Saturday, June 30, 2007

The iPhone Hype Continues: Read This Article And You Too Can Get A FREE (That's right, FREE) iPhone!

Capping literally the most intensely followed product in Apple's history -- and that's saying a lot -- the iPhone was released to the public yesterday. Many marketing and technology experts may disagree over whether the iPhone is overhyped or whether it will deliver, but almost all described Apple's strategy was masterfully executed -- with a lot of help from the press -- and outdoing any previous launch the company has scripted in the past. Yesterday's lines in front of Apple stores and AT&T stores were reminiscent of opening nights for movies such as "Star Wars" or video game launches. So is this phone going to live up to the hype? I think so. Sales were brisk at the Grove here in LA and all over the world. Okay, now that you've read the first paragraph, you'll have to read a bit more of my hype to get your free iPhone! So, read on...

Yesterday not a red letter for anyone but Apple and AT&T in the world of cellphones. At the Grove and elsewhere around the nation, other cell phone stores like Verizon and Sprint were relatively empty due to the excitement and hype of this really cool gadget. And even other bizarre crap was happening. According to TMZ, the hottest item outside the Apple store in New York City was a FOX News Channel Microphone! FOX correspondent Laura Ingle was reporting live outside the store this morning, in front of a long line of nerds who have been waiting outside since Monday to be the first to get an iPhone. (Hello? Get a life. It's a PHONE.) In the middle of an interview, some guy walked up behind Ingle and grabbed her microphone. The man was tackled within seconds by a burly FOX cameraman. But with iPhones going going for as much as $1200 on eBay -- here's the big question: Why didn't the idiot go for the phone??

The iPhone merges mobile telephone, Internet browsing, e-mail, and music and video replay (like Apple's market-dominating iPod) into one device. Unlike any of its competitors, iPhone commands are done by tapping or sliding fingers on 3.5-inch (8.9-centimeter) wide glass touch-screens. The iPhone is not cheap, though: it is priced at $499 or $599, for four or eight gigabytes of memory, respectively. At the national average price per gallon (as of June 25), you could buy just a bit over 200 gallons, enough to drive 4,417 miles in a car that gets 22 miles per gallon. That's enough gas to get you from Los Angeles to Columbia, S.C., and then back again, assuming your car drives as the crow flies and you want to go to Columbia, or even back to Los Angeles. To put it another way, that's 605 tracks on iTunes, 91 showings of Live Free or Die Hard at the U.S. average ticket price, 124 pounds of peanuts...if your a CBS Jericho fan!. Overseas consumers will have to wait a few more months to snap up one of the devices. The iPhone is due to debut in Europe in late 2007 and Asia in 2008.

Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO and guru of all things cool and hyped, had a bit to say on the iPhone and it's debut yesterday. In an interview, Jobs said, "We're about as ready as we're going to be. We've been working for this for many many months now. The phones are ready and the stores are ready. Mobile devices are really important to people. It's not like this is an obscure product category that affects just a small part of the population. People have seen in the demos and our ads something they instantly know they can figure out to use. People throw technology at us constantly, and most of us say "I don't have time to figure that out." Most of us have experiences with our current mobile phones and can't figure them out. As people have read about the iPhone, they've seen amazing capabilities, capabilities they themselves could figure out to use. We've had millions and millions and millions of views of our videos about the iPhone. One is 25 minutes long. We've crossed 5 million views of that video on our site, and it went up less than a week ago—and that's not including the copies on YouTube. There's a lot of interest in the iPhone. We're excited not about the anticipation, but about putting this in people's hands. For the iPhone, we've drawn on the experience of the last decade with the Mac. It uses OS10, the software we've pioneered, and all the computer expertise we've gotten from the iPod — the miniaturization, the durability, the industrial design, the syncing with iTunes — it's got these two parents, from a handset point of view. I think it fits in really well with Apple, and will be great to have the third leg on our chair." When asked about the sales figures he said, "We think 10 million is a realistic goal."

