Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Site to Help Hurrucane Victims-"Hurricaid"

My Thoughts Exactly

From Paul at Wizbang who is a victim of hurricane Katrina-

A Note to My Fellow Bloggers and the MSM

To: My Fellow Bloggers and most of the MSM

From: Paul at Wizbang on behalf of himself and serving as self-appointed spokesman for Hurricane Katrina victims everywhere.

With all due respect guys and gals... Chill out.

I've never seen one event inspire so many silly posts. Many of you need to put down the mouse and walk away. ;-)

I've seen the same blogger complain both that the coverage of Katrina was "Hurricane Porn" beforehand and in a separate post whine that the media did not do enough to convince people that they should have evacuated.... You can't have it both ways.

I fully understand if bloggers were disallowed from complaining about the media and politicians, that modem and broadband sales would suffer double digit sales slumps.... But take a break.

If you think you are more qualified to run the city then the people running it, then by all means when the next election cycle comes around, come on down and throw your hat in the ring. If you think you could have stopped the hurricane if only everyone had listened to you... well I can't help ya.

There'll be plenty of time to show off your 20/20 hindsight next week. For now, accept this for what it is... a natural disaster of biblical proportions.

If you want to do something, quit yer whining and do what blogs and bloggers do best... Use information to change the world.

99% of us have no idea how our neighborhoods did. Somebody try to find and compile (reliable) damage reports from specific neighborhoods. Sure it takes some local knowledge, but google maps will fill in the blanks. [Update: The levee broke and the whole damn town flooded so I guess we can check this one off the list.]

We don't know how FEMA works. Somebody read the news reports on what FEMA is doing and what it is not... Somebody read their site and distill it for those of us who don't have time for red tape.

Flood insurance? I know the feds handle it. Who do I need to talk to? What do they pay?

Every natural disaster I send the Red Cross my standard $100 donation. I have no idea how to get money from them. It is a grant or a loan?

If I don't actually cancel my phones and my bill is auto-debit do they still bill me?

If I shut off my phone will I lose my number?

Heck- Somebody make an "Evacuee survival guide" with laser precision information on how to get help without clicking 50 links or waiting on hold 2 hours. If you can save 25,000 people 5 hours of looking up the same information, think of the power in that!

Think of the simple things- Thousands of people lost their glasses. Somebody set up a website where they can coordinate donations of (known) prescription glasses from people who no longer need them. Get a freight company to donate the freight. I bet FedEx will give you an account number that will route all the glasses to some agency in New Orleans.

If you do something to help the victims, ping this post... If there is a lot of people helping out, Kevin will set up a post with the links. (I just volunteered him ;)

Think about it for a second from my chair... (I'm not whining but) I'm almost 40 years old.... Here is the sum total of all my worldly possessions: 4 pairs of shorts, 5 shirts, 2 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of blue jeans, a box of family pictures, 2 flashlights, a piece of trench art my grandfather brought back from WWI and my father's hammer. (Hey, it means a lot to me!) That's it. Everything else is gone. And BTW, I'm unemployed.

I tell you that not to whine but to let you see the tree thru the forest. Multiply my situation by about a million. Stop and think about that... A million people homeless and unemployed.

If you're a blogger then (by near definition) you're a self proclaimed talented person. Prove it. They'll be plenty of time for punditry and pontification next month... In the mean time there is work to be done. Figure out how to help the victims.

Please (for the sake of all of us who actually understand the situation) please stop whining about the evacuation. It was a stunning success. Please stop saying that the levee at 17th street and Canal St. broke... There's no such place. (and no, FOXNews, even if there was such a place, I assure you, it would be on the south side of the lake and not the north side of the lake where you showed it on your map)

So here it is in a nutshell... Let's get some work done and play Monday morning quarterback sometime in early 2006. There's about million or so of us who would prefer it that way.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Dueling Branches of Service-Gunfight Rules

A Marine Corps slam at the Navy-USMC v. USN Gunfight Rules:

USMC Rules For Gunfighting During War

1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.

2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.

3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

4. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.

5. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)

6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.

7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.

9. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun.

9.5. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. "All skill is in vain when an Angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket."

10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

12. Have a plan.

13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work.

14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible. The visible target should be in FRONT of your gun.

15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.

16. Don't drop your guard.

17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.

18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them).

19. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.

20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

21. Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

22. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.

23. Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.

24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a "4."

U.S. Navy Rules to Gunfighting

1. Adopt an aggressive offshore posture.

2. Send the Marines.

3. Drink Coffee.

South African Medical Chart Entries

Actual writings in a Mpumalanga Hospital

1. The patient refused autopsy.

2. The patient has no previous history of suicides.

3. Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.

4. Patient's medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

5. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

6. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

7. On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.

8. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

9.The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

10. Discharge status: Alive but without my permission.

11. Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

12. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

13. She is numb from her toes down.

14. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.

