Monday, April 30, 2007


writer's block

I have had trouble putting together more than two sentences for the longest time. A little over a year now it seems. Even at work, where all I had to do was write what I observed, not even come up with things, I had trouble. Today, I was able to write whole paragraphs again at work. It felt good. Hopefully I'll be able to continue.

I've heard that the worst nightmare of an author is to get hit with writer's block. I always though that was kind of silly. I now have much more respect for the writers who can churn out piece after piece after piece after .... well, you get the idea.

Hopefully, I'll be able to as well.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Misty water color memories...

One of the things that they say that make your life the way it is are the things that you first remember. I don't know why this came up this evening but for some reason it did.

I've several memories of the old days. Many are pleasant. Some not as much so. I think it's interesting which I remember from the farthest back. Those aren't so much as happy or sad as memorable. I think that the Freudian analyst or even some others may be able to read things into them that I haven't, but I'm not sure what it would mean.

What I think is earliest is the time that I was riding along with dad when he took mom to work. I don't remember the details of the trip to GC Murphy's (a big chain 5&10 at the time) but I remember the ride home. We drove through Latrobe and I was happy because after mom got out of the front seat, I got to move up to the front. As we drove through town, I talked with dad (granted it was not a great conversation as I don't think that I was even in school yet), we came down Jefferson Street, and turned on to Irving Avenue. I was playing with the handle of the front door, which opened up if you picked up the handle as you moved, as dad made the left turn from Jefferson onto Irving. Since I was playing with the latch that opened the door at the time...The door opened and I went rolling out of the car as it moved around the corner going from 0 to 30ish in a few moments. Dad stopped the car as soon as he could. I got up, ran to the still open door, and hopped back into the car. I told Dad that I was back and we could go ahead and closed the door. Dad, as white a sheet, nodded his head and put the car back in drive and we went home. When he picked up mom that night he told her what happened. He didn't know what to do in the meantime since I didn't seem to be any worse for the wear.

Another of my early memories is going down into the basement. Head first, as I didn't manage the stairs as they were meant to be managed. I got up and ran back up after I did what ever it was that I went down there for anyhow. Another is when I was running along the cement fences of a neighbor down the street and slipped. I can still feel the lump where then stitches went after I banged my head off the cement.

I'm not sure if there is a pattern here .It just seems interesting that most of my early memories have something to do with getting my head slammed on the cement or something similar.

And no, I don't think that's the main reason I am like this. (At least not usually)

Monday, March 06, 2006


Isn't that kind of like "Government ethics"?

A good oxymoron is always a fun thing. But I think that today I encountered what may be one of the biggest I've seen yet.

The weather is getting nicer, so there are a few people driving around with open windows. Which means for some of those who have the big-ass speakers, we get to share their taste in music as they drive by. As one did today.

Speakers filling the trunk. All across the back dash. It probably even had extra speakers in the front. Volume turned up to 11.

Playing Mozart.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Assigned Seats

One of the things about going into an establishment on a regular basis is that you get into the habit of going to the same general area every time. If you do as often as I do, it almost becomes funny because people talk about "Your seat". It's not a problem most of the time, after all, all of the seats at the bar will still get you a beer, but sometimes it becomes funny.

I went into my usual watering hole this evening, a bit later than usual, and there were people there who evidently didn't understand the seating chart. As such about half of the regulars, me included were out of our seats.

I pick the spot I usually sit at because of some small residual paranoia that have which means I don't like sitting with my back to the door. (I think I picked it up by watching too any cowboy movies as a youth) But the seats that were available were on that side of the bar. I mean I could have sat on the regular side but that would have meant sitting between a guy I find annoying and another I find even worse. So I sat on the "wrong" side of the bar. No big deal.

The bartender (whom I have a long unrequited desire for) mentioned that I was on the wrong side. So did a couple other regulars, one of whom was in "my" seat. Of course as soon as there were enough spaces on the other side, I moved my stuff to get on the "right" side, even though it was at the other end of the side I usually sit on.

It's no big deal, but why do all these other people come into my bar and mess with things? I know that's an irrational thought but it still occasionally comes up when situations like this occur. It's like the guy who walks into a strange church, hours before the service. There is no other person in the church but him as he sits there, pondering the mystery that is God. Not another soul is around. About an hour before the service, a little old lady walks into the church and approaches him. He thinks that she is going to welcome him to the community.
"Excuse me, you're in my seat."

