Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hollywood Burns! And This Time It Wasn't A Movie

Flames allegedly ignited by two teens sent smoke seeping into the Warner Bros. studios and towering high in the sky behind the famous Hollywood sign Friday before losing intensity. The 150-acre blaze started near a corporate housing complex east of Universal City, south of the Warner Bros. studios complex in Burbank.

Two teens from Illinois were in custody and told authorities they caused the fire. He said there was a witness, but he had no other details. "They've admitted that they started this fire," the mayor said at a news conference. He said they were "old enough to know what they were doing." What the heck were these kids doing lighting off fireworks in the Hollywood Hills. Let's see...it's extremely dry, the vegitation is like kindling and we haven't had rain since God knows how long. Smart kids. Got to love that Illinois education system!

For several hours smoke roiled into the sky behind the famous Hollywood sign that stands on the south face of the hills, but the flames made no move down the south face and by late afternoon the landmark appeared to be well out of any danger. The view from where I work at CBS in Hollywood was fantastic, but driving home in the traffic was miserable. Again, thanks boys.

During the height of the fire, Scott Rowe, vice president of corporate communications for Warner Bros. Entertainment said the company was monitoring the situation. I'm sure there were some people at WB who were trying to figure out how to get a film crew out there. Sure would save money when they make this story, the story of two wayward Illinois teens, into a movie-of-the-week or something!

But thanks to the efforts of LA Firefighter's, all was saved. These guys are some of the best damned people in the world. They constantly are putting their lives in danger because of what some idiot did to amuse himself. Didn't people ever hear of video games or Tivo?

Maybe WB should make a movie about our firefighters. At least they are not idiots!

Friday, March 30, 2007

pornsite.xxx: If We Can Regulate So Many Stupid Things, Why Can't We Regulate Something That Really Would Make Us Safer?

In a move that would probably make the internet a safer place for all of us, especially our children, the agency that sets the Internet addressing guidelines influencing how people navigate the Web defeated a proposal Friday to give adult Web sites their own ".xxx" domain.

Many in the adult-entertainment industry and religious groups alike had criticized the plan, (did I really read that right? Religious groups and the porn industry agree on something???) which the Canadian government also warned this week could leave the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers in the tricky business of content regulation. The 9-5 decision by ICANN's board came nearly seven years after the proposal was first floated by ICM Registry LLC. It was the third time ICANN has rejected such a bid. One member, in practicing "safe naming", abstained from voting.

"We are extremely disappointed by the boards action today," said Stuart Lawley, ICM's president and chief executive. "It is not supportable for any of the reasons articulated by the board, ignores the rules ICANN itself adopted for the RFP, and makes a mockery of ICANN by-laws' prohibition of unjustifiable discriminatory treatment." He added that ICM would pursue the matter energetically.

Many of the board members said they were concerned about the possibility that ICANN could find itself in the content regulation business if the domain name was approved. Others criticized that, saying ICANN should not block new domains over fears like that, noting that local, state and national laws could be used to decide what is pornographic and what is not. Now, adding the .xxx domain would have been easy, passing a law is going to cost us a crapload of money in legislation that probably won't work.

Other board members said they believed that opposition to the domain by the adult industry, including Web masters, content providers and others, was proof that the issue was divisive and that ".xxx" was not a welcome domain. I guess it would be easier to see what porn sites you'd been to recently if you checked out somebody's history cache and looked for any .xxx domains, hunh?

So, how do we protect our kids from internet porn? I guess there is only 1 answer to that question. Watch your friggin' kids. Look at their history file. We can regulate everything else in the world, including smoking in cars which was stupid to legislate in the first place as this took some common sense, but we can't make the internet any safer for our kids.

This is a plus for NBC. It means that their "Dateline NBC: To Catch A Predator" just got picked up for another season. Congratulations to NBC and welcome to the new players in internet porn!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Once A Year We Get To See Our President In A Whole New Light

In keeping with the lighthearted traditions of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner last night in Washington, DC, President George "Dubya" Bush poked fun at himself and a few others in remarks that drew laughter and applause at the Washington Hilton Hotel. The RTCA even persuaded Bush political adviser Karl Rove to participate in an improvised rap song. The black-tie dinner, the group's 63rd annual gathering of journalists, politicians and their guests, features political and topical humor and in keeping with tradition, our President showed that even he can see the humor in himself.

For me, listening to the RTCA dinner is one of the few times I really think that you see our political machine in a different light. In fact, some of the guests are even real people. Do you believe that? Now I'm sure I could find something to bash Mr. Bush for but today I am going to lay off the bashing and congratulate Mr. Bush on a job well done...maybe we just need a little more of this every now and then.

Here are a few highlights of the humor from the Presidents remarks at the dinner last night...

"A year ago my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn, and my vice president had shot someone," President Bush said Wednesday night during the annual gathering.

"Ah," he said, "those were the good ol' days."

Bush thanked the organization for providing dinner, "and I'd like to thank Senator Webb for providing security."

Virginia's Democratic senator, Jim Webb, had to explain this week why an aide was carrying a loaded handgun as he tried to enter a Capitol complex building.

Noting that Vice President Dick Cheney was not in attendance, Bush said: "He's had a rough few weeks. To be honest, his feelings were kind of hurt. He said he was going on vacation to Afghanistan where people like him."

Cheney's recent trip to Afghanistan was marked by a bombing near where he was meeting with officials.

On the controversy over the Justice Department's firing of eight federal prosecutors, Bush said: "I have to admit we really blew the way we let those attorneys go. You know you've botched it when people sympathize with lawyers."

Acknowledging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the head table, Bush said some had wondered how he'd get along with her. "Some say she's bossy, she's opinionated, she's not to be crossed," he said. "Hey, I get along with my mother."

Looking ahead to life after leaving the White House, Bush said he might follow President Clinton's lead and produce a memoir.

"I'm thinking of something really fun and creative for mine," he said. "You know, maybe a pop-up book."

Possible titles: "How W. Got His Groove Back," "Who Moved My Presidency?" and "Tuesday with Cheney."

But seriously, folks, Bush noted that another person missing from the audience of broadcast journalists was Sen. Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat running for president.

"Not enough press," the president cracked.

Have a great day everybody...now get back to work! Including you Mr. President.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stop The Madness
California Attempts To Pass Smoking Law Due To Stupid People

A California lawmaker wants to protect children from secondhand smoke by making it illegal to light up in cars when minors are inside. In a time when cigarette manufacturers have paid out billions in Federal and State settlements, why in God's name haven't learned to heed that warning that is printed on every friggin' package of cigs for the last who knows how many years?

SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING
Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease,

Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy.


Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, introduced legislation that would make it a crime to smoke in a vehicle when anyone under the age of 18 is present. Violators would face fines up to $100 for the infraction. "I think it's very important for us to protect children against the exposures to second hand smoke,” Oropeza said. “This is a way to do that."