15. The skin was moist and dry.

16. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

17. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

18. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.

19. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.

20. I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

21. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

22. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

23. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

24. Skin: somewhat pale but present.

25. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.

26. Large brown stool ambulating in the hall.

27. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

A tip of the hat to The Gray Monk

British Students Allowed 5 "F-Bombs" per lesson

Coach "K" booted-out in first five minutes.

Top One Hundred Rudest British Town Names

Scratchy Bottom barely "cracks" top-25.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Blog Visits This Weekend

You could have knocked me over with a cotton ball yeterday when I checked my sitemeter at noon and had about 10 times the site visits that are normal here on the weekends. Doing some digging, I noticed that a lot of the referring links were from The, a site maintained by the Columbia, S.C. newspaper in a section called "Get Out"-Things to do in South Carolina. The article featured the Yemassee area in the S.C. lowcountry and mentioned the tour of the Auldbrass Plantation tour, the Old Sheldon Church Ruins and Harold's Country Club, a down-home bar, gas station, tackle shop and restaurant that I wrote about last May. The article in The provided a link to my story and I was bombarded. That link was picked up by Joan at her site, Walk This Way, a great blog from Charleston, S.C. and she gave me another link after visiting Harold's. I went back to the article and added some photos, a feature unavailable at the time of the initial story. I made a few changes and read it again-not bad. I still have those memories etched into my brain as if they happened yesterday. Can't wait to go back.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Mantis on deck Posted by Picasa

Eat those bugs! Posted by Picasa

Space alien? Posted by Picasa

Mantis on hand Posted by Picasa

Frog hiding in Amaryllis Posted by Picasa

Praying Mantis Posted by Picasa

Saturday backyard wildlife Posted by Picasa

Man Walks Off Without Paying for Artificial Leg

Guess he couldn't foot the bill. Let the puns begin...

Friday, August 26, 2005

I'll be here in about an hour!

The heat has finally broken, the wind is from the NE and the water is crystal clear. Gonna be a great Friday afternoon at Cape Lookout-see ya'll later!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

International Food Labels

Insurance Claims Hall of Fame

Unintentionally Suggestive Comic Book Covers

Some PG-13 material possible.

Pithy Putdowns in Comments Section

These were responses to a newpaper op-ed piece in the NY Times:

  • Please, a fistful of Xanax and a liter of Absolut vodka do not constitute a good breakfast.
  • Okay, class. The assignment was to write a story about a current news figure, using as many puns and hyperbole as will fit on the page. Make is short, make it stupid.
  • You can take the lass out of the shanty, but you can't take the shanty out of the lass.
  • If you took her brain and magnifed it 10,000 times -- stuffed it up a gnats behind - it would rattle like a BB in a boxcar.
  • You put the gas in gasbag.
  • She probably jotted down all these pithy one-liners on a booze-soaked cocktail napkin while watching reruns of Jackass.

The Thoughtful Lawyer

One afternoon a lawyer was riding in his limousine when he saw two men along the roadside eating grass. Disturbed, he ordered his driver to stop and he got out to investigate.

He asked one man, "Why are you eating grass?" "We don't have any money for food," the poor man replied. "We have to eat grass." "Well, then, you can come with me to my house and I'll feed you" the lawyer said. "But sir, I have a wife and two children with me. They are over there, under that tree." "Bring them along" the lawyer replied.

Turning to the other poor man he stated, "You come with us also." The second man, in a pitiful voice then said, "But sir, I also have a wife and SIX children with me!" "Bring them all, as well," the lawyer answered.

They all entered the car, which was no easy task, even for a car as large as the limousine was. Once underway, one of the poor fellows turned to the lawyer and said, "Sir, you are too kind. Thank you for taking all of us with you."

The lawyer replied, "Glad to do it. You'll really love my place. The grass is almost a foot high."

Hat tip to Indigo Insights!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bluntness v. Rudeness

There are distinct differences between bluntness ("The quality of being direct)" and rudeness ("A manner that is disrespectful and contemptuous)." The distinction has become blurred as we have become a nation of people who, as the Jack Nicholson line goes-"can't handle the truth." My job as a prosecutor puts me in daily contact with criminals and their families and with victims of crime and their families. I have learned the hard way that in this profession, the only way to deal with the demands and emotions of these disparate groups is by being blunt to a fault.

As a human instinct, all criminal defendants (i.e. anyone charged with any traffic or criminal offense no matter how minor it is) and their family members or friends who care for them or about their case, desparately want to hear positive news in any form or fashion. That instinct causes them to screen out all bad or non-good news and also translate any ambiguity or uncertainty into something positive. Equivocation is my worst enemy-it soon replicates into a ray of hope, then a promise, then a solemn oath. The word "NO" is completely unambiguous and hence is anathema to these people. Although it may be the correct answer to their inquiries or pleas, it is the surest and quickest way to be called "rude."