When asked why the 6PM launch, Jobs said, It seemed like a good time. People are off work. It's a time that's democratic. It's still light out. Everybody is available at that time. We didn't want people to have to take time off from work. We wanted everybody to have the same chance. We've made a lot of them. It may not be enough — but we will work as hard as we can to get more into the stores. In a surprise appearance, Jobs waltzed into the Apple Store in Palo Alto to greet buyers Friday night and about 19 miles away, Apple's other co-founder, Steve Wozniak, had gotten in line at 4 a.m., handing out iPhone T-shirts to mark the event. The man known as Woz was given the No. 1 spot in line by earlier arrivals.
"I think this is going to be revolutionary," Wozniak said. Jobs announced that all full-time Apple employees will receive a free iPhone, while part-time employees who have been with the company for more than a year will also receive a free iPhone. The phones are expected to be delivered to employees by the end of July, after initial consumer demand has subsided. Unconfirmed reports suggest that three million iPhones are said to have been manufactured ahead of Friday's launch, Apple will only release about one million into the market this week, staggering product availability availability beyond that to avoid any perceived major shortages.

So, people have been asking me if I've seen one. The answer - Yep! And it shocked me as to the size of this thing. It's about 4.5" tall, 2.5" wide and .5" inches thick. Below is the actual size of the iPhone. It was smaller than I thought and much, much cooler! (Okay, your free iPhone is coming soon...keep reading!)

Now here's a few answers to the questions I heard most about the phone.

Can you buy tracks on the fly through iTunes on my iPhone? No. Tracks can only be loaded into the iPhone via the Windows or Mac version of iTunes. This may change, though. In an interview this week in The Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, "There's a lot of things you can imagine down the road," when asked if direct-to-iPhone music and video purchases were in the future. So, he didn't deny it.

The biggest ding so far is about AT&T and its dog-slow data network. If you want the iPhone, you're stuck with AT&T. And maybe for some time. Apple and AT&T have an exclusive agreement that, depending on what you've read, will last from two to five years. (All AT&T has said is that it's "multiyear.") As for AT&T's enhanced data rates for GSM evolution (EDGE) network, it's definitely the iPhone's weakest link. Reviewers who posted evaluations this week dissed browsing speed while connected to AT&T. Even Steve Jobs wishes it was faster.

The silver lining is that the iPhone also taps into 802.11b/g, so that when you're in a hot spot, surfing should be slick, although I can't imagine anyone wanting to fork over $60 and up a month for a voice/data plan, then even more to use for-fee wireless at, say, at Starbucks or McDonalds!

What about a warranty? Sources have confirmed that Apple will offer an AppleCare for iPhone extended two-year warranty option for $69, but that the plan will not be available at launch. iPhone owners can purchase the AppleCare plan at any time provided their phone is still covered under the original one-year warranty.

Durability? PC World concluded that "There's no need to coddle this sexy little device." First, to simulate how it held up when in a pocket or purse with house and car keys, they stuffed the iPhone into a plastic bag along with several key chains. We then gave the bag a few good shakes to see if the activity would scratch the iPhone's screen. It didn't. Then we rubbed keys against the screen with a fair amount of force, as might happen if the phone was in your jeans pocket and you leaned against a counter. When the iPhone emerged with its screen just as pristine as when it went in, we then attempted to gouge the screen with one of the keys. We were very impressed that even this deliberate attempt to scratch the screen completely failed.

Next, they conducted three drop tests, increasing the severity with each round. They released it from waist height onto a carpeted floor. Then we let it fall from chest height onto a hard linoleum floor. Lastly, they let it fall and bounce onto a concrete sidewalk from head height--as if we had been talking on the phone.The iPhone not only continue to work after each drop test, impressively it still looked good as well. The only obvious damage suffered was a few gouges along its metal edge from the concrete drops. But it came out without a scratch on its glass screen, despite their best efforts to mar it in repeated tests of both types.

When asked about corporate email Jobs replied, "You'll be hearing more about this in the coming weeks. We have some pilots going with companies with names you'll recognize. This won't be a big issue." Sources add that the iPhone supports Microsoft Exchange servers, adding that Apple has likely licensed Microsoft's ActiveSync to accomplish that integration. Much commentary and speculation has surrounded the topic of the iPhone being a viable smart phone for businesses or whether the device will dominate only the consumer ranks.