Oropeza's bill, SB 7, would also require the State Department of Public Health to conduct a public awareness campaign, alerting Californians to the dangers of secondhand smoke in confined places. Critics say the measure is another "nanny government" bill, and say legislators should butt out of private lives. I agree. What type of people are we, and what kind of parent, if they can read and listen over the past 25 years, doesn't realize that smoking with a child in the car isn't a good thing?

"We don't need you to micromanage us," said Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa. "We don't need [government] to wipe our noses for us all the time with these overly prescriptive pieces of legislation." Oropeza’s bill is expected to be heard by the Assembly Health Committee later this month. Two previous attempts to pass similar car smoking bans failed in the Legislature.

As a smoker, I understand the reason for tougher laws but we as a nation of highly-intelligent people have gotten out of hand. We've attacked the tobacco industry so much it's pathetic. Why not go after the alcohol companies. I mean, come on, a lot of people die in alcohol-related accidents, liver failure and other medical problems. But do we go after them? Hell no. Why? Because what fat-cat Senator or Representative doesn't like a good Port with his illegally imported Cuban cigar? Maybe our Surgeon General (any idea who he is? I haven't known one since C. Everett Koop) should put this warning on every pack...

SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING
Smoking Causes Lung Cancer,
Heart Disease, Emphysema, May Complicate Pregnancy
And Cause Normal Intelligent People To Become Stupid
Due To The Fact That They Don't Realize That Smoking This Possible
Death Causing Substance Could Actually Kill You,
Cause Really Disgusting Cancer Spots To Appear On Your Skin,
Cause Thick Tarry Mucous and Phlem,
And Although Not Cited By a Government Study,
Could Cause Your Penis To Fall Off.


Now stick that in your absent-minded hat and smoke it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Delta CEO Taking One For The Team - When Employees Have Already Taken It In The Shorts!

The Chief Executive of Delta Airlines Gerald Grinstein isn't expecting a pat on the back when the airline emerges from bankruptcy. In fact, he's not expecting much of anything. But media sources and airline industry analysts are making this guy out to be a corporate saint...yeah, right!

Grinstein, who is planning to step down when Delta emerges from Chapter 11, declined all management equity awards, payments or severance that he otherwise would be entitled. When asked why he's forgoing the money, Grinstein told the Wall Street Journal that Delta "is a terrific company, and I wanted to see it succeed if I could help."

Grinstein, who has led the USA's No. 3 airline since January 2004, said he wants Delta instead to invest what he would have gotten in post-bankruptcy bonuses, to be used for scholarships and emergency hardship assistance for Delta employees, families and retirees. Under a post-bankruptcy compensation plan unveiled Monday, Grinstein could have been expected to net about $10 million, including such bonuses, over about three years.

Gee Mr. Grinstein, today when many people are losing or have lost their homes due to sub-prime loans, or when pilots of Delta take a 50% pay cut to save your company's ass, it is just so totally refreshing to find a CEO that understand that it's not all about him.

The Journal points out that Grinstein already has amassed a fortune from his business career. How much has this mega-company CEO actually collected in salary and bonuses when his employees have taken a pay cut in the last few years? He will continue collect a base salary of $338,000.

Of course, Delta's employees deserve to be rewarded for their sacrifices don't ya think?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The World Tiniest Celebrity
A Story Worth Reading!

Okay...if you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably think I don't have much of a heart. Well, you're wrong. For the past couple of weeks, I've been fascinated with the story of an abandoned polar bear named Knut. Knut was born in December and just made his first public appearance this week, though he's already been featured on TV. He and his late sister, Gnut, were the first polar bears to be born at the Berlin Zoo in 30 years. The Berlin ice hockey team has asked if Knut can be their mascot. Hmm... wonder why?

He's only 15 weeks old, but the Berlin Zoo's impossibly cute polar bear cub Knut already has become a sought-after media star in his home city with his own TV show and video podcast, a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz, a long-awaited public debut and he will be put on public view after building a following through the zoo's Internet site and daily pictures in newspapers. Fascination with the nearly 19-pound bear, has only grown in recent days, after headlines generated by an animal activist who insisted that the cub should have been left to die after his mother ignored him and his brother -- who later died -- after their birth in December.

Zoo officials intervened, instead, choosing to raise the cub themselves through bottle-feeding and keeping the cub in an incubator. The story earlier this week prompted quick condemnations from the zoo, politicians and other animal rights groups who argued that although the bear would be more used to humans than his counterparts in the wild, there was no reason not to have kept the cub alive.

"Polar bears are under threat of extinction, and if we feed the bear with a bottle, it has a good chance of growing up and perhaps becoming attractive as a stud for other zoos," Andre Schuele, another veterinarian at the zoo said. The fuss over "Cute Knut" continued on Wednesday with Germany's largest newspaper, Bild, publishing a Knut poster, matched by Berlin's own B.Z. tabloid. Knut, who recently posed for a photo shoot with star-photographer Annie Leibovitz for an environmental protection campaign, will star in a TV series documenting his life on Berlin's RBB public television station starting Sunday.

Knut relishes the attention he's receiving as "Berlin's tiniest celebrity." And for you convenience, and enjoyment, I have put together a little slide show of the little polar bear who has captured the heart of millions of people around the world. With all the crap that's going on in the celebrity world...Anna Nicole, Brittney Spears, March Madness, and countless other useless news stories that are out there in recent weeks, it's about time that we made a celebrity out of something good...and cute.

So, without further ado...let me introduce you to "Knut the Cute!"


From Pete's Pulpit:
It's not the religion fails people - it's the people that fail their religion.

It's hard to look at this world, and some of the people who get ahead, without asking ourselves why we should be moral, ethical and responsbile. However normal it is to think like this, the question should be off limits for people who profess strong religious beliefs, right? After all, what religion does not mandate morality?

To religious people, the motivation is grounded in the acceptance of a duty to be a good person in the eyes of God, not in anticipation of personal benefits. Dishonest, irresponsible, or unfair conduct is simply wrong. Many people quote the bible on this.

Although skeptics may be suspicious of the rhetoric of religious advocates and preachers, there is a positive relationship between religious conviction and virtue. The vast majority of deeply religious people draw guidance and strength from their beliefs and live better lives. We are not all perfect, but at least religion can give us the strength to try.

Still, religious claims and sincere convictions are no guarantee of genuine righteousness.

Besides disturbed individuals who believe God commands them to perform horrible acts, such as Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, or priests who molest parishioners, we must face the fact that Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom and John Rigas of Adelphia, the masterminds of some of the world`s greatest swindles, were highly vocal and visible about their Christian beliefs. For many true believers, these people put a scar on believing in a higher power.

Whether these wrongdoers were mentally ill, hypocrites, frauds, or sincere believers with personal weaknesses, they remind us we can't take for granted the link between religious claims and worthy conduct. It's not the religion fails people - it's the people that fail their religion.