Sometimes I feel the same way.


I love my job...except when I hate it.

One of the most frustrating things about the job I do is that no matter what I do it seems that things are screwed up. I don't get called unless there are problems.

That is the nature of the job. I don't get called unless somebody thinks that a kid is getting hurt.

If the kid is hurt, I'm asked why I didn't prevent it.
If the kid is fine I'm asked why I had to mess up the family's life.

If I tell either of the above to go ****off, I get in trouble.

People need to understand the nature of the work.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Winter has arrived...again

The big storm that they were calling for, then not calling for, then calling for again did actually hit the area last night. It wasn't too bad, It looks like about six inches of only snow instead of ice. I headed out this AM to check it out and it seems that most folks have already got the walks shoveled, so walking was easy. I put the boots on which was a good decision because it would definitely have gotten into my shoes since it was that high.

It should be interesting tomorrow when the snow that has a chance to melt freezes up again. I've always thought that the day or two after the storm were the most dangerous because people forget about the danger of driving in the storm and ignore the danger of driving on the ice. We'll see how it goes this time.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Pitt- WVU game

The Panthers shut down Pittsnoggle last night and beat the Mountaineers of WVU by four, 57-53. A good game by the Panthers and even more satisfying because (a) they stop a two game losing streak, and (b) they did against the top team in the Big East and a top ten team.
Good going.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Catch Up Time

I haven't been able to get things down for a bit, so here are some random thoughts at the moment...

Steelers Win!!!!
'nuff said.

The County has recently decided to cut off access to certain sites. Among these are sites for personal e-mail. To a degree, I understand this. I would have less of a problem with it if over the last five years I had a freaking e-mail account with the county so I didn't have to do business at my own personal address. Now, they want to "assure the integrity of the system" so I have to go to another computer to do county related stuff because I am not going to e-mail 50 people saying "Oh, now you have to use this address because the county thinks I'm a f-ing idiot and will down load viruses."
They also have stopped putting A:drives in the computers. I can't get to many of the things I used on a regular basis because of the "security issues." I could download a file to my disk and take it home with me. But I can't do that now. I'll just have to e-mail it to my regular account.

February has set in with the usual vengeance. January was kind to us but it appears that the second month will not be so kind. They're calling for snow and cold and other nasty stuff soon. But pitchers and catchers report in just three weeks. Spring is not far off.

The last three times I bought a car, it took less than a month before some misfotune hit it. When I got the Beetle (which Mom technically bought) about a month later somebody backed into it at the employee lot at Kennywood. I then bought the Citation, a nice car, nothing much. While driving home from Connellsville to Latrobe on a majorly snowy day, I took the long way. All major highways, no back roads. About a month after I bought the car. As I was cruising down the highway at a stately 25, a Trooper began to veer into my lane. I hit the brakes. I hit the guardrail. When I got the wagon, I knew to be careful. So as I was coming back from Connellsville around the same time after I bought the car, an Ice storm hit. The wagon got to the hill before the salt truck did. I left off the brake at the top of the hill and stopped in the ditch beside the telephone pole. I recently (in December(yeah I know winter plays apart in this)), bought a new vehicle. I didn't drive it too much for multiple reasons: gas prices, weather, not needing to. I made it past a month. However, this past week, the curse struck again. I pulled into the lot behind my building. There sat a car, sitting in the aisle between parking spots. He had his reverse lights on. I pulled over to the side away from where I intended to park, giving him room to back up. He did. Just not straight. His side mirror hit the side of the car, knocking the mirror off and putting a mark on mine. Thankfully it wasn't major, as he wasn't going more than 5-10 mph. But it hit my new car. S***! At least I made it six weeks this time.

Pitt plays WVU this evening. I hope they don't get Pitsnoggled. But the boy can play ball. Since it's at Pitt, I think they'll win. But not by much.

Oh, by the way on the Super Bowl, did I say six? I meant 11.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Super Sunday

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl. The Steelers against the Seahawks (what the hell is a seahawk anyway, there ain't no such critter).

I am looking forward to the game. I think the Steelers will win by six. I'll have my doubts until Bill Cowher actually wins his last game in the post season.