What about third-party apps? Because it wants non-Apple applications to run through the browser, rather than on the iPhone itself, Apple isn't releasing software development tools for its new phone. From a security perspective, this may actually be good news for iPhone users because without any debugging software to tell them what's really going on inside the computer's memory, it will be hard for hackers to develop malicious exploit code to run on the platform. So most iPhone bugs won't do much more than crash the browser. Though sophisticated hackers could conceivably develop debugging tools for the iPhone it will take more time for real threats to emerge. What hackers would end up having to do is hardware-based debugging which requires physically taking apart the iPhone and using specialized equipment. This raises the bar on being able to successfully execute code and hack an iPhone.

An now, and almost finally, some techo geek specs for all you people like me. The iPhone is 4.5x2.4x0.5", and weighs 4.8 ounces (0.3 pounds). For reference, 18 iPhones weigh the same as 1 MacBook Pro. The display is 3.5" diagonal, 480x320 resolution. That's 153,600 pixels, or 12% as many as a 15" MacBook Pro. The iPhone supports four major different wireless protocols: Quad-band GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), 802.11b/g WiFi, EDGE, and Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR. The iPhone has a 2 Megapixel camera. It also has H.264 video decoding, most likely in hardware. Standby time: Up to 250 hours; Internet use: Up to 6 hours; Video playback; Up to 7 hours; Audio playback: Up to 24 hours. And memory? A 4GB or 8GB flash drive. And by the way, the battery is partially charged when you get it. If you really want to see the inside of one of these, look at this Take-Apart Guide or these Take-Apart Pictures!

Okay, now that I've bored you with all the hype and bullsh-- about the iPhone, it's time for your FREE iPhone GIVEAWAY. That's right, by CLICKING HERE ON THIS LINK you can download a form that will give you a free iPhone. You'll have to go to a little effort to get it, but once you jump through the hoops, you too will be sporting the hottest telephone based device on the planet...the brand new Apple iPhone! So folks, glad to be of service and save you money...enjoy!

Well, that's it for today on the iPhone. I'm definitely a Mac freak but I do have one question for Apple. You still make computers, right? I mean, Apple still sells computers, right? cuz I'm in the need for a quad-machine real soon...

By the way, hope you like your new iPhone!

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Day Has Come! Will the iPhone's Hype Be Worth It? Me Thinks So!

Well, the day has come. After months of hype, Apple's iPhone is going on sale tonight at 6:00 pm nationwide. People are so hyped up about it they are camped out in front of Apple Stores everywhere. This is going to be the single biggest event in the history of the telephone since Alexander Graham Bell invited the wired kind (remember that?) way back when. If it's anything like the iPod, then Apple, the company who's computers I've loved for 2 decades has got a winner on it's hands.

People have asked me two questions. Am I going to get one? Not now. I'm an old-fashioned type guy. I never buy anything frist generation. Who know what bugs will show up as it does with any technology. And besides, everytime I waited I've had better luck with the product than not waiting. and, with millions of people all signing up at the same time, I'm sure the system (it being AT&T) will be a bit bogged down by the massive influx of users.

I've also been asked what it costs. Well, below is the official rate chart as published by AT&T. It's not the cheapest plan in the world, but it's not the most expensive either. Anyone with a Blackberry knows that. So for those of you who want to know what it will cost, besides the $500-600 you'll shell out for the phone, here goes...

And what about additional software? Well, here's Apple's stance on that. According to Apple, its revolutionary iPhone™ will run applications created with Web 2.0 Internet standards. Developers can create Web 2.0 applications which look and behave just like the applications built into iPhone, and which can seamlessly access iPhone’s services, including making a phone call, sending an email and displaying a location in Google Maps. “Developers and users alike are going to be very surprised and pleased at how great these applications look and work on iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Our innovative approach, using Web 2.0-based standards, lets developers create amazing new applications while keeping the iPhone secure and reliable.”

Well folks, Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and of course, the ipod! Will the iphone become the standard for cell phones? Only time will tell. I'll post a review on the hype of this incredible leap in technology this weekend after the crowd clears!

As always...Apple rocks. Good job Stevie boy!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Reason Men Speed? It's All In Your Penis!

Do any of those "anti" ad campaigns really work? All the ads in the world showing the serious injury and death that speeding can cause are becoming less effective. Increasingly, young guys simply reject this message. They have an “it won’t happen to me” attitude. In Australia, the 'Speeding. No one thinks big of you' campaign takes a totally different approach. This funny campaign basically puts the problem at the core of their manhood - Young men who speed do so because they have a small penis - or so the new RTA road safety campaign implies.