In the end, regardless of its source, righteousness is revealed in ethical and upright conduct, not rhetoric. Believing in a "higher Power" is better than believing in nothing at all. If living a life according to a purpose set forth by my God, or your God and make you think before you act, then maybe it's not a bad thing.

This might even lead us to a day when we're walking down the hallway at work and somebody asks us, "How ya doin'?" and we reply with, "Pretty Good!" as opossed to, "hunh?"

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tired of Basketball?
The REAL March Madness!

Okay, if you're like me, then you're tired of turning on the TV and seeing nothing but basketball, basketball and even more basketball. But now there is about to be an event that will put the NCAA's March Madness to shame. And this is real news. Real life. Stuff we should really care about. I mean, how important is it to our society if some little college basketball team makes it to the top of the tournament ladder and then most of thos players get picked up by the NBA?

Well it's time to introduce you to the real poster for March Madness 2007. And this one is real and will impact our lives forever. As they say, this one is "ripped from the headlines!"

Enjoy...and have a great day!

Friday, March 23, 2007

My Faith In The Medical Profession Is Getting Restored:The Tale of Two Doctors

Well, I'm home! Last weekend I had the flu. But this flu was a bit different. I had 2 little episodes in which I went from laying down to getting up in which I fainted. I thought to myself that maybe this was some sort of middle ear infection or something and decided to see a doctor. But this time, my wife insisted that I see her doctor. She got me an appointment with him and for the first time in a long time, I got to really see the medical profession at work.

Let me introduce you to Dr. Michael Marsh. A real doctor, with a real personality. I typically expected to see a doctor who would look in my ears, look in my throat, make me cough and then tell me that's it's the flu that's been going around. Then he'd give me a couple of samples of some drug along with a prescription to get more (hey, everybody's gotta make some money off the sick) and send me on my way. But not Dr. Marsh.

As soon as I got in there he decided he needed to give me a workup. I thought that this ought to be good. He then sat with me and ordered a blood test, EKG, chest x-ray and to have my ears cleaned out. Within minutes, members of his staff had me going from test to test. About a half hour later, he came back (I had barely finished the tests) and said he had a problem with my blood results. He said that I was extremely anemic and on a scale in which "14" is considered normal I was only a "6"! Well, he then decided to pick up his cell phone, call St. Joseph's Hospital across the street to see if they had a bed for me as I needed a blood transfusion and needed it fast.

But, like most hospitals, beds are at a premium. He gave them my cell phone number and told them to call when they had a bed available. He also arranged to have a Hematologist (Dr. Arzoo) see me. So I went home and waited for the phone to ring. And it did ring!

At about 3:30 that afternoon, I got called to the hospital and was admitted quickly and effortlessly. They took some blood to the lab nd within a couple of hours, Dr. Arzoo came by and gave his basic prognosis. He wasn't 100% sure but I was low not just in iron but in red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Why? Could it be the many years of mal-absorption sue to my gastric-bypass surgery? There was not easy way to tell but his initial diagnosis was called Pancytopenia. Most people in my condition with my levels would not be walking. But due to the fact that my body is so freakin' abnormal, it compensated to not having been correct for a long time.

By definition, Pancytopenia is a medical condition in which there is a reduction in the number of red and white blood cells, as well as platelets. Pancytopenia is generally due to diseases affecting the bone marrow, although peripheral destruction of all lines of blood cells in hypersplenism (overactive spleen) is a recognised cause. Bone marrow problems causing pancytopenia include myelofibrosis, leukemia and aplastic anemia. Increasingly, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is itself a cause for pancytopenia. Rarely, drugs (antibiotics, blood pressure medication, heart medication) can cause pancytopenia. Pancytopenia usually requires a bone marrow biopsy in order to distinguish among different causes.


It was decided that I would get 5 liters (yes, that's 5 liters) of blood along with a bunch of B12 and Iron. Since my condidition was so severe, he decided to spread out the transfusion over three days. That sucked for me as most of you know how stir crazy I can get. Well, yesterday we finally topped off the oil (ok, the blood) and Dr. Arzoo decided to do a bone-marrow biopsy as he still couldn't figure out what the heck was causing my problem. My levels were looking better but not superb. I was around an "8" now, up three points from my admission. With all the new juice and stuff, I was up and at 'em every morning at 4:00 AM and feeling great. So, after the biopsy and another dose of iron, it was go-home time!

So now I am home with scheduled doctor's appointments next week. I anticipate going back to work on Tuesday and hope to get some sign of results from the biopsy soon. In the meantime, it'll be some pills for me until we come up with a definitive diagnosis and course of treatment. In the meantime, stay tuned for more of this saga.

In conclusion, I think I have finally found two doctor's in the entire medical profession that actually give a crap about the patient and are dedicated to solving and explaining the problem. These guys may not have the answers as of yet, but they seem like they aren't going to stop trying until they do. My hat's off to them. I have finally found some people in the medical profession who are doing "intervention" style medicine instead of "body-shop dent repair" after it all happens.

Ah yes, my faith in doctor's and medicine are being restored.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

One of My Favorite Topics:
Let's Sue Before We Know What's Going On!

Hey, I love my pets just like everyone else. The recent food scare announced on March 16 the precautionary recall of a portion of the dog and cat food it manufactured between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007. The recall, which is limited to "cuts and gravy" style pet food in cans and pouches manufactured at two of the Fund's United States facilities. These products are both manufactured and sold under private-label and are contract-manufactured for some national brands. The deadly pet food has dog and cat owners studying their animals for even the slightest hint of illness and swamping veterinarians across the U.S. with calls about symptoms both real and imagined.

UPDATE
(CBS News) Rat poison has been found in pet food blamed for the deaths of at least 16 cats and dogs, a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets said Friday. The toxin was identified as aminopterin, state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said in a statement. Aminopterin is used to kill rats in some countries, but it's not registered for that use in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The officials did not say how they believe it got into the pet food.

The substance was found at a level of at least 40 parts per million in tested cat food samples, according to Donald Smith, dean of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Testing was done at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell and at the New York State Food Laboratory. "Any amount of this product is too much in food," Hooker said.The lab tested three cat food samples provided by Menu Foods, the manufacturer that produced all the recalled food. Aminopterin was found in two samples. The lab has not tested any dog food. Hooker said the lab would be testing individual components of the pet food.
END OF UPDATE

Some of the 60 million cans and pouches of food have been blamed for kidney failure in scores of animals and killed at least 16 pets. Neither the manufacturer, Menu Foods of Canada, top researcher's at Cornell and other institutions, nor authorities have been able to determine why the pets died. The recall has led to at least three lawsuits against Menu Foods from pet owners who allege their animals got sick or died after eating recalled food.