In the meantime, I will keep thinking of all the great moments in Steelers history and hoping that tomorrow will add one more.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Grumpiness can be an art form

This post was originally written the evening of jan 31, 06 on a computer that didn't have access to the web. It took until today to get it here.

Kenny may be the most miserable SOB I've ever met. I love him.

There comes a point where being miserable becomes charming. While I recognize that part of it just shielding, there is a certain charm to someone whose best compliment to you is greeting you by saying "hey, trouble," or "hey you old fart" when he's at least a thirty years older than you are.

I think that this has hit me today because there have been a couple situations today where the idea of the curmudgeon has come up in casual conversation. I work in an office where one of the characters that is there is a worker who says he is doing time. He's looking forward to quitting. He mentions that on a regular basis, saying he only needs to finish paying off the truck so he can retire. He is old enough already, having both time and age to retire according to most of the rules that I'm used to, but is just too full of piss and vinegar to actually do because he wouldn't have as much to bellyache about.

Later, I was talking to someone else who asked me if a certain bartender in town was getting nastier. I mentioned that while she was never the nicest bartender in town, she didn't seem any grumpier than usual. Of course you notice that I didn't say that she wasn't grumpy, sarcastic, or inhospitable, I just said that I didn't notice any change in her general demeanor.

Of course she happened to be working tonight. I said hello and signed the book and she seemed to be in her usual mood. Should she be on the other side of the bar, even if she looked like Kathy Ireland (who is the best looking babe ever), I would probably not last past the "hi" stage because of the negative waves. She was civil and almost nice for the most part but I did notice more negative waves coming from her toward some patrons than others. I guess my general attitude of not worrying about stuff makes me easier to deal with, but I think that the observation may have been not incorrect.

Some of my favorite bartenders were grumpy, negative waves, types of folks. My favorite of all time is still Norm, who owned Chief's Cafe in Oakland when I went to PITT, who as I sat with an (underage) buddy of mine was the subject of an armed robbery. As the guy was waving around the gun, Norm spent the next five minutes bitching the guy out. He called him every name in the book and called him everything but a white guy, because he wasn't. About half way through the rant, where he told this guy waving a weapon, what he would do if he ever got the chance (and it wasn't bake cookies) he never broke rhythm telling the crook what he was as he told the missus to get the (expletive) money out of register but not all the change. After all, he'd need it because everybody was still drinking at the bar. The guy took the money and left.
After that, I looked at my buddy and said, "Stroke, do you realize we just witnessed an armed robbery?"
"No, you just witnessed an armed robbery. I'm not supposed to be here."
"Oh, yeah. We'll have to remember that."
We finished up our drinks, (we were getting ready to leave anyway), and I stopped up at the bar to talk to Norm. I asked him if there was a problem if we headed out as Red was calling the cops. He said that there wasn't as he knew the SOB and would get his money back in a few days.

I left "the Chief" a bigger tip than usual that night.

I went back to Chief's a few years after I got out of school. Red had gotten sick and Norm wasn't up to keeping it without her. They had taken the one wall, which had paintings on the wall and gotten rid of them. Back in the day they had served Schlitz beer (not Bull which was big at the time and was not a great tasting beer), now they served the usual beers that the college crowd drank. The steel workers that had made up a large percentage of the drinkers there, when I was going in there for that very reason, who kept Sinatra and Crosby and the Andrews Sisters on the juke box were gone. So were the songs.

My favorite bar as a college student had become a college bar. It was the worst moment of a nice trip back to school.

I've been friends with grumpy old men since I was working the American Legion Bingo as a 13 year old. I loved working with guys who had fought in WW1 who the guys that fought in WW2 would give crap to. "Old Parks there, he has heart trouble and dropsy," Steve (the boss) would say. "Once he drops into a seat, he ain't got to the heart to get up."

There is a big difference between being cranky and being negative. Thankfully I've learned that. It's unfortunately not a lesson learned by many of the political figures today.

I often describe myself as either an optimistic pessimist or as a pessimistic optimist. I'm pretty sure that’s because I've run into a lot of them over the years. And they were usually right. I hope I can be just as accurate.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Protecting Children

One of the stories that has been getting a lot of play over the past week from various sources is the story of Haliegh Poutre from Massachusetts. She was beaten almost to death by the adoptive mother and stepfather. The DSS of MA sought permission to remove the breathing tube from her and was granted that permission. The catch was that when they did, she kept breathing. Thank God for that.