With victims, we are often the conveyers of bad news. It is difficult to explain to someone that the person who stole their car or who broke into their house or embezzled thousands of dollars from their small company cannot be sent to jail. Even worse are the families of those killed by a drunk or reckless driver when you have to advise them that even if convicted, no jail time for the person responsible is a possibility.
Our criminal sentencing rules are a function of available jail space. A first offender faces automatic active jail time only if he holds up a 7-11 with a gun or does something worse-anything less carries the possibility of probation. Not to editorialize on a matter that will not change in my career, (I like to say that I remember when breaking and entering were actual crimes), but to illustrate my point- that with victims also, being blunt about a case's outcome, is necessary, and not usually well received. The only thing worse than giving them the "criminal punishment reality check" is allowing a victim to grasp at unrealistic expectations. We always have to prepare them for the absolute worst thing that can happen and be as direct and blunt as possible-they too crave the good news and tend to block out the bad.

The article that spawned the above observation was linked over at Wizbang. It involves a doctor being reported to the state medical board for telling the unvarnished truth to one of his patients. Michael Kinsley, when he was editor of The New Republic, once opined that "a major gaffe only occurs in Washington when someone actually speaks the truth." It seems that eschewing the "truth" is no longer limited to that city. Here's the article:

Complaint over blunt words on obesity frustrates doctor
Union Leader Staff

MANCHESTER — Obesity is one of the biggest killers in America, leading to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and some types of cancer.

Doctors have been warning their patients of the evil of being overweight for years, telling them to lose weight.

But now a New Hampshire doctor is under a regulatory cloud for very bluntly telling a female patient she is obese and needed to lose weight.

Dr. Terry Bennett, who practices in Rochester, said he has "an obesity lecture for women" that is a stark litany designed to get the attention of obese female patients.

He said he tells obese women they most likely will outlive an obese spouse and will have a difficult time establishing a new relationship because studies show most males are completely negative to obese women.

Bennett said he tells them their obesity will lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux and stroke.

One patient who Bennett had seen five or six times took offense at the lecture and filed a complaint against Bennett about a year ago with the New Hampshire Board of Medicine.

Bennett says his former patient filed the complaint because "I told a fat woman she was obese. I tried to get her attention. I told her you need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people and peel off the weight that is going to kill you."

He said he had discussed her obesity before with the woman, but she continued to put on weight, becoming diabetic with gastroesophageal reflux and chest pains.

"When I found out she was offended, I wrote her a letter apologizing and that should have been the end of it," Bennett said.

The complaint was initially investigated and reviewed by the board of medicine's Medical Review Subcommittee, which recommended to the board that Bennett be sent a confidential letter of concern. But the board rejected the suggestion at its Dec. 2, 2004, meeting.

Instead, the board asked the Attorney General's Administrative Prosecution Unit to investigate and seek a resolution to the complaint. A settlement agreement was proposed that would have had Bennett attend a medical education course and acknowledge he made a mistake. He rejected the proposal.

"I've made many errors in my lifetime. Telling someone the truth is not one of them," Bennett said.

A public hearing is likely to be scheduled by the board.
Policing doctors

The board of medicine's Web site says that state law authorizes the board to take disciplinary action against physicians who engage in providing false information, practicing medicine while impaired, behavior that is incompatible with basic knowledge and competence, dishonest or unprofessional conduct, negligence, allowing an unlicensed person to practice in the physician's office, failing to provide aseptic safeguards, dishonest advertising or statements, willfully violating the Medical Practice Act or if convicted of a felony.

"Complaints regarding high fees, rudeness or 'poor bedside manner' do not ordinarily violate one of the above provisions unless they also involve dishonesty or exploitation or gross negligence on the part of the physician," according to the Web site.

"To me this is much ado about nothing," Bennett's attorney, Charles Douglas, said. "If the board wants to get into policing how doctors talk to their patients, they are going to be very busy."

Douglas said he has had clients not like what he told them or the way he told them, and he apologized when he found out they were upset. That should not be a disciplinary matter, he said.

"Terry's an old-fashioned doctor who will see anybody if they have money or not, or if they are on Medicaid. He's the last independent doctor not owned by a hospital in Strafford County. He's not going to roll over on this, he is going to fight," Douglas said.
Going public

Under the statute governing the board and its procedures, the complaint is confidential until a public hearing or an agreement is reached. Bennett said he decided to go public with his case because he is furious about the complaint and the way it has been handled by the board and Attorney General's Office.

"I've been a physician a very long time. I have never raised my voice. I have never lost my cool. I work hard at it and it wounds me deeply that I made her angry. These things are very disturbing to me. I am heartfelt sorry that I wounded her. I wanted her to change her life," Bennett said.