"It's a loss that goes beyond belief," agreed Frederick Bobb, of Merrick, N.Y., whose 2-year-old bull mastiff, Princess, died of kidney failure on March 10. Bobb said his dog had eaten Nutro, one of the recalled dog food brands, all her life. Bobb's attorney, Kenneth Mollins, said he had filed a lawsuit against Nutro and Menu Foods in state Supreme Court in Nassau County seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Atlanta veterinarian Will Draper received so many calls and e-mails about the recall that he drafted a newsletter on it and e-mailed his customers. "That helped tremendously," Draper said. "It has calmed clients." Some Veterinarians are directing most questions to the Food and Drug Administration's recall Web site and some have agreed to run blood tests on pets, even though many of the animals have not consumed any of the recalled brands.

Pet owners with animals showing symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy and extreme thirst are being told to bring them in for immediate examination.

Denise Tracy of Milford, Mass., said her first thought after hearing about the recall was, "Oh my gosh, I killed my cat." Fluffy's health deteriorated after Tracy fed her Special Kitty brand food, one of the recalled labels, and she had to euthanize the 11-year-old cat last week. She said the family, including her five children, are heartbroken. Her husband has contacted a lawyer, and she plans to contact her state's attorney general.

"They're killing animals because of somebody's mistake," Tracy said. "They should be held accountable for that."

So who is to blame in all this? That is a good question but I have a strong feeling that many people are going to sue Menu Foods even if their cat Fluffy ate a mouse on his daily patrol of the backyard and got sick. The potential for the amount of mindless litigation is tremendous. There are so many other possibilities for the symptoms which are presented. I've seen one of our cats die of renal failure. But it wasn't from Pet Food. I hope people keep an eye on their pets, avoided the listed foods below for the time being until the source can be isolated and then as people we stay calm and not try to destroy another company because their initial tests never showed any problem.

How bad is this whole thing going to get. I'm sure it will get bigger and more angrier. Just like we watch what we put in our own mouths, we've got to watch what we give our pets. "The recall is huge. It's unprecedented, and people are seeing their dog food is on the list and picking up the phone, wondering if there's anything they can do or what to do," said Tim Hackett, who runs a small-animal clinic at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Hackett concludes his statement with what I like to see as the best outcome...

"Fortunately, most of these animals are absolutely fine."

Cat Foods

  • Americas Choice, Preferred Pets
  • Authority
  • Best Choice
  • Companion
  • Compliments
  • Demoulas Market Basket
  • Eukanuba
  • Fine Feline Cat
  • Food Lion
  • Foodtown
  • Giant Companion
  • Hannaford
  • Hill Country Fare
  • Hy-Vee
  • Iams
  • Laura Lynn
  • Li'l Red
  • Loving Meals
  • Meijer's Main Choice
  • Nutriplan
  • Nutro Max Gourmet Classics
  • Nutro Natural Choice
  • Paws
  • Pet Pride
  • Presidents Choice
  • Price Chopper
  • Priority US
  • Save-A-Lot Special Blend
  • Schnucks
  • Science Diet Feline Savory Cuts Cans
  • Sophistacat
  • Special Kitty Canada
  • Special Kitty US
  • Springfield Prize
  • Sprout
  • Stop & Shop Companion
  • Tops Companion
  • Wegmans
  • Weis Total Pet
  • Western Family US
  • White Rose
  • Winn Dixie

    Dog Foods

  • Americas Choice, Preferred Pets
  • Authority
  • Award
  • Best Choice
  • Big Bet
  • Big Red
  • Bloom
  • Cadillac
  • Companion
  • Demoulas Market Basket
  • Eukanuba
  • Food Lion
  • Giant Companion
  • Great Choice
  • Hannaford
  • Hill Country Fare
  • Hy-Vee
  • Iams
  • Laura Lynn
  • Loving Meals
  • Meijers Main Choice
  • Mighty Dog Pouch
  • Mixables
  • Nutriplan
  • Nutro Max
  • Nutro Natural Choice
  • Nutro Ultra
  • Nutro
  • Ol'Roy Canada
  • Ol'Roy US
  • Paws
  • Pet Essentials
  • Pet Pride - Good n Meaty
  • Presidents Choice
  • Price Chopper
  • Priority Canada
  • Priority US
  • Publix
  • Roche Brothers
  • Save-A-Lot Choice Morsels
  • Schnucks
  • Shep Dog
  • Springsfield Prize
  • Sprout
  • Stater Brothers
  • Stop & Shop Companion
  • Tops Companion
  • Wegmans Bruiser
  • Weis Total Pet
  • Western Family US
  • White Rose
  • Winn Dixie
  • Your Pet
  • Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    Oprah Opens Another School In South Africa To My Dismay! How About Yours?

    Oprah Winfrey opened her second school for poor South African youth Friday, an innovative, environmentally friendly institution she hopes will be a model for public education. And considering some of the things I've read in the news lately, the American model for how kids are today...even in poor Africa, hold true. Let me give you a little background before I rant.

    The Seven Fountains Primary School was funded by Oprah's Angel Network, a public charity that supports organizations and projects focused on education and literacy." The Seven Fountains School is an example of what schools in South Africa can become," Winfrey said at the formal dedication of the school outside the remote town of Kokstad in eastern KwaZulu-Natal province.

    The $1.6 million school, which will be run by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, has 25 classrooms, three multipurpose rooms, a library, computer center, landscaped playground and two sports fields. Winfrey emphasized the importance of education in combatting poverty and said every child had a right to succeed. "We are here today to celebrate the transformative power of education," she said.

    The lavish $40 million school was the fulfillment of a promise she made to Mandela six years ago and aims to give 152 girls from deprived backgrounds a quality education in a country where schools are struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid.

    Now here's where the news stories get me. Read on.

    But some parents have complained to local media about academy rules limiting the girls to one family visit a month and restricting their cell phone calls and consumption of junk food. "It was a nightmare," Frances Mans told the News24 Web site. "We had only two hours to see my child. Surely this isn't a prison?" John Samuel, chief operating officer for the academy, said parents had raised their concerns with Winfrey by telephone and had been reassured."They say they are satisfied that the girls are not being treated unfairly," he said, adding that the school had tried to discourage parents from bringing the girls soft drinks or sweets because they were fed a nutritious diet.

    Now this appears to me that this school is somewhat elitist. ActionAid, a global development group, said Winfrey's money could have been better spent improving the quality of education for more children. Cell phones? In Africa? Poverty? How is that. My cell phone bill runs over $100/month without text messaging. How can the "poor South African youth" Oprah is building this school for afford cell phones, soft drinks or sweets?

    I will bet there are some people in Louisiana who can't afford a cell phone after what Katrina did down there. Maybe some of Oprah's "funding" ought to go to help some of the poor here in America. It's been a couple of years and we are still hearing horror stories of that devastating hurricane. I commend Oprah on what she's done with her money but after reading this one article, I think it's time she looks at her own country - a country that has supported her TV shows, books, etc. - and helps to rebuild some of the broken lives here in America.

    And while she's at it, why don't some other philanthropists get together and give cell phones to every man, woman and child here in America.