This ad campaign shows young drivers an immediate consequence… because when it comes to speeding, no one thinks big of you. It purposely talks to young guys in their language. Testing of the finished ad has shown this is a very salient thought that will change young drivers’ behavior. It could very well be the thread that unravels the mindset that speeding is cool. Ads from the $1.9 million campaign - which targets speeding among 17- to 25-year-olds - aired for the first time on TV last week. They show onlookers who see speeding male drivers wiggling their pinkie fingers. The gesture represents a small penis in youth culture, but even an elderly woman employs it. You can watch the video on YouTube by Clicking Here! The campaign, which runs across the state, includes TV and cinema ads, posters in bus shelters, and a 15-second "viral" internet ad that offers "speedsters" an "xtra xtra small" condom.

John Whelan, the RTA's director of business co-ordination, road safety and policy, said the campaign aimed to make speeding socially unacceptable. "To me [the gesture] says 'speeding - no one thinks big of you'," he said. "It will cause people who are speeders to think twice about the image they are creating." The ads would be controversial, he said, but traditional "shock horror advertising" that highlighted injury and death from speeding was no longer effective on "people exposed to computer games, modern media … and horror films". "We will do what we feel we have to to get the message through," Mr Whelan said.

In Australia speeding is a factor in about 40 per cent of road deaths each year. This means more than 220 people die each year because of speeding. In addition to those killed, more than 4000 people are injured in speed-related crashes each year. The estimated cost to the community of speed-related crashes is about $500 million a year. Conditions or factors involved in speeding-related crashes include: A high number of fatal crashes involved country resident drivers on local country roads, almost 80 per cent of speed-related fatal crashes happened on curves, around 77 per cent of speeding vehicles involved in fatal crashes were cars or light trucks and more than 80 per cent of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes were male. By highlighting the consequences the campaign also aims to increase the social unacceptability of speeding.

Sometimes it takes a little "shock" to get peoples attention. Look at us here in America. we see the ads all the time. Buckle Up. Speed Kills. Drink Responsibly. Do they work? In a way yes, but in a way, no. I think any attempt to make something socially unacceptable is worth the shot. Look at what the Secondhand Smoke campaign has done to smokers. Now it's kind of unacceptable to smoke. So you people of

People of Australia, you rock on with your new ad campaign. I hope it works...if not, heck, we all got a good laugh from it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

One Of Life's (My) Simple Pleasures Causes A "Stink" In New York City!

In the city that you must flush the toilet on the NY State Thruway because the city needs the water, the jokes are a flyin'. Moon over My Hammy. Moons over Manhattan. A risqué billboard to sell a personal hygiene system is going up in Times Square very soon, but some New Yorkers don't think the ad is, well, as clean as the product it's promoting. The "Clean Is Happy" campaign showing several bare butts donning smiles is making some people crack up, while leaving others fairly flushed. The racy ads promoting a new personal cleansing system for your toilet are going up in Times Square, and covering three sides of the Time Square Church. "This is morality going down the proverbial toilet," one New Yorker said.

The promotions are for a really cool product called the Washlet. It upgrades a standard U.S. toilet to state-of-the-art in personal hygiene. It's manufactured by the Toto bathroom fixture company and this is the Lexus of toilet seats. Check out their website! The personal hygiene system is a toilet seat that has a front and rear cleansing water wand, a warm air dryer, an air purifier, a heated seat, and an automatically opening and closing seat -- all functions that can also be operated by a remote control! Think about that for a second, you sit back, hit a button and this thing wets, wipes and does everything but pull up your pants! The company promises the innovative toilet seat will keep it's users and their behinds "clean and happy." I'll bet! While over 17 million have been sold worldwide, the U.S. remains an unwiped market."