A lot of the stories that I've seen about the case have been about how the DSS screwed up. They left her in the home. They didn't fully investigate. They didn't see the signs.


The stories that I've read have given me plenty of cause for concern but to this point I have yet to see one which says that DSS screwed up. Yes, I know that the child is in her present condition implies that they did, but that doesn't mean that they did.

I do this on a daily basis for a living. I know that I miss things. I also know that when I have cause for concern that I have to be able to prove it to a judge, who doesn't get to see the things that I do, that there is clear and convincing evidence for my actions. People don't understand that just because I can sense that a parent is a slimey, sucky, piece of crap doesn't mean I can prove it in court.

The libertarian in me wouldn't have it any other way. I do believe that some of the scariest words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." The more the state gets into the home, the less secure the home is. I can't believe that anybody doubts that.

The problem is where the (suddenly) interested third party gets into the act and sees with the benefit of hindisght what "should" have been done. I wholly wish that some of the pundits that "know better" would spend a week with me. They would be able to see the dangerous line that I have to walk between the rights of parents to their children (which is enshrined in laws through the ages) and the rights of kids to not get the snot beat out of them (which until recently didn't exist).

Of all the stories I've seen on the case of Haliegh, I've yet to see one that looks at what the worker in that case is going through. That worker, who took the job knowing that he or she would never be esteemed, and likely vilified, failed in the primary task of the profession. To protect the child. My prayers are with Haliegh. More are with the worker who has to deal with the fallout.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006



Words mean things.

When I was a teenager I was introduced to the writing of some of the great pulp writers of the thirties and forties. Writers of the stories of Conan, John Carter of Mars and King Kull of Atlantis.

One of the neat things about those writers was their way with words. They used words in a way that may or (Probably) not be suffered, much less condoned today in these politically correct times. The problem with that is that the language has lost some many colorful terms that still apply today.

It wasn't unusual for Conan to call someone a son of a cur, which I learned when I went to a dictionary meant a female dog of less then reputable lineage, aka bitch, or for him to call a son of an unmarried mother a bastard. A barbarian from the steppes of Cimmeria used more flowerful language than many of today's politicians do because it fit.

It annoys me that some of the phrases that wove through the language of the pulps are now so "offensive" that they can't be used anymore. As I was walking home from the bar this evening, I happened to look at a car on the square. Inside was a young woman of significant mammary proportions. I thought to myself, "That is a buxom wench." As I walked away enjoying the mental image of a female of ample proportions, I started to think about how those words, which may have once been a compliment could now get me sued for sexual harassment. It just doesn't seem fair.

The Miss America contest was this past weekend. In it were 50+ young women, all strutting their stuff, in hopes of a year of fame and lots of money. But should I happen to see them outside of that venue and comment about the Buxomness of them, it would be wrong.

No, not wrong, improper. It would be right in that the young woman would likely be buxom. And wearing a swimsuit with a push-up bra to accent the fact.

While wench has some connotations to it that may or may not be significant, BUXOM does not. I think that I am going to have to use it more often in polite society, if only to annoy those it may offend. Then I can tell them that it is only a word and in the PC world we live in that we may be able to parse the meaning of "is" but Buxom means what it does.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


A McGee mood

I am in a Travis McGee mood.

When I was younger, I was introduced to the writing of an author that would most likely shape my view of the world for the rest of my life. Unlike others who found Kafka, Freud, Sartre, or others of that ilk, I found a better and more prolific author.

In a tent in the mountains of Virginia while working at a wilderness school for delinquent and dependent teens, I was looking for something to pass the time. I found a book called something along the the lines of "Shades of Travis McGee." I began to read the first story in the volume.

The story was about a guy from Florida who spent his time getting things back for people who had them taken by less than scrupulous means. It was a way to pass the time in the woods of VA.

I was hooked.

The thing that hooked me was that Travis would do what was right, no matter how untasteful, even when he didn't want to do it. He tried as best as he could to do it within his code of conduct, which was often just to do what was less harmful to the innocent, as he went outside the words of the law to do what he needed to.