    That's what I call, "Raising the Bar!"

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    Reality of Life Meets Reality TV
    Jerry Springer Would Be Proud!

    How stupid are we? Did we forget everything we learned in grade school? Well, it appears so. A new Fox TV show, "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" premiered less than eight weeks after the initial pitch from Mark Burnett and Zoo Productions — a blink of an eye in television terms. The new game has passed some tests of its own on the way to humiliating adults and making kids across the country feel smug — the 12.2 million people who tuned in Thursday helped the family friendly show win its time slot.

    So what basic knowledge have we, as adults, forgotten? Well, contestants try to answer questions from elementary school textbooks while real fifth graders stand by to offer help. Unless you're an accountant, the math is the most frightening: On one show, the pint-sized experts easily got the answer when host Jeff Foxworthy asked how many sides are there in a trapezoid. If you’re wondering if YOU’RE smarter than a fifth grader, why not test yourself with some of the questions from last week's episode. (you can even go online to take a quiz and possibly be a contestant????)...

    1. True or False, Polar bears feed on Penguins?

    2. If a triangle has an area of 16 square inches and a base of 8 inches, how long is its height? (4th grade math)

    3. Who is the first president to be impeached? (4th grade history)
    (Note: A UCLA lawyer didn’t get this one!)

    4. Name the ship that the pilgrims sailed on from Plymouth England to the Plymouth Colony in America in 1620.

    5. Part of a person’s sleep cycle is called a REM cycle. What does REM stand for? (4th grade health)

    You can test yourself even more by checking out the official show web site on FOX.com

    Okay. Can you really believe that this show is a hit? Heck, can you believe that some of us are really that stupid? Having fifth graders onstage to help the adults, as opposed to competing directly against them as the title might suggest, only increases the humiliation potential. Jeff Foxworthy, in his drier-than-toast manner, is there to stick the needle in further.

    "It's fun to watch people come on and make fools of themselves," said Marc Berman, analyst for Media Week Online. "It's sort of like the `Gong Show' of game shows, in a way. It's amazingly addictive." He also requires every contestant who misses a question or falls short of the ultimate $1 million prize — everyone who has played so far, in other words — to look directly into the camera and say, "I'm not smarter than a fifth grader."

    Welcome to our new world of reality "I'll make you looker dumber than dirt" reality shows. I only have one question to ask. And you better not need the help of a stinkin' fifth grader to answer it. Would you go on this show? If so, what would the top prize money have to be to get you to?

    Finally, for the record, the answer to the trapezoid question was four sides.

    Monday, March 19, 2007

    I've Got The Flu!
    Something To Make You Laugh!

    Well, I finally got the flu. And it sucks. I've been lying around all weekend trying to get rid of it and with what's been on the news, I figure we all need a good laugh. So, no deep inspirational thoughts or opinions today, just some good ol' humor sent to me by my friends, family and blog readers. Enjoy...I'll be back soon!

    So as not to be outdone by all the redneck, hillbilly, and Texan jokes, somebody had to come up with this...

    You Know You're From California If:

    1. Your coworker has 8 body piercings and none are visible.

    2. You make over $300,000 and still can't afford a house.

    3. You take a bus and are shocked at two people carrying on a conversation
    in English.

    4. Your child's 3rd-grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is named
    Flower.

    5. You can't remember . . is pot illegal?

    6. You've been to a baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm donor.

    7. You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown,
    and you can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian.

    8. You can't remember . . is pot illegal?

    9. A really great parking space can totally move you to tears.

    10. Gas costs $1.00 per gallon more than anywhere else in the U.S.

    11. Unlike back home, the guy at 8:30 am at Starbucks wearing a baseball cap
    and sunglasses who looks like George Clooney really IS George Clooney.

    12. Your car insurance costs as much as your house payment.

    13. You can't remember . . is pot illegal?

    14. It's barely sprinkling rain and there's a report on every news station:
    "STORM WATCH."

    15. You pass an elementary school playground and the children are all busy
    with their cells or pagers.

    16. It's barely sprinkling rain outside, so you leave for work an hour early
    to avoid all the weather-related accidents.

    17. HEY!!!! Is pot illegal????

    18. Both you AND your dog have therapists, psychics, personal trainers.

    19. The Terminator is your governor.

    20. If you drive illegally, they take your driver's license. If you're here
    illegally, they want to give you one.

    One Reason To Not Leave A Child Alone!


    A Scientific Test...Don't Ya Think?

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    Hershey's Ordered To Pay Obese Americans $135 Billion

    Now our legal justice system has truly gotten out of hand. Today I was reading and article on the internet and came across this one...
    HERSHEY, PA–In one of the largest product-liability rulings in U.S. history, the Hershey Foods Corporation was ordered by a Pennsylvania jury Monday to pay $135 billion in restitution fees to 900,000 obese Americans who for years consumed the company's fattening snack foods.

    "Let this verdict send a clear message to Big Chocolate," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Andrew Garsten, addressing reporters following the historic ruling. "If you knowingly sell products that cause obesity, you will pay."

    The five-state class-action suit accused Hershey's of "knowingly and willfully marketing rich, fatty candy bars containing chocolate and other ingredients of negligible nutritional value." The company was also charged with publishing nutritional information only under pressure from the government, marketing products to children, and artificially "spiking" their products with such substances as peanuts, crisped rice, and caramel to increase consumer appeal.

    Jurors took less than five hours to reach the decision following a two-year trial covering nearly one million snackers in Pennsylvania, Florida, New Hampshire, Arizona, and Texas. A majority of the unprecedented punitive damages will go toward obesity victims and their immediate families. The remainder will be funneled into weight-loss and youth-snacking prevention programs.

    "This is a vindication for myself and all chocolate victims," said Beaumont, TX, resident Earl Hoffler, holding a picture of his wife Emily, who in 1998 succumbed to obesity after nearly 40 years of chocoholism. "This award cannot bring Emily back, but I take some comfort knowing that her tragic, unnecessary death did not go unpunished."

    Hoffler's teary-eyed account of his wife's brave battle against chocolate was widely regarded as the emotional high point of the trial. First introduced to Hershey's chocolate as a young trick-or-treater, Emily quickly developed a four-bar-a-day habit, turning in adulthood to Hershey's Special Dark, a stronger, unfiltered form of the product. By age 47, she had ballooned to 352 pounds and was a full-blown chocoholic. What little savings the family had was drained by Weight Watchers memberships, Richard Simmons videotapes, and Fat Trapper pills, all of which proved futile and only prolonged the Tofflers' agonizing ordeal.

    Equally pleased by the ruling was Mel Brewer of Phoenix, whose father received free chocolate as a soldier during World War II.

    "Dad came back from Europe hooked," Brewer said. "Before long, he was going through a case of Mounds and Mr. Goodbars a week. He wouldn't eat ice cream without Hershey's chocolate syrup and crushed Heath bars on it. He died of a heart attack at age 54 weighing 415 pounds."

