Friday, December 26, 2008

Changes for 2009

Well, since 2008 was one of the worst years EVER, I've decided to start making a few changes now. Like our new President, I will not wait to get the ball rolling in January. Instead, I will form my cabinet now.

First change I make; I have suspended my Eve Online account effective immediately, this after playing nearly every day for the past
three years. Still a great game, but I have accomplished my in-game goals (carrier pilot) and now want a 2-3 month break.

However, this not will add a lot of extra time to my week overall - Brandon got
Guitar Hero for Christmas.

Secondly, I will be posting more satirical pieces to this blog. I've gotten ideas, but haven't made the time to execute. I'm going to make a real effort to bring guilty pleasure to people at other people's expense throughout the New Year. All my usual targets will not be spared, and I'm sure there will be other targets suitable for framing as time goes by.

Finally, I've decided I need a real hobby. I've always had an interest in magic, and now that Brandon has decided magic is cool as well, we can learn it together. I got my first card magic book for Christmas, called Jack Parker's 52 Memories by Andi Gladwin, and Brandon got a lot of magic tricks too. The more things we can do together the better.

And finally; I'm going to lose 62 pounds. And stop global warning.

Best wishes to all for the year ahead.

Kamir Chi

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Keith!

A Stimulus Plan You Can Believe In? Obama sets spending tone

Republicans are wary of some of the proposals put forward by groups that are talking to Obama's transition team. They cite a report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors listing myriad projects cast as vehicles to create jobs and boost the economy. Those include a dog park in Hercules, Calif.; a bike path in San Diego; and a $1.5-million push to curb prostitution in Dayton, Ohio.