The catch was that by doing this he would often tarnish the shining armour that he always pictured himself in. And he knew this. He often commented on Don Quixote and his dented, tarnished armour tilting at windmills.

Tonight, I sit here, listening to much of the internal dialog that I read in those books many years ago (and on several occasions since). I tell myself about how I do my damnedest to make the world abetter place becuase it can be one. I tell myself that the work that I do is making that happen. I say that if I can just make a difference here or ther, it will change the cosmic balance enough to shift it from Chaos to Order.

And I know I'm full of it.

I think that it is this knowledge that drives a lot of people out this job. They get discouraged about it and say the heck with it. That isn't hard to do when you can make a lot more money with a lot less headaches in a lot of other fields. In this one the hours are often long-and at odd ones- and hard hours. The pay isn't great by any stretch of the imagination. Heck, I'm supposed to be the smartest one in the family and making less than any one else. I still tell young interns to become engineers while they still have the chance.

McGee said he did it because the people that need it don't know how to do it. He was right. I doubt that I will ever get rich at this job. That's why at present I have at least two other part-time gigs going- so I can pick up occasional cash.

But the people I serve need somebody like me to do the work. Just like's McGee's clients. I won't retrieve thousands of dollars in gems or antique statues or a Florida hotel, but I may be able to retrieve something else.

A Life. Hope. Respect. A childhood. A future.

Having the hope that I can pull that off is enough to get my lazy ass out of bed tomorrow and put on my rusty, dented armour and see what windmills there are to tilt at.

C'mon, Sancho, there be dragons out there. And Dolcinea awaits us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The Child Molester Control Act

I found a story the other day about PA state senator Bob Regola wanting to introduce an act regarding prevention of child molesters repeating the offence.

The Plan? Chemical castration.

I guess that I should appreciate that at least he is thinking of the situation but I think that he is missing the boat on this one. Many of the crimes committed on children that are sexual in nature aren't really about the sex. They are about the thinking of the perp and about control or power. The need for chemical castration in these cases is minimal; what's needed is the elimination of the thinking patterns more so than the elimination of testicles.

There is already a similar bill to Regola's introduced in the State House. HB 1608, known as the Child Molester Control Act, also calls for chemical castration of offenders but it has a more important part in it. It calls for mandatory sentences of offenders whose victims are under 13 years old. The minimum is for 15 years if the offense is the first one and 30 years if there has been a previous conviction. The court can impose a life without parole sentence on the offender as well. The perpetrator would never have the opportunity to get close enough to child again to molest.

THAT is Child Molester Control.

The problem I have with the bills as they are being presented are twofold. The first is that there is no clinical proof that it would actually work. As I mentioned above the mainpart of the molester's behavior is not necessarily controlled below the belt line. It would be more effective to remove the hands or the tongue than the testicles since that is what the molester uses to get to the child. The otherissue is that it doesn't address the issue of female offenders. I know that they are not as numerous as male offenders but that doesn't change the fact that there are female offenders out there. Until that is addressed as well, the bill may be unconstitutional as it treats inmates differently based only on the sex of the offender. That may cause problems with the bill as well.

I guess we will have to see what happens with the bills over the course of the legislative session. After all, HB 1608 has been sitting in committee since June 2005 and there hasn't been any movement. I guess they were too busy giving themselves a pay raise and then giving it baack to look at other bills.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Swann for govenor

Lynn Swann, of Steeler fame is announcing today that he wants to be the next govenor of PA. This will be an interesting run, even if it isn't after a great catch. He hasn't gone on record with many of his positions, but implies that he would be pretty conservative. It will be nice to see the Former Steeler take on the crooked Eagles fan Rendell, but I'm not real sure if he will be able to get the nomination, as Bill Scranton already has his political machine working. PA politics seems to be getting more and more fun.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Drew Barrymore

I'm not sure why but for some reason I was dreaming about Drew Barrymore last night. I don't really remember the dream but I do know that when I woke up this AM, she was on my mind.

I'm not a big fan of Drew; I'm not all that sure that she can act worth anything. I liked the way she went crazy on Letterman the one time and I think that she's supposed to have an interesting tattoo in an interesting place. I can't even think of a movie of hers that I've watched in the last couple of years. I mean I even blew off Charlie's Angels and the sequel. And if I had watched those it would have been for Lucy Liu or Cameron Diaz (or even Demi Moore). So I'm not sure what brought this particular episode on.