Dr. Bruce Friedman, chairman of the board of medicine, said "The board has a process that examines all complaints. The board will look at any complaint and decide if it has any merit or not."

He said the board tries to remain impartial, particularly if a complaint results in a adjudicative hearing.

Friedman said he could not discuss specific complaints but did agree that obesity is a major concern. He said some doctors work harder than others on the issue with their patients.

Assistant Attorney General Catherine Bernhard, who conducted the investigation, said "I can't acknowledge anything," and referred to RSA 329, the statute that governs the medical board and its procedures. It states that complaints are confidential until the board takes disciplinary action.

Penny Taylor, administrator for the Board of Medicine, also said she could not confirm any complaint before the board.

She did say the board receives about 20 to 30 complaints a month. In quite a few instances, no action is taken, she said, and few go to a public hearing. The cases are usually settled before a complaint goes to a hearing, she said.
Patients rally

Many of Bennett's patients have rallied to his defense, signing petitions and writing letters on his behalf and sending them to the board, Attorney General Kelly Ayotte and Gov. John Lynch. They are also willing to show up at a public hearing to support Bennett.

Melinda Haney of Rochester has been Bennett's patient for 15 years. She had more than 100 people sign a petition asking Lynch not to re-appoint Ayotte as attorney general because of the investigation.

Like the woman who filed the complaint, Haney is obese.

"For 15 years Dr. Bennett would tell me 'Mindy, you're overweight and you smoke,'" she said. " 'You are going to get diabetes or cancer or have a stroke or heart attack.' The whole time I was saying 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm young, those things only happen to someone else.'"

She said now she is a diabetic, has had cancer and failed a stress test terribly.

"Is he a fortune teller? No. He was a man trying to do his job. Whether I wanted to hear it or not, he was telling me the truth. All those things that happen to other people happened to me."

Haney said a lot of things Bennett tells people are upsetting.

"I would not want his job. He's the messenger and people are always out to shoot the messenger," she said.

She said Bennett is the most compassionate doctor there is. A lot of people who signed the petition, she said, just don't understand why the attorney general is spending money to investigate. "We can't lose him because someone doesn't want to hear they're obese," Haney said.

Monday, August 22, 2005

More of the worst album covers

I can't believe this didn't have a happy ending

Bad place to hold the fireworks!

It's not wise to play with alligators

More Cowbell

One of the funniest skits ever on SNL. Features Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken in a scene about Blue Oyster Cult recording "Don't Fear the Reaper." Enjoy!

Mark Twain Quote

“ Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ”

Friday, August 19, 2005

New Cat Lovers Website

For people who put stuff on their cats.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


A couple of days ago, a fellow blogger posed the question: What connects you to your friends? I dashed off the first thing that came to mind:

Three things- First is passion, the second is sincerity (a/k/a honesty and being absolutely true to your word) and the third is loyalty. All my great friends have these things in common. I expect a great deal of my friends and I expect a great deal of myself as a friend. For that reason, I don't have a gaggle of friends, just a precious few-but I wouldn't trade anything for anyone of them.

I left out something that I thought of today as I traded e-mails with my buddy Scott-intelligence, wit and the ability to create humor and fun out of whole cloth. It happens about once a month that a simple e-mail between us generates a funny reply and we then spend 5 five more replies apiece in which the ante is upped again and again until the original topic is forgotten-replaced by long-winded missives that if read without context would qualify us for the loony bin. They are most always filled with inside jokes, absurdities, non-sequiters-spiced (sarcastically) with legalese and fancy prose. We have been "riffing" off the same old jokes and situations for years-each detail and embellishment is etched in the memory bank, drawn on frequently and is further embellished or more finely honed into a comic work of art.
Something similar occured over Fourth of July weekend when Jane, Vin, Brad, Kathryn and I saw a couple dining at a nearby table. The woman wore a hideous dress cut low in the back with her back toward us. She had alabaster skin exept for this huge splotch of brown caused evidently from being swabbed by a mop saturated with self-tanner. We couldn't help but to keep turning around and horselaughing because it was so obvious and by the time we got to dinner we had given them identities and life histories. Imaginary detail upon imaginary detail were piled on until we were crying. Somewhere in the mix I suggested that the man was her "Sugar Daddy" but her hideousness led me to conclude that he was a "Sugar Daddy" who only had enough money to spoil his woman with really cheap trinkets and god-awful clothes-my new term for this type individual- "Costco Sugar Daddy" brought a snort and a spray of drink out of Vin's nose. In 20 years, we'll still be talking about and embellishing the story of the couple on the dining deck.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Gym to Offer Valet Parking

Maybe they can lift the weights for you also.