    With litigation pending against the nation's top five chocolate makers, including a $102 billion Mississippi suit against Nestle, the entire industry is on alert. Big Chocolate has already suffered numerous major setbacks in recent years. In 1997, a California judge ordered chocolate manufacturers to fund $27 billion in education programs to prevent youth chocolate consumption. In 1999, a federal judge prohibited chocolate advertising on TV and billboards and banned the use of cartoon imagery in advertising. In addition, the judge ruled that a warning label must be placed on all chocolate products reading, "The Surgeon General Has Determined That Eating Chocolate May Lead To Being Really Fat."

    Lawyers for the Hershey Corporation said the company intends to appeal the decision, which could drive the price of a 1.4-ounce pack of Rolos as high as $1.29.

    "Adult consumers know the risks involved in using our products," Hershey's chief counsel Marvin Black said. "They know that if not used in a responsible manner, there can be some negative consequences. But this is true of anything in life. Further, the decision to use our products is one that has always been left up to the individual. The Hershey Corporation has never forced anyone to use its products, nor has it ever intentionally added substances to its candies to increase addictiveness. If consumers are hooked, it is only because of said candy's overwhelmingly delicious chocolate goodness."

    Whatever the outcome of the Hershey's appeal, the chocolate industry has irrevocably changed as a result of Monday's verdict.

    "For over a century, Hershey's has lived off the fat of the land," Erie, PA, claimant Pamela Schiff said. "Now it's time to pay us back."
    Do you believe it? You better not. It came from The Onion, an online news parody magazine that publishes funny news stories about almost everything. I've seen people believe stories like this. That's the problem with the internet. You can't always believe what you read.

    Recently, it was announced that Sindbad, the comedian was dead. It appeared all over the internet and on the mainstream news. People were shocked. They couldn't believe that another comedian was dead. So many people believe crap they read on the internet and in e-mail that we are being barraged with mis-information. Here is the official AP (Associated Press) article about his death...and his own shock at the news article...


    MIAMI - Actor-comedian Sinbad had the last laugh after his Wikipedia entry announced he was dead, the performer said Thursday.

    Rumors began circulating Saturday regarding the posting, said Sinbad, who first got a telephone call from his daughter. The gossip quieted, but a few days later the 50-year-old entertainer said the phone calls, text messages and emails started pouring in by the hundreds.

    “Saturday I rose from the dead and then died again,” the Los Angeles-based entertainer told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

    The St. Petersburg-based nonprofit organization, which describes itself as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit,” leaves it to a vast user community to catch factual errors and other problems. Apparently, someone edited it to say Sinbad died of a heart attack. By the time the error was caught, email links of the erroneous page had been forwarded to hundreds of people.

    A note on Sinbad’s Wikipedia page Thursday night said the site has been temporarily protected from editing to deal with vandalism.

    Wikipedia was created in 2001 as a Web research tool. It has more than 1.6 million articles, contributed by members of the public.

    A telephone call and an e-mail left for Wikipedia were not immediately returned Thursday night.

    When asked if he was upset about the mix-up, Sinbad, whose real name is David Adkins, just laughed.
    So the next time you read something that "appears" to be from a valid source...check it out. It's time we stop believing everything we read or hear. There is too much of this type of crap on the internet and eventually somebody is going to get hurt by it. And by the way...

    Anna Nicole Smith is dead. Where she is buried is still a question.

    Saturday, March 17, 2007

    St. Patrick's Day 1997
    A Day That Changed My Life Forever!

    Today, March 17, 2007 is a very big "anniversary" in my life. It was 10 years ago today that I was lying on a hospital bed waiting with my brother Mark to go into surgery. A surgery that would change my life forever.

    Growing up "husky" was what my life was through junior and senior high school. In college I kept gaining wait. I loved to eat. I love steak, chocolate (Hershey's especially...that's me licking te giant Hershey Bar at a Hershey Museum in Niagara Falls in the photo above), pudding, pasta and a family favorites like Macaroni, Cheese & Tomato, Kay's Pizza, Charlies Hot Dog's, Ted's Fish Fry's and the ultimate dessert...Apple Crisp! So you see, I liked to eat and liked to eat well!

    Well all that eating got to me. When I went to work at CBS, I kept gaining the weight. I was getting bigger and bigger and even though I was active (they call it ADDHD) and even played basketball and tennis when I was with my brothers, the effect of too much weight on my bones didn't help. I had tried all of the diets out there and none of them worked. Why? Well I could cut the calories for the time being but I never made the "lifestyle" change necessary to make it happen...permanently.

    So, with the encouragement of my family and my boss Steve, I choose to do a radical thing. I chose gastric bypass surgery. Back then it was done only for those who were considered morbidly obese. That was me. I hate that term. But I had to do something...my bones couldn't take it anymore.

    It's always best to lose weight through a healthy diet and regular physical activity. But if you're like me and have tried and can't lose the excess weight that's causing your health problems, weight-loss (bariatric) surgery may be the only option. Gastric bypass, which changes the anatomy of your digestive system to limit the amount of food you can eat and digest, is the favored bariatric surgery in the United States. Most surgeons prefer this procedure because it's safer and has fewer complications than other available weight-loss surgeries. It can provide long-term, consistent weight loss if accompanied with ongoing behavior changes.

    Gastric bypass surgery doesn't replace the need for following a healthy diet and regular physical activity program. In fact, the success of the surgery depends in part on your commitment to following the guidelines given to you about diet and exercise. I had to make every effort to exercise, change my eating habits and adjust any other lifestyle factors that have contributed to my excess weight. So how radical is this surgery? Read on.

    In gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) the surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of your stomach and adds a bypass around a segment of your small intestine. The surgeon staples your stomach across the top, sealing it off from the rest of your stomach. The resulting pouch is about the size of a walnut and can hold about an ounce of food. The pouch is physically separated from the rest of the stomach. Then, the surgeon cuts the small intestine and sews part of it directly onto the pouch. This redirects food, bypassing most of your stomach and the first section of your small intestine, the duodenum (doo-o-DEE-num). Food enters directly into the second section of your small intestine, the jejunum (jay-JOO-num), limiting your ability to absorb calories. Even though food never enters the lower part of your stomach, the stomach stays healthy and continues to secrete digestive juices to mix with food in your small intestine.

    It takes a dedicated and skilled doctor to do this. One who knows what the heck their doing and cares for the patient as well. And in my opinion, there is NOBODY better than Sheilah Clayton in Pasadena. This lady made sure this surgery worked. She encouraged me, scolded me when I ddid wrong and truly cared about me as a person and a patient. Dr. Clayton has been the primary surgeon or the assistant surgeon in more than 1,200 bariatric surgeries. She has more than 15 years of experience in treating and caring for the morbidly obese. Without her, and the question "What's going to prevent you from getting big all over again?", I don't think this would have been such a success. Thanks Dr. C.!