This is the ultimate in personal comfort. I can only imagine the pleasure one will get when they are sitting on this thing trying to read the instruction manual for the remote control. This thing has everything but a cell phone and YouTube video player. Check out some of the features of this thing:

Auto Flush activated by sensors or the simple touch of a button
Automatic Open / Close Lid Activated by Sensors, or the Simple Touch of a Button
on the Remote Control
Gentle Aerated Warm Water
Front and Rear Washing
Massage Feature with Cycling Motion
Warm Air Drying with Variable Three-Temperature Setting
Automatic Air Deodorizer
Soft Cleanse
Rear Cleanse
Auto Flush
Front Cleanse
Oscillating (Massage) Cleanse
Water Heating
Pulsating Cleanse
Water Temperature Control
Water Pressure Control
Water Position Adjustment
Warm Air Dryer
Air Purifier
Heated Seat Temperature Control
Heated Seat
Soft Close Seat and Lid
Seat Sensor
Self-Cleaning Water Wand
Convenient Wireless Remote Control with Large LCD Panel
Docking Station for Easy Cleaning & Installation
Clean look featuring hidden cord design
Reinforced base plate for enhanced durability

Now this is cool for those cold (or warm) days. A convenient remote control allows you to adjust seat and water temperature and pressure. With a soothing cycling action, the massage feature alternates between front and rear washing for maximum comfort and cleansing. The Washlet S400 allows you to immerse yourself in total relaxation and bathroom pleasure. It's available in three stylish colors: Cotton, Colonial White and Sedona Beige with a Polished Chrome Trip Lever.

In doing my research for this story, I thought..."What would be the ultimate accessory?" Well, another company has made that! The iCarta iPod Dock and Toilet paper dispenser has to be the most notorious of iPod accessories over the years. Its $99 price tag may be a bit much for just something you use a couple of times a day but if you're like me and always wanted to listen to music while taking that dump and reading the paper, then it's a useful gadget. When you're not actively listening to music, it also keeps your iPod charged. Now this is really cool! Any readers have any recommended songs for toilet time?

I figured with as much time as I spend in the bathroom per day, this might not be bad. You see, I spend 66.917 hours in the toilet per year and have probably spent 2810.5 hours in the toilet in my life time. If you're wondering how I got that figure, check out this handy little online calculator from Constantly Constipated. You see, I'm fascinated by technology. When you combine technology with something as pleasurable as taking a dump, well, life couldn't get any better. I'll bet Parish Hilton's got one of these! On second thought, probably not. She's probably got someone to do that for her!

Later folks...I'm off to enjoy myself on the throne!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

State of Emergency Declared in Lake Tahoe - Oh Crap, That's Not Important! Paris Hilton Is Out Of Jail! Now That's Real News.

California Firefighters have slowed a raging forest fire on Lake Tahoe's south shore that has destroyed more than 225 structures, and are closer to pinpointing the cause of the blaze. Light winds Monday gave firefighters a badly needed leg up on the inferno, and by late afternoon it was 40 percent contained. State officials declared a state of emergency, meaning California would cover all costs associated with fighting the fire. We interrupt this minor news story to bring you some very important news that will impact your life today. This story is bigger than the Lake Tahoe fire, Terrorism, The war in Iraq, The genocide in Darfur, AIDS in Africa, and the Immigration Issue. A smiling Paris Hilton walked out of a Los Angeles County jail early Tuesday, officially ending a bizarre, three-week stay that ignited furious debate over celebrity treatment in the jail system. The 26-year-old celebutante was greeted by an enormous gathering of cameras and reporters upon leaving the all-women's facility in Lynwood about 15 minutes past midnight. Hilton smiled and waved as she filed past deputies and the media, her blonde hair pulled back in a braided ponytail. Her parents, Kathy and Rick, waited in a black SUV. Hilton hurried to the vehicle, where she hugged her mom through the window.

Hilton, who was wearing a sage jacket with white trim over a white shirt and skinny jeans, has fulfilled her debt to society. She was obviously in good spirits. She thanked people as she left," said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore. Photographers sprinted after Hilton's vehicle as she left. When the SUV hit a red light during the ride, photographers jumped out of their cars and swarmed it. During her stay at the Lynwood facility, Hilton was mostly confined to a solitary cell in the special needs unit away from the other 2,200 inmates. Hilton's stay there cost taxpayers $1,109.78 a day, more than 10 times the cost of housing inmates in the general population. The hotel heiress will complete her probation in March 2009 as long as she keeps her driver's license current and doesn't break any laws. She can reduce that time by 12 months if she does community service that could include a public-service announcement, the city attorney's office has said. Hilton appeared to have gone to a family home in a ritzy Los Angeles canyon north of Sunset Blvd.