More Gasoline Humor

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

If Your Car Runs on Gasoline, Don't Fill the Tank with Stolen Diesel

Check Out "Food Chain Barbie"

Random H.L. Mencken Quote

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.

I'd never read this quote before-I find Mencken fascinating. I 'll try and post some more of his quotes soon. Here's one I've used in court:

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.

I'd Pee My Pants to Get One of Those Cheap, Used Laptops!

Chigger Update

$55.50 to the doctor and I walked out with a pocketful of antibiotics the size of horse pills. Maybe it's just the placebo affect but the bites appear less "angry" right now. I'm sure you all recognize the chemical structure of Levaquin-I know I'd recognize this molecule anywhere:
Tomorrow night there is a killer tide and I'll be knee deep in spartina grass again, but this time I've got something for those SOB's-

Comes highly recommended by Sara and Lamar Ferguson of Reno, Nevada-If you can't trust that chigger-free couple, who can you trust.

Reno, Nevada
“Finally a product that does exactly what it says it does! It feels really good to be chigger free. We got chiggers on a camping trip and the itching was unbearable. I don't know if we would have gotten relief so fast without ChiggerTrigger™. God Bless.”
Sara and Lamar FergusonI can see these two scratching each other silly in the pup tent at Lake Tahoe or perhaps amusing themselves with a Sharpie Pen in a naked scrum "connect the dots" contest back at home while awaiting the delivery of their gallon size Chigger Trigger. Whatever-I think these flesh eating pests may have invaded my brain.

Monday, August 15, 2005


A foray into the salt marsh two weeks ago left me with two shinfuls, (possibly a new word), of small red pus-filled welts. A childlike compulsion to pick and poke at them now has me sporting what looks like buckshot wounds on both legs and a doctor's appointment for tomorrow morning. The internet is a great place to find information, but has failed me with this menace. I have taken anti-histamines till I twitch, I have coated my legs with anti-itch spray, I have rubbed them with poltices, salves and unguents and even numbed the bites with Ambesol. A pharmacist recommended coating them with nailpolish. That just put a hard coating on the nasty things and when the polish turned brown after swimming in saltwater it seemed to just call more attention to them-picture skinny white legs with red welts surrounded by tan splotches. The itch is gone-replaced by swollen calves, feet and ankles, the individual welts having expanded to become a single inch-wide scarlet band.
The skin on the rest of my body has also become uber-sensitive to the least irritation and though the chiggers don't itch, everything else does. If I found a wire brush lying around, I swear I would probably scrape myself into a bloody pulp. I made the mistake of going back into the marsh Saturday afternoon looking to find some redfish and the fiddler crabs, shrimp and minnows feasted on these welts causing another brief spell of itching and swelling. I hope the Doc can help me out with something-If he says to stay out of the marsh I'll be forced to disobey orders. We don't get 4 and a half foot lunar tides that often and the fish will be able to reach places that can't normally-I'll be there waiting for them-buckshot wounds and all.

Today's Question

What does a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac do? He lies wide awake at night wondering if there really is a dog.

Hat tip to Dash

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Sad Day at Fishtown Chatter

I was shocked to read this from Feisty Repartee this afternoon:

It's been fun...

but, I think the time has come to say "Good-Bye."

What I have tried to create here is a place with the comforts of home to welcome all friends, old and new, to sit down, take a load off, visit, and relax.

It's been a happy place for me to share the exploits of my children and my childhood, as well as observations of this crazy world in which we live.

It has been a welcome distraction from much pain and sorrow.

However, reality beckons and I must turn my attentions elsewhere.

To each and all, I wish you the best.
Posted by Christina at 12:23 PM |

For those who haven't (or didn't) discover Feisty Repartee, you've missed out. If Jack at Random Fate is the Blogfather, then surely Christina is the Blogmother. A brilliant writer and a master organizer, peacekeeper and gentle soul in the raucous blogosphere, she will be missed by all. Amongst all the blowhards, egomaniacs, self-promoters and jackasses who blog regularly, she remains above the fray and tries to mediate and ameliorate the frequent hissy fits and pissing contests among those fighting for a higher sitemeter count. She has never said a mean or unkind word about anyone, even to those who have thrown stones at her. She has more class in her little finger than that of 30 randomly chosen bloggers combined.

My humble suggestion is that you consider keeping the site active and take a hiatus from daily blogging. There are hundreds of us that would chip in as guests blogger until your situation is resolved. Give it some thought-if not possible, our best wishes to you and your family.

Worthy of the Blogging Hall of Fame

Speaking of funny stuff, my all-time favorite is Steve Graham's month long torture of some Nigerian e-mail spammers. It's the literary equivalent of a smart cat playing with retarded mice. He has these scam artists twisted up like pretzels and the month-long one-sided "battle" would make a great book. I've read this stuff a dozen times and still laugh just as hard each time. To read these classic posts and replies go to Hog On Ice and check the right margin for the Archives by Category and click on "Good Morning Nigeria." To get the chronology correct, start at the bottom of the page since the more recent posts appear at the top. Everytime I see the guy holding up the sign reading "Biff Wellington," I almost pee in my pants.