    That was 10 years ago. Wow. I still remember being wheeled out of the operating room, semi-awake, and seeing my brother standing there in the hall. I looked at him, gave him the "thumbs up" and screamed, "I did it!" Then I went back into la-la land for the next 24 hours or so.

    My recuperation went well. My Mom & Dad came out from NY to take care of me, walk with me and encourage me. The weight came off. It was freaking amazing. 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 50 pounds. Wow! At the one year mark I have lost 150 pounds. By two years, I lost most of the weight I needed to. I wasn't the 180 pounds the charts said I should be but I was happy. I went from 459 pounds to 235 pounds. Mt pant size went from a 64 to a 34.I looked normal, felt normal and my bones didn't ache anymore. I was a miracle and the best choice I've probably ever made in my life.

    As I write this, I remember so many things of being big and being small. This changed my life in ways I could not describe. It was a life of death decision that I had to take. There weren't many other choices that I could do and I am glad I did it. It's now 7:00AM and in 15 minutes, it will be exactly 10 years ago that I went under the knife. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

    So, Happy Gastric Bypass Surgery Anniversary to me!
    I couldn't think of a better way to spend St. Patrick's Day!

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    Happy Anniversary Dr. Seuss
    There Is No One Alive Who Is Youer Than You

    On this, the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss`s marvelous The Cat in the Hat books caused me to reflect on some of the pretty incredible lessons this modern-day philosopher taught with his exotically imaginative stories. I think I read almost all of his books. Although the Cat in the Hat wasn't my favorite, in reading the many news stories about him brought back memories that have influenced me and countless others.

    For example, Dr. Seuss urges us to look back on our lives with a positive perspective: "Don`t cry because it`s over...Smile because it happened."

    So today, as we celebrate Dr. Seuss and the amazing stories that keps us fascinated as kids, maybe we can apply some of his philosophy to our adult life. His advice to help us find and own uniqueness is timeless and wise: "A person`s a person, no matter how small. Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."

    Dr. Seuss urged us not to fret too much about what others think:"Be who you are and say what you want because those who mind don`t matter and those who matter don`t mind."

    To get us started he tells us to get on our way: "Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting."

    But he also tells us to choose our own mountains and take control of our lives:

    You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes.
    You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
    You`re on your own,
    And you know what you know.
    And YOU are the one
    Who`ll decide where to go.

    In conclusion, look at what Dr. Seuss did for us. He put adult concepts of morals and ethichs into a language that we, ask kids, could understand. In today's world, we need something like these Dr. Seuss books to help teach our kids some of life's most important lessons. Lesson's that influenced me and will influence children for many generations to come. Reading the many news articles about the anniversary and about his life reminded me of the joy I had as a kid reading his stories. And let me remind you of Horton who put it simply, "I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant`s faithful one-hundred percent."

    Happy Anniversary Dr. Seuss!

    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    I'm Gonna' Sue Your A--!
    A Family Tragedy Helps The Greater Good

    We live in a world that is "sue happy." Heck, you can file a civil lawsuit for just about anything these days and get one hell of a cash windfall for doing it. It's what makes our justice system great, isn't it? Instead of trying criminals like the one who mugged that 101-year-old lady I blogged about the other day, we fill our courts with frivolous lawsuits - everything from hangnails to spilled coffee. But the other day I read a story that gave me the idea that there is still some human decency out there. In the beginning, their motives may have been greed and justice. But in the end, the settlement was for the greater good. We need more people like that.

    In Washington, DC, the city has settled a $20 million lawsuit filed by the family of a veteran New York Times reporter who had just retired just days before the attack in which his beating death raised questions about the city's emergency medical services. David Rosenbaum, 63, was beaten with a heavy plastic pipe during a mugging near his home in January 2006. The family alleged that the people responsible for helping Rosenbaum — from emergency medical workers to hospital staff — failed him. Two men have been convicted for their involvement in Rosenbaum's death.

    "What happened to this family when they lost their loved one that night should never have happened," said Mayor Adrian Fenty at a news conference with Rosenbaum's family. Emergency workers initially believed he was drunk and didn't try to determine whether he was injured, a city report found. An ambulance bypassed the closest hospital and took him to Howard University Hospital, nearly two miles out of the way. At the hospital, nurses incorrectly classified him as intoxicated and failed to regularly check his vital signs. The neurological team did not evaluate him until 2 a.m. Jan. 7, nearly four hours after he arrived, and it was almost 6 a.m. when he went to the operating room, the lawsuit said. He died the next day.

    In the settlement, the city will not pay any money to the family. Instead, the family has agreed to withdraw the lawsuit and give the District of Columbia one year to improve emergency medical services. If it does not improve, the family can refile the lawsuit. Additionally, the settlement requires the district to create a task force to investigate the city's emergency response and issue a report with recommendations to improve the services within six months, according to the settlement. The task force will include a member from Rosenbaum's family.

    "The results must be verifiable and measurable," said Toby Hallliday, Rosenbaum's son-in-law, who will be the family's representative on the task force. "We're looking for concrete changes and we expect the results of those changes to be tracked over time."

    Now is that a change of heart or what? Dropping a multi-million dollar payout possibility to help the need of the greater good. That is almost inspirational. The Rosenbaum family decided that it was in the best interest of all to reform the city of Washington's emergency medical services for the people who live in that city than it was to personally profit from a family tragedy. Their lawsuit got the attention of the government and the government is going to respond. Let's hope that the situation improves in that fair city. Only time will tell.

    It's sad that it takes a lawsuit for the city of Washington to see the problem. But their eyes have been opened and they have got to thank the Rosenbaum's for their care and concern in helping get a serious problem repaired. So the next time you think that you might have a good case for a multi-million dollar lawsuit judgement, maybe you should think about what you could do to help the greater good.

    Today, the world is a little bit better. Thank you Rosenbaum family!

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    101-Year Old Lady Get's Mugged
    What Has Happened To Respect Of The Elderly

    What the heck has this world come to? Last night I watched a story on the news that just appalled and disgusted me. And it was all captured on video. The attack was captured by a surveillance camera in the lobby of a Queens apartment building last Sunday - look at the photo. The man in the grainy video looks like a good Samaritan holding the door open for an elderly neighbor. Then he turns and delivers three sharp punches to a 101-year-old woman’s head.

    As Rose Morat, 101 year old resident of Queens, NY maneuvered her walker through the building’s small vestibule, the man slowly put his bicycle against the wall, turned, and attacked her, the security video showed. Her hat flew off, but she remained on her feet as the man removed her bag and felt her coat pockets. Then, before making his escape, he punched her in the head again and shoved her to the ground. Morat spent three days in the hospital.

    Morat said she was headed to church when she met the man in her lobby. He offered to help her make her way out, but she declined.

