mountain View, Ark., but doctors said the same cannot be hoped for people in a persistent vegetative state, such as Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who died from starvation last year after a fierce right-to-die court battle. Nor do doctors know how to make others with less serious damage, like Wallis, recover.”

While I would say even more were I the writer of that article, at least my editing above acknowledges HOW she died (which, again, is important to the issue of “the right to die”), rather than just mentioning that she died.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Before I leave San Antonio, Texas....

I had to do one blog entry before I left San Antonio, Texas.

Folks, SA is a great city. There's lots to see. And it's SO big. It's grown considerably (and that's really an understatement) since the last time I was here. I had to think about when that was, and it was the early 90's-- so it was over 10 years ago!

What I noticed right away about downtown SA is the number of high-rise hotels that have cropped up like weeds since the last time I was here. That reflects how much SA has grown since then. My friend (whose wedding I was in town for) told me that SA is the nation's 7th largest city, and that it has surpassed Dallas. That, I didn't know, and it surprised me.

There's more that I can talk about, but I've got to get packing now. However, I will be talking more about my trip to SA over the next couple of weeks, as well as show pictures (one of the wonderful things about blogs). There's other things that I can bring up that truly deserve their own entries rather than all be lumped together into one entry --which is why I decided to just spread them out.

In summary, I greatly enjoyed my time here, and the wedding was fantastic, and I was honored to not just be AT the wedding, but to be IN it. Brenda and Tim, thank you very much for having me there on your special day. May God guide you both in your journey together. And have fun in California!