Were it not for blogs, this stuff would exist only in the minds of truly talented folks-people like Steve and Patrick Hughes and thousands of others now have an outlet and they constantly put to shame the kind of creative material found in the mainstream press. If you've got time, check out the many links on my blogroll-you will find a treasure trove of great stuff from folks from all over the country and the world. Click them and if you like them, bookmark them and share the good stuff with others. That's what it's all about. Have fun!

Patrick Hughes is Back

His blogging is slightly sporadic but when he does it, it's usually a classic-Funny as hell, well structured, beautifully written bizarreness. Check him out often and dig into the archives-a true talent with a warped mind. Don't read any of his stuff with food or water in your mouth unless you want it on your keyboard.

Dumb Crook News from Tampa

Tampa man picks wrong car for joke traffic stop

The Associated Press

Marvin Williams thought it would be funny to put a blue-and-red flashing light on the dashboard of his friend's car and pretend to pull over another motorist, police said.

But the joke backfired Sunday night when Williams picked a car with two undercover Tampa cops inside.

It didn't help much when he laughed about it as he drove by. Then, when police followed him, the 22-year-old Williams ran from the vehicle, officials say.

He left behind two female friends who were riding with him, and 7 grams of cocaine on the center console, police said. The officers caught up, caught him and found the drugs.

Williams was charged with cocaine possession, impersonating a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. Officers also arrested a woman riding in the front seat and charged her with cocaine possession.

Williams posted $4,500 bail Monday night and was released. A working phone number could not be located for him Tuesday, and it wasn't known if he had an attorney.

Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said Williams joked with his passengers about pulling someone over in the moments before pulling behind Officers Sean Kruger and Jason Degagne shortly before midnight.

"The joke was on him," McElroy said. "His victims turned out to be police officers who escorted him to jail - with a real blue light."

Food for Thought-Albert Einstein Quotes

I don't agree with some of these but at least they are thought provoking. Someone can write a great short story or novel, but, in my opinion, a pithy quote is the height of creativity.

# "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."
# "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
# "Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love."
# "I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details."
# "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."
# "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
# "The only real valuable thing is intuition."
# "A person starts to live when he can live outside himself."
# "I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice."
# "God is subtle but he is not malicious."
# "Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character."
# "I never think of the future. It comes soon enough."
# "The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility."
# "Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing."
# "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."
# "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
# "Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
# "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
# "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
# "Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it."
# "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."
# "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."
# "God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically."
# "The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking."
# "Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal."
# "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."
# "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible."
# "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
# "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."
# "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."
# "Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater."
# "Equations are more important to me, because politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity."
# "If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut."
# "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."
# "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
# "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."
# "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
# "In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep."
# "The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead."
# "Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves."
# "Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -- how passionately I hate them!"
# "No, this trick won't work...How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?"
# "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind."
# "Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever."
# "The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."
# "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence."
# "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
# "A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeeded be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."
# "The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge."
# "Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."
# "You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."
# "One had to cram all this stuff into one's mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect on me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year."
# " of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought."
# "He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."
# "A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
# "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

True Fish Tales

I've got a good fishing buddy and his family in the area this week and he and I fished two full days on Monday and Tuesday. He's a good fisherman and I'm fairly decent but it seems like we never catch much when we fish together. That was the situation again until about 5:00 P.M. Monday afternoon when we pulled the boat into a nearby creek off the intracoastal waterway and promptly got stuck in the mud at low tide. If you're gonna get stuck, there's no beter time than low tide-the water may come in slowly, but you'll be afloat in a couple of hours. If you're high and dry at high tide, you'd better find something to keep you occupied for the next 12 hours. We ended up in soft, black plough (pronounced "pluff)" mud, staring at a "moonscape" of oyster mounds and clumps of spartina and turtle grass. We were in about 6 inches of water which extended 50 yards to our left, then it was nothing but mud. We had just grounded the boat when we heard a noise that sounded like someone dropping a concrete block in the shallow water. A huge circle wake appeared followed by noisy swirls and more "explosions." Those noises in that place meant one thing-big redfish. We fumble with our gear to get a mullet or shrimp out to them and it was just second when one mauled a bait and took off toward the oyster rocks in an attempt to cut the line. I yanked him away from the oysters and horsed him in-a fine 25- inch copper colored fish. That scene played out again about 20 times in the next two hours and we probably lost 10 or 12 others in the oysters. We were using popping corks to suspend the bait just off the bottom and our line would usually break above the cork leaving it floating in the marsh. J.P. hooked a big fish that broke his line but the way the cork moved through the water it was obvious the fish was still attached to the hook, leader and cork. We could see it circle around for over an hour. At one point it got withing casting range and I threw a mullet near him-J.P. had the same idea at the same time. Sure enough, the fish that had already been hooked and still had hook and line in his mouth was still hungry. He pounced on my bait and I hooked him. He got tangled in J.P.'s line also, so we both reeled in the fish and landed it-he had caught the fish twice and I had caught it once. Never done or seen that in 45 years of fishing.
Yesterday we made a beeline for the magic spot and waited for the tide to pull most of the water out of the creek. We slayed 'em again. Again, J.P. broke off a fish that pulled cork, hook and line around for about 3 hours. We kept an eye on the rig and as we left we swooped over and lifted the cork-the fish that was attached was soon in the boat-another huge red. We plowed through the shallows out into the creek mouth and it was up "on plane" and back to the dock. Two full days of great fishing and great times.