Even so, now that I'm thinking about it, I may have to check out a flick or two with her in it. Just to find out what my subconscious is trying to tell me.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Happy New Year

I didn't realize how long I had gone without putting anything on here. As such, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to be more consistent with getting thoughts down here. As for my other resolutions, I'm not going to put them out in public at this time because that way I don't have to admit if I don't follow through on them.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Random Shots

The Steelers lost today. They played lousy and deserved to. It still pisses me off.

I'm betting on Texas in the Rose Bowl. I think that USC is the most ready for a beating team to be ranked number 1 in a long time.

I need to get back in the habit of writing on this more often. I like having a place to drop notes, but its harder when I don't spend most of my day at school like it did last year.

Friday, November 25, 2005


A blog is a wonderful thing...

because it gives you the chance to put out there what you want put out there.

It gives you the chance to look like a genius. Or an idiot.

It allows you to show how deep you can think. Or how shallow.

It also gives the chance for the world to see how much you have to say. Or how little.

I didn't realize how little I wanted to say over the last many days. I had lots of opinions, just not that many I thought to go out over the e-waves with. Part of that is because I haven't really cared to. Part of it because I sat here in front of the screen and couldn't think of what to go on about for 100 words or so.

The business has heated up lately at work, so I'm sure that I'm going to have plenty of thoughts coming up. Some of them aren't fit for public consumption. Some of them are barely fit to recognize and move on.

Maybe I'll get better at sharing. Maybe not.

As I write this the smoooooth sounds of a Buffett song waft through the air around me. I've been listening to his music more lately. Maybe, just maybe that's taking some of the edge off the world. Maybe I need to be listening to the news more. That would put the edge back on.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


redefining things

Over the past week I have had the opportunity to see how the law and reality don't mix.
I had a case where a six month old child had a bruise on his ass the size and shape of a hand. I had a case where a kid so didn't want to go to see his old man that he banged his head on the wall and threatened to kill either the old man or him self. I also get to deal with a scoutmaster asking a kid if he would be interested in providing or receiving oral sex.

The law in PA states that abuse is an act that causes nonaccidental injury. Recent legal decisions have eviscerated that definition so that a mother who swings a belt at her kid, trying to hit the child in the butt but connecting with the eye instead, can say that it was an accidental injury because she didn't mean to pole the child's eye out.

That's bullshit.

I think that there needs to be a movement to remove "legalese" and replace it with common sense terms in law. A nonaccidental injury doesn't mean that you meant to cause a different injury, it means you acted in such a way that a purposeful act caused injury.

And don't get me started on that "I didn't mean to hit the kid-I just did" crap. It takes intention for a person to swing an arm hard enough to give a kid a black eye.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005



Last night as I was walking home from the game, I noticed somebody had left something out on the stoop. This is a person that I'm not particularly fond of, although we generally get along pretty well. As I'm walking by it, I thought it would be a nice trick to move it. Not far, but far enough to cause trouble. I've done this kind of thing before, playing practical jokes that are mostly harmless isn't outside of my code of conduct.

Then I started to think. I wasn't thinking of doing this out of purely fun reasons, I also thought of how it would tick off and inconvenience the person. That turned it from a practical joke to a dirty trick. And dirty tricks are not within the code of conduct.

I usually scoff at people who look at motives as compelling causes to either forgive or condemn behavior. That's part of the reason I think bias crime laws are wrong. You committed a crime it doesn't matter if it was because of bias, it was wrong to do. I usually believe that it doesn't matter why you did it, you did it. In this case I made an exception to the rule.

I left it where it was.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I can accept that

One of the interesting paradoxes in the world is that how the more you want something, the less effort it sometimes takes to get. Other times when you give up on something, what you get instead is even better. Accepting the way things are rather than the way you want them to be makes life a lot easier and enjoyable. I mean why waste time wishing that you had two scoops of ice cream when you could be eating the scoop you have.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Supernatural business

It's Halloween weekend here, which means that there are lots of people out looking for ghosts. Last night there were a lot anyway. I had a tour last night that broke the company record for most people to show up for a tour (not counting groups). Because of the expected number of people we brought in a second walker, but we could realistically used another one or two. The group itself was a blast which was mildly surprising since when groups get that big they become unwieldly and lots of the time aren't as much fun. This one worked out okay though.