    “The next thing I knew, I had a big bang on the side of my face,” said Rose Morat, who suffered a fractured cheekbone and lost her purse and $33 to the mugger. “I’m quite sure that if it had happened when I was younger, I would have been after him,” she said. “I’m a very strong woman. I’ve been that way my whole life.”

    Police said the same man is believed to have later attacked a second elderly woman in the neighborhood. Investigators were searching for a suspect Saturday.

    Can you believe this crap. What have we become when the elderly are brutally attacked for a mere $33? In a KCBS-TV survey here in LA, it was polled to find out if criminals who prey on the elderly be given even harsher penalties. The response was great. 53% said yes, 5% said no and a whopping 41% said "Hang 'em High!"

    Where has the respect for our elderly gone? If they made it as far as Rose here, leave 'em the heck alone. She didn't do anything to anyone and I am awed at her ability to fight off her attacker. This type of crap scares me. We've got to increase the penalties for criminals who pray on the elderly simply because they are an easy mark. They have earned their right to live out their lives in peace and tranquility...not get brutally beaten by some crackhead who needs $20 for his next fix.

    I wish somebody saw this happen and did something. Call it vigilante justice or whatever. It's well deserved. I remember when people caught LA's infamous night stalker killer Richard Ramirez, the group of people would have beat him to death had not the police arrived. Okay, beating somebody to death is a little extreme, but teaching him a lesson on respect to the elderly isn't such a bad thing.

    As a society, we need to toughen laws dealing with this type of crime and crimes against children. Let's make the penalty fall in line with the crime. Let's protect our elderly and children and send criminals that pray on them a message that this crap will not be tolerated anymore. In many cases, the aged and the children are helpless and cannot defend themselves.

    But not our Rose Morat. Even at 101, she did her best to fight off a brutal attack that could have cost her her life. I admire this lady for looking at this crap in the eye and taking action...even if she didn't have to. And there is nothing that makes me happier than Rose's comment on the whole thing.

    “I know how to handle myself,” she said. “God saved my life.”

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Now This Is How An Election Should Be Done!

    Have you ever used a coin as a tiebreaker? I know you have. We've all done it, right? Heads or tails? I don't know where that one went. But a quarter was used in a very unusual vote here in Temple City, California - an important one, nonetheless. Let me tell you about it.

    A city council seat in Temple City was decided by a coin toss Friday, after two candidates wound up tied in the election for three open seats on the five-member council. Newly elected Temple City Councilman Fernando Vizcarra won the seat over incumbent Dan Arrighi, after city officials discovered a quirk in the state elections code that allows ties to be decided by chance and Vizcarra won the toss. According to the "Los Angeles Times," although runoff elections are an option, the two candidates decided that they would decide their fates with a toss of a quarter. Vizcarra is a former councilman who had lost reelection two years ago.

    Temple City has no provisions for runoff elections, Flandrick said, and in their absence the city follows state election law, which call for picking a winner by chance - drawing lots or a coin flip. Vizcarra said a runoff election could have cost the city $35,000.

    In Florida a Democratic primary runoff for a seat on the Gilchrist County Commission ended with John Rance Thomas and Edwin Douglas tied at 909 votes each. The tie remained after a recount. Under Florida law, a tie in a primary runoff is to be broken by drawing lots, like a coin toss or drawing straws. The candidates chose a coin toss.

    Why just apply this principle to local politics and runoff elections. Let's put it to the test in our Federal government. Why spend lots of money and time with the candidates having us think about things like how much we care for the preservation of the American Wilderbeast? Let's just flip a damn coin.

    Let's put both presidential candidates on a stage, let them debate the facts a bit, then bring out Bob Barker and a couple of NFL referees and have them do a coin toss to elect the president. Now that would be simple and hell, it could even be a Pay-Per-View event!

    Heads, you lose. Tails, you're elected.

    Monday, March 12, 2007

    Gas Prices Approach $3.00 in CA:
    I Guess I Should Be Happy For The Oil Companies!

    I went to the gas pump this weekend. And I've only got one thing to say about it. It sucked! U could not believe that I was paying $2.93 per gallon to fill my truck. It's so much friggin' fun to watch that pump go up like a lottery jackpot...$25, $30, $40, $50, $60! Holy crap! Maybe I should write my new friend Ed Nabor in Georgia and ask him to fill up my tank!

    But hey, I shouldn't feel all that bad now, should I? People in other parts of the world pay more than I do, right? I mean in London they pay $5.79, Amsterdam $6.48, Havana $3.03 and my personal favorite - Caracas $0.12! That blows my mind, 12 cents! I could fill up for 3 bucks and still have money for that AM/PM hot dog with all the fixin's!

    So why are gas prices so high? There are a number of factors at work at the pump. Tight supplies and speculators (who the hell are the "speculators?") helped send our prices rising for the fifth consecutive week as California, with unleaded regular averaging nearly $3 a gallon, overtook Hawaii with the nation's most expensive gasoline, the Auto Club said Friday. Check out this graphic I found online. Why is California the only state in RED? Are we our own country or what????


    But hey, the big oil companies have other reasons for the price surge...read on.

    For starters, gasoline prices almost always rise as summer approaches because demand goes up as people go on vacation and use more gas. Refiners anticipate this and starting about now, they begin building up stockpiles of gasoline. If they make enough, and can keep running at full capacity through the summer, gas prices may not rise too much from here.

    But if demand gets too high and/or they can’t make enough gas, prices will go higher. Sometimes this is because a big refinery has to shut down for maintenance or fire. Some parts of the country, namely mine, also see local spikes in prices because some states require “reformulated” gasoline in the summer months to meet clean air standards. So you can only sell a specific blend for a particular region. If supplies of that blend get low, the price goes up. I say screw the blend. My truck doesn't run any better because of it. Keep my prices down!

    Now for my Big Oil Corporation Hat. The question I ask you is this: why should an oil company -- or refiner, or gasoline dealer -- charge less than the market price? If they did, who should they give all those profits back to? Me? Should our government set price caps on gasoline prices? If it did, why would oil companies continue to make gasoline? Without profit, what's their motivation? You see, the oil companies can justify their prices!

    In my opinion, one reason oil supplies are tight today: not enough money has been invested in drilling new wells. I'd rather see oil companies making the cash they need to poke new holes in the ground. And let's start drilling on our own territory. Make those derricks look like cool little Survivor Islands.

    Sure, oil company executives and investors are pocketing a nice chunk of change with their $50-oil-price windfall. I know that most of the money I'm spending to fill up my gas tank is going to big oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Iran because the United States produces about 10 percent of the world's oil supplies (and falling). OPEC produces four times that much. So let's get off our butts US Oil Companies and get them drills-a-drillin. Let us see some Beverly Hillbilly type gushers. Let's stop giving the money to other countries and keep it here where it belongs. We'll have more oil and keep more people employed in the process.

    Wouldn't we rather have the money going to U.S. oil companies? At least I'm not paying $5.79 a gallon like those people in London. No wonder they drink excessively!