Anyone who thinks chiropractic adjustment for back pain is the medical and scientific equivalent of applying leaches is crazy. I've had upper back and neck tension quite frequently and having a DC contort me and press down on my spine until it pops is one of life's great pleasures, not to mention being hooked up to a nerve stimulator for 15 minutes prior to that. If I had one of those machines at home I would never leave the house. Yesterday I tweaked my back bending over to extract a 12 oz. can of "fish attractant" from the cooler and I've been moving like a 90-year old. After my adjustment today, I feel like Lance Armstrong (no, not that Lance Armstrong)! If you haven't tried chiropractic for neck or back pain, you're missing out. Thanks to Dr. James Graham, Beaufort, N.C.!

Back This Afternoon

I took the past two days off to fish with a buddy from out of town. For some reason, I couldn't be anymore tired or sore if I had played rugby or roller derby. I must be getting completely wimpy in my old age-My shoulder pops and hurts if I raise my arm and my lower back is seized up requiring a chiropractor visit this afternoon. Also, my feet and ankles are slightly swollen for some unknown reason. After lunch, I'll be back with something new-I just don't know about what yet.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Martha Stewart-Arrogance Incarnate

Let me get this out front-I don't want to conceal my biases and this really is not about her anyway, but-I really don't like Martha Stewart. I don't care that she knows how to stencil a driveway, stir-fry her own designer condoms or shellac her phone bill. If I were married to her, I would tell her to "give it a rest"-for once, woman, just sit down and shut up! Quit gluing glitter to dust bunnies or spray painting pine cones -for once, sweet Jesus, just let the inanimate objects in the house have some peace. But that is not what really makes my diastolic and systolic go into orbit-it's the attitude and arrogance of her kind-the rich, the famous, the people that think they're rich and famous, the people who think they are a big deal for whatever reason who all think that the law applies to everyone but themselves.
I have had a front row seat in the criminal justice system for almost 14 years. Most of our customers are not of Martha's ilk-they tend to be uneducated, poor and downtrodden (most always due to their own decisions) and are one small personal "disaster," (like a faulty transmission or flat tire), away from spiraling down into a self-destructive vortex of forged checks, shoplifting or selling a rock of crack cocaine. They might be lucky to get a "toehold" on being flush but it never lasts long. I'm not saying these people aren't criminals-they are and they usually catch all the punishment they are due. If they don't go to jail, most spend a lot of time on probation and a lot don't have the smidgen of self-discipline to comply with the rather rudimentary conditions that will keep them out of jail. I can't generate any malice toward these folks, in fact I have pity for a few of them who, through bad luck or stupidity or addiction or mental illness or a combination of all of the above, are constantly behind life's "eight-ball" headed for the side pocket-I understand that there will always be a percentage of folks that live from nanosecond-to-nanosecond and that my job will always be secure.

Martha's type gall me because they truly believe that the criminal law just does not apply to them. Hare dare they have to follow the same dictates that govern the great unwashed! "I don't follow the rules, I make the rules." "I will decide what I will do and when I will do it-how dare you tell me that I can't go to my Pilates class or wear that dreadful ankle bracelet." I actually had a probation violater, who was young, white and preppy, once tell a judge (after he repeatedly thumbed his nose at the conditions governing his release), that he thought the state prison was only for black people. He actually believed that! To me, there is no satisfaction greater than hearing the cell door slam on someone who presumed they were simply too important to have to conform their conduct to the law of the "common man."