Also had a second walk last night at midnite. Not nearly as popular, but another good walk.

It's great to be able to have a job where your primary goal is to have people look at and listen to you and get your own attention needs met. It's good to get them met every now and then.

Now I guess we'll see how tonight goes.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Red Lights

I would think that everybody knows that a red light means to stop. I would think that before a person can get a driver's license that he would know that.

Then why did that asswipe just almost run me over?

I can deal with people going through a light that was yellow (or officially "amber") as they were going through the intersection when the light turned. For someone to go through the light after it has already completely turned red means that they are either an idiot or an inconsiderate asshole.

I don't mind assholes. Inconsiderate ones bug me. That means that you have to go out of your way to be a jerk. I hope that this guy gets all the things that he so truly higher insurance rates and somebody nailing his stupid ass someday. Hopefully it will be because that person did the same to him that he did to me. Run the red, buddy and nail that sucker right in the door.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Not serving the fans

Last night was the longest World Series Game in history. I didn't see the end. It was after midnight and I couldn't a) stay awake any longer or b)not be able to wake up this AM. I understand that MLB doesn't want to have its biggest games of the year on TV at 300 in the afternoon eastern time. But this part about not starting a game until almost 900 PM is getting more and more ridiculous. It assures that over one half of the population of this country is going to either have to miss the end or suffer the next day. I think (I know) it is a lot easier for someone on the West Coast to sneak out a few minutes early to see the game than it is for the entire eastern half of the country to call in late because they couldn't get up.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Drunk Driving Nutsiness

The other day my sister sent me an e-mail about the DUI laws in DC. It appears that you can get popped for a DUI in the District with as low as a .02 BAC. Now when you consider that most people don't notice any effects of alcohol intoxication until .05 and not any serious effects until .10 (which thanks to mommy government is now above the legal limit in all the states) this strikes me as silly.
I could have two shots of Nyquill and meet this limit depending on the timing.

The good news is that this has begun to reach the national media. Hopefully it will begin to alert those out there that don't otherwise pay attention to these types of things of the way the abolishonists have wormed their way into the body politic.

when PA drooped the level for a DUI to .08, they had the little sense needed to say that there are levels of DUI. IF you are just past the level and not significantly drunk, you're not as bad as the asswipe who is getting pulled over because he's weaving over the road and has a BAC of .20. Knowing my size and the amount of ETOH I can put into it, I know that's a drunk driver. Some poor wretch who gets pulled over because she had her daytime running lights on instead of her headlights on and getting popped is stupid.

MADD has gone from being a legitimate, worthy organization, to one that has become a prohibitionist one. Alcohol is not a bad thing. Being out of control (whether through booze or other reasons) is.

No wonder that people are beginning to talk about joining DAMM. Drinkers against mad mothers.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Smurf this

There is a new cartoon out featuring the Smurfs, those cute little blue annoyances. In it the smurfs are out smurfing and dancing when suddenly there are bombers over head. The bombers begin to drop ordinance on Smurftown. There are pictures of Smurfs running for cover, getting blown up, walking around missing Smurf parts and ends with a picture of a baby Smurf crying amidst the severed bodies of other Smurfs. The tag line, from UNICEF, is not to let war touch the children.

One the one hand the idea of dropping massive amounts of bombs on a village of innocent Smurfs is disturbing. The picture isn't a pretty one.

On the other hand, I find the Smurfs to be excessively annoying. I also have concerns that there seem to be so many of them but only one is female. I mean these fellows have to be doing something to be making baby Smurfs and if it is by the usual means, the Smurfette is a slut who spends most of her time pregnant. Watching the commercial I thought to myself that destroying these blue-skinned, too happy, smurfing annoyances wouldn't be a bad idea.

I haven't decided if I like this commercial or not.

Monday, October 10, 2005


The weather begins to must be fall

The weather has begun to get colder so I'm thinking that fall is actually about the corner. That's a good thing. I enjoy the change of the seasons. It's interesting to watch the world turn from the life of summer to the sleep of winter and fall seems to be the drowsiness in between.