The unfriggin' believable melodrama surrounding Paris Hilton shows how perverse news reporting has become. It boggles the mind that newsworthy items of great importance are pushed to the background in order to cover someone who impacts society in no positive way and has no obvious talent other than getting in the news. Who is Paris Hilton? And what has she done to warrant such extensive coverage? Apart from being born to opulent wealth and starring in a homemade sex video, reality TV series, minor film roles and a self-titled music album, there is little that sets this 26-year-old DUI offender apart from the mass of poseurs that haunt the pages of celebrity gossip magazines.

I’m not trying to belittle Hilton, who may be a closet humanitarian when she’s not driving drunk or cat-fighting with the likes of Nicole Richie or Lindsay Lohan. However, there is only so much airtime available for breaking news and its no wonder why real news is getting cut so that television news programs and newspapers can devote endless hours and print space to Paris Hilton trivia. Let me count the ways.

There are just a smattering of issues that should be getting better coverage but aren’t. Like this ape here who is going to college! And why is that? Largely because we live in a celebrity-obsessed culture where those writing, reporting and producing the news are more concerned with the antics of so-called celebrities such as Paris Hilton than they are with reporting on the issues that affect the lives of mainstream Americans. But those who are consumed with such trivia are really at fault here. We no longer know what’s going on in our own country, let alone the world. And it’s a crying shame.

Maybe she can do something good with her newfound freedom. Only time will tell. Give me a call Paris. I think me and some of my friends and readers can help you!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Soldier of Courage: The Story Of One Soldier Who Took A Bullet In More Ways Than One!

Courage is a highly admired virtue. Most often we associate the word with physical prowess or bravery. But there's another form of valor that's much more important because it comes up more often. It's called moral courage -- the willingness to face not physical danger but emotional pain, disapproval, financial insecurity, or uncertainty rather than compromise an ethical principle.

Last Night 60 Minutes' Anderson Cooper broadcast a story about an ordinary Joe who grew up in Appalachia and signed up to be an MP in the Army Reserves. His unit was sent to Abu Ghraib where he worked in the office while others guarded the prisoners. You may not remember the name Joe Darby, but you remember the impact of what he did. Darby turned in the pictures of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib in Iraq – pictures he had discovered purely by accident. Unfortunately for Darby, exposing the truth has changed his life forever, and for the worse.

One day, when Joe Darby wanted scenic pictures to send home, he spotted the unit's camera buff, prison guard Charles Graner. "So I walked up to Graner and I, you know, 'Hey do you have any pictures?' And he said 'Yeah, yeah, hold on.' Reaches into his computer bag and pulls out two CDs and just hands them to me," Darby remembers. He copied Graner's discs and gave him back the originals. Later, when Darby looked at the photos he first saw scenic shots of Iraq, but then he came upon the pictures that launched the scandal. One of the first shots was a photo of a pyramid of naked Iraqis. "I laughed. I looked at it and I laughed. And then the next photo was of Graner and England standing behind them. And I was like, 'Wait a minute. This is the prison. These are prisoners.' And then it kind of sunk in that they were doing this to prisoners. This was people being forced to do this," Darby recalls. But no matter why they were doing it, Darby knew what they were doing was wrong. "I've always had a moral sense of right and wrong. And I knew that you know, friends or not, it had to stop," Darby says.

Darby decided he had to turn in the pictures but he didn't want his friends to know that he had done it. Asked why it was important to him to remain anonymous, Darby says, "I knew a lot of them wouldn't understand and would view me being a stool pigeon or however, a rat, however you want to put it." Several months later, 60 Minutes II broke the story of the pictures. An article in "The New Yorker" revealed Darby's role, though no one in Iraq seemed to notice.

But then, while Darby was having lunch in the mess hall watching Donald Rumsfeld testify before Congress about Abu Ghraib, the defense secretary said, "There are many who did their duty professionally and we should mention that as well. First, Specialist Joseph Darby, who alerted appropriate authorities that abuses were occurring."

Cumberland, Maryland is Joe's hometown...a military town that felt Darby had betrayed his fellow soldiers. And some relatives from both sides of the family have turned against him and his wife. The commander of the local VFW post, Colin Engelbach, told 60 Minutes what people were calling Darby. "He was a rat. He was a traitor. He let his unit down. He let his fellow soldiers down and the U.S. military. Basically he was no good," Engelbach says. Asked if he agrees with that, Engelbach says, "I agree that his actions that he did were no good and borderline traitor, yes." "What he says in his defense is 'Look. I’m an MP. And this is something which was illegal,'" Cooper remarks. "Right. But do you put the enemy above your buddies? I wouldn’t," Engelbach replies.

When Darby arrived at Dover Air Force Base, his wife Bernadette was there to meet him. He thought they would head back home, but the Army had other plans. An officer asked Darby what he wanted to do. "I said, 'Sir, I just want to go home. I've always just wanted to go home.' He said, 'Well son, that's not an option.' He said, 'The Army Reserve has done a security assessment of the area and it's not safe for you there. You can't go home,'" Darby remembers. "'You can probably never go home.'" Bernadette Darby says she heard people calling her husband a traitor, that he was a dead man and that he was walking around with a bull's eye on his head. To keep Joe and Bernadette safe, the military moved them to an Army base with body guards around the clock. "I couldn't go anywhere without security. Nowhere," Darby remembers.

Joe left the Army recently, and he misses it. He and Bernadette miss their hometown as well. They say they'll never move back to Cumberland. Instead they've moved on, but they are still wary. Six of the seven guards involved in the abuse went to prison. Darby testified against Charles Graner. "He just gave me this stone cold evil stare, the entire time I was on the stand. Didn't take his eyes off me once," Darby recalls.

Darby told 60 Minutes he wants to restore his unit's honor. "I want people to understand that I went to Iraq with 200 of the finest servicemen I've ever seen in my life. But those 200, for the rest of their lives, their unit is gonna carry a bad name because of what seven individuals did," Darby says. Gen. George Fay, who investigated Abu Ghraib, called Darby "courageous" for blowing the whistle.

Do you wish that it wasn't you who was given the CDs?" Cooper asked. "No, because if they had been given to somebody else, it might not have been reported," Darby says. "And would that have been so bad, if it had never been reported?" Cooper asks. "Ignorance is bliss they say but, to actually know what they were doing, you can't stand by and let that happen," Darby replies. "There's still a lot of people though that'll say 'Look, you know, so what they did this. You know, Saddam did things that were much worse,'" Cooper remarks. "We're Americans, we're not Saddam," Darby says. "We hold ourselves to a higher standard. Our soldiers hold themselves to a higher standard."

Asked if he'd do it again, Darby says, "Yes. They broke the law and they had to be punished." "And it's that simple?" Cooper asks. "It's that simple," he replied.

Integrity is essential to self-esteem and the admiration of others. It requires us to put our comforts, possessions, friendships, and even jobs at risk in the defense of deeply held principles. It takes moral fortitude to be honest at the risk of ridicule, rejection, or retaliation or when doing so may jeopardize our income or career. It takes boldness to be accountable and own up to mistakes when doing so may get us in trouble. It takes backbone to stand tough when doing so may cost us so much. People with moral courage rarely get medals, but it is the best marker of true character and a virtue others can be proud of.

I think Joe Darby proved that there are still good moral and upright people in the world. Now if the earth would open up and swallow up the people of his hometown who think he's a traitor because he showed courage beyond belief, this world would be a much better place. Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Brother Is More Than A Friend: a Brother Is Someone Who Can Plan A Trip So Detailed Even Crap Breaks Are On The Itinerary!

If we interviewed 100 people who are unusually happy, I think the most prominent common denominator would be unusually good relationships. Despite the widespread promotion of materialism and vanity in our popular culture, wealth and beauty are not enough to produce happiness. In fact, they're not even necessary. What's more, bad relationships -- at work, at home, or among friends -- are a surefire source of anguish and heartache. And so would be having your picture taken with chicken wing sauce all over your face!

For most of us, what mostly determines our level of happiness are family bonds. And the most powerful of all are at the inner core of family, especially brother-sister relationships. Well today is my brother Paul's birthday. Yep, he's geein' older. Crankin' down that road to when he gets to wear Depends and pee his pants when he wants to just because he can. Although in reality, I don't think the old guy who's in his mid-fifties is going to be doing any of that all too soon. This guy runs every other day and when he's not running he's working out. And this will piss off most of you. This is a guy who still where's the same size 30 pants he wore in high school. We should all be that lucky.

We grew up in a small town in upstate New York to two hard-working, dedicated and loving parents. We can sit around and laugh at all the "beatings" we took from them when we did stupid crap but I honestly don't think he got that many. I think our parents reserved that for me! But our parents were dedicated to raising their kids in a good way. And we all turned out pretty damn good if you ask me. Out of the three of us, it was Paul who got the most out of what Mom & Dad had to offer. Sure, we all learned to work hard and enjoy life, but Paul really eminates the values and dedication that our parents tried to instill in us.

All of us have left the nest of that small town. Two of us settled in California and he decided that he'd like to enjoy life where old people go to, well, die. You know the place. It's call the plywood state. Florida. Sunny Florida. He took his wife and kids down there, planted himself in a good job, a good house and is doing well for himself. And who would have expected more?And even though he's in his fifties, he still mowes his own lawn. Hay Paul? Ever heard of a "gardener?" I'm sure you've got them down there. And at the same time you can support the immigrant population.

All three of us brothers, although geographically separated, are still pretty close. We enjoy spending time together. We enjoy playing golf and eating wings a Hooters. (that's us with the Hoother's waitress on our last visit). What's wild about the whole thing is that the three of us are different. We can get into some pretty heated opinion-oriented debates but all in all, I can't think of a time where we've ever really ended up pissed at each other. We've got a special bond and I think alot of that come from our upbringing. He was the first kid, me the last. He's anal retentive and organized beyond belief. Me? Well, if I got some of the stuff off my office desk I could probably find some space for my coffee. I wish I could be more like him in that respect as I know what he does works, it's just that I can't get myself to that level. I'm ADDHDDDADHDDAD (whatever the hell that psychobabble really means) and he's normal. Well, okay, close to normal. Our Dad passed away last year after a long illness and it was Paul who guided us all through it and made some of those decisions that people just never want to make. I give him tons of credit for that.

On his birthday, I've got to give the ol' boy some praise. And some criticisms. Although there isn't that much to criticize him for. He's earned the respect of this brother and many people who know him. He's hard working, dedicated to helping kids get educated although in today's world that's changed to glorified babysitting. He's raised two pretty daughters who've got their heads screwed on pretty well. I mean they're not using crack or anything so that's a good thing! He's got my families warped sense of humor and can laugh at almost anything. Today I reead this little joke online and I thought he'd like it so bear with me. He always loves to comment on the government and the oil companies so I think this is a good one for him...

Where’s The Oil? A lot of folks can’t understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in our country. Well, there’s a very simple answer. Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn’t know we were getting low. The reason for that is purely geographical. Our OIL is located inAlaska, California, Coastal Florida, Coastal Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas. Our DIPSTICKS are located in Washington, DC. Any Questions?

Hey Paul? See that image to the right. I know you like T-shirts so I had this one made into a sirt for you. You'd be one of the few who would get a kick out of wearing it. So, there it is. Your birthday present revealed. I haven't sent it yet as I got the card earlier in the week and the T-shirt arrived on Friday but I'll get it to you. Wear it proudly and by the way, there's an ad for my blog on the back. So you'll be my first walking billboard. If anybody else want's one, or any of the other bizarre t-sirts and products I've made, check out the DiscoverInsanity Online Store. It's full of crap like this...and some of it's funny.

Well, I could go on forever. It's easy to sit here and rant and rave every day. But today, I celebrate my brother Paul's birthday. I hope he has a good day and can kick back and relax. He deserved that at least once a year. Okay, he did that on Father's Day too. I think he does it a lot more than I do. Maybe I should learn that from him. Naaaaaaa. I like being the wired one. So Bro, (I'm being hip there) I just wanted to wish you a very good and Happy Birthday. I couldn't wish for a better brother in both ethics and character (richer ye$$, but not in character). I really do hope you have a good day and I wish I could be there with you.

So, as they sing in Mexican restaurants out here (and we know how you feel about the immigration issues): Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday PONCHITO...Happy Birthday tooooooooooo you!