20 Things It Took Me 50 Years To Learn

1. A sworn enemy will never, ever be as vindictive and venomous as an ex-"friend." (If you're reading this you miserable viper, you will immediately know that I'm talking about you).
2. The only difference between drunks and alcoholics are that drunks don't go to meetings.
3. It only takes one fire ant to ruin your day.
4. The only thing more unproductive than a meeting is a meeting with "breakout sessions."
5. There is no such thing as a government conspiracy. It is impossible for more than three government employees (I am one) to agree on a place to eat lunch.
6. People who don't understand the English language will not understand it any better if you speak it louder.
7. It is impossible to successfully cross-examine a witness through an interpreter.
8. People that can't play a musical intrument well compensate by playing louder.
9. Never, ever share your favorite fishing spot with anyone living less than 250 miles away from it.
10. If you open any book, the odd number pages are always on the right side.
11. True happiness will never just suddenly materialize-it must be clearly visualized, focused on like a laser beam, and pursued selfishly and aggressively.
12. Life's too short to spend one minute trying to please a jerk or a bitch.
13. In objects that are man-made, flaws are not defects, they are the humanity.
14. No record company will ever go broke by underestimating the musical taste of the general public.
15. I will never develop a taste for cucumbers, mayonnaise, olives or Scotch.
16. No matter how much your cat loves you, he will never resist the temptation to take a swipe at your leg if the opportunity presents itself.
17. Some find the Lord 'cause they "see the light," others cause they "feel the heat."
18. There is a cure for drug addiction-there is no cure for thievery.
19. Never let the fear of losing discourage you from the good fight.
20. I would rather be in a boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

More Shameless Purloining from "The Boiling Point"

I like all of these-Tomorrow I'll follow this up with my 20 things it took me 50 years to learn.

Check out Dash's site-Highly recommended!!


1. Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

3. There is a very fine line between "hobby"; and "mental illness."

4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours.

5. And when God, who created the entire universe with all of its glories, decides to deliver a message to humanity, He WILL NOT use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.

6. You should not confuse your career with your life.

7. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.

8. When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.

9. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

10. Never lick a steak knife.

11. Take out the fortune before you eat the cookie.

12. The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.

13. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

14. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

15. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.

16. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.

17. The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.

18. A person who is nice to you, but is rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

19. Your friends love you anyway.

20. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic.

A Great Post About Man's Best Friend from Dash at The Boiling Point

Dog lovers will appreciate this-Thanks Dash!

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I' ll have some ice water brought right up."

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."

''How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is Heaven," he answered.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Courthouse or Greenhouse?

They are doing major renovations to our historic courthouse and large courtroom this summer. Last week they removed the cupola and covered the now flat roof with a tarp. Today theyre tinkering with the airconditioning and court dress codes were waived for the day. It's about 95 degrees on the first floor where we are. I would not be surprised to see a raincloud develop over my desk. My diet Coke has "sweated" all over my phone messages and I've got the energy of a slug. I understand now why the southern population explosion clearly correlates with the development of air-conditioning. It's funny how spoiled we've (read "I've)" become-ten weeks ago, I was moaning about the freak cold snap in early May and the ocean water temps hovering in the low 60's. Today the ocean temp is 84 degrees just off the beach and I read where the ocean temp in St. Pete, Florida was 93. I complain about the heat in the house when the thermostat reads 72 and whine about how cold it is when it's 68. Back in the 1800's, I would have been one of those that lived to about 8 years old and died not from any plague or disease, but just from being a complete wimp.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Wicked, Twisted Road Leads to Atlanta

Back at work today after a long but fantastic weekend in Atlanta. Some photos of the concert haved been added tonight. Working on a story of the Braves game and a lengthy post about our night with Reckless Kelly at Smith's Olde Bar. Their music defies categorization-call it "roots-rock," "alt-country," or as they call it, "hick-rock," this group led by Willy and Cody Braun from Stanley, Idaho, now based in Austin, Texas is the finest band I have ever heard-and I am a hardcore music fan from wayback. Not only talented, they are the most unassuming and greatest bunch of guys you'll ever meet. If you've got an appreciation for impeccable musicianship and vocals matched with lyrics that are truly magical, these guys are all you need. Their latest,
Wicked Twisted Road, from the opening lines of the title cut and first song, to the last strains of the instrumental reprise will send chills down your spine. These guys are simply awesome-we love 'em, see them as often as possible all over the country and have been fortunate to get to spend some time talking with them. They hooked us up royally in Atlanta! Thanks guys for everything! We'll see you soon down the road. Back tomorrow with the full story.

Pre-show meal at Cowtippers just up the street from S.O.B. (Smith's Olde Bar) in midtown Atlanta Posted by Picasa

Jane with lead singer and guitar slinger extraordinaire, Willy Braun Posted by Picasa

Curtain about to open on a magical night Posted by Picasa

Cody on the fiddle Posted by Picasa

The view from our table. Posted by Picasa

Our table-The band treated us like royalty! Posted by Picasa

Jason with Willy Braun Posted by Picasa

Scott talking to Cody pre-show Posted by Picasa

Sign at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta Posted by Picasa