Another nice point in this turn of the season is that it means that the tourists will begin to come back to town. October seems to be a generallly good month for walks, maybe Halloween has something to do with it. I hope that this month will not break the pattern bhecause I can use the extra income.

Changes in the weather. Changes at work. Life continues to move. I still like the saying that life is what happens when you're planning on something else.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Panther note

After having dissed them so much last week, it was good to see the Pitt football team win this week against the Cincy Bearcats. Granted Cincy doesn't have a great team, but the first step in becoming a good football team is to beat the teams that you're supposed to beat.

Saturday, October 01, 2005



Last night, I went down to the local watering hole to watch what I thought would be a good football game on TV. Pitt was playing Rutgers. The Big East opener for both teams. Two teams that should have matched up pretty well.

Boy was I wrong.

Pitt played perhaps the worst football game in the history of mankind last night. They couldn't block. They couldn't tackle. They couldn't run (Negative rushing yards for the game I think). They couldn't pass. They couldn't catch.

They sucked. (I kept waiting for Jim Mora to come on the screen going into that famous rant of his. (What can I say, we sucked. Five more minutes of stating which part of the team sucked including the cheerleaders.))

Even when Rutgers did their damnedest to help Pitt get back in the game, the panthers wouldn't let them. Pitt scores! Rutgers runs the return thirty yards back, then scores the next play.

If this keeps up I'm going to have to stop wearing my Pitt hat because it's embarrassing. In fact, I'm not wearing it today. I'm wearing my Pirates hat. At least they show up for the games.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Intelligent Design & the 1st Amendment

The 1st amendment to the constitution states that the government shall not establish a religion. That means forcing everybody to support that religion and/or practice it using the force of the state to make it happen. The old canard about a wall of separation between church and state is a wall that is supposed to protect religion from the government, not the other way around. The government has all the armies, not the church.

In Harrisburg, the news is focusing on the Dover School Boards decision to present Intelligent Design as part of the 9th grade biology lesson on evolution. The teacher is to read a statement of about 100 words that states, basically, "There are holes in the theory of evolution. Some people say that they are there naturally or that we just haven't found the things in between. Other people say that the jumps are the work of a designer."

There is no religion in that statement. There is the opportunity for students to find out more about it. (As if many 9th graders are going to want to sit through a slog of reading Of People and Pandas.) There is no statement that the children must believe that there is a creator. There is not even a mention of who this creator may be. For all that is in the statement, the designer could be Ralph Lauren.

Where is the entanglement of state and church? Even if, as alleged, the partiers behind the decision are motivated by Faith there is no coercion involved in this case further than the coercion of the kid having to be enrolled in school. If we want a reading of the first amendment big enough to make this 30-60 second statement the establishment of a religion, then the free association clause should be broad enough that mandatory school laws can be struck down because the students sure don't want to be forced to associate with the teachers. Of course, maybe that would be a good thing since it would finally break the government monopoly of the schools and parents would have better options to send their children to and could eliminate all the taxes that go to line the pockets of the teachers unions.


Selective Editing?

One of the news stories in the sports section over the past couple of days has been the report about Derek Jeter of the Yankees getting hate mail. The reports state that Jeter has gotten hate mail, including threats of physical violence and getting set on fire unless he stops dating white women. Having read this story in different papers on on different web sites I was struck by the paragraph that got left out in about half the stories.

The paragraph that gets left out is the one that also describes some more of what the letters say. The letters include that Jeter is a traitor to his race for what he is doing.

Think about that. A traitor to his race.

When you place this paragraph in the story it changes the context. When it says Jeter is getting threats for dating white women, the average person probably thinks that some redneck klanster is getting pissed off about this uppity black guy screwing white women. After all, according to the popular culture it is only white guys that can be racist. But with the additional paragraph about Jeter being a traitor to his race, it takes on a different perspective. This implies a black person is pissed at Jeter for dating outside the correct group. It changes the entire tenor of the story.

Maybe it's just me, but I think that particular fact is an important part of the story and shouldn't be edited out to save an inch of column. There were some other things in the story that could have been cut that weren't related to Jeter, such as a high school in Ohio getting simlar letters or some of the others that have received similar letters in the past or that the letters seem to be coming from the northwest PA and northeast OH areas.

I wonder why they left out the part that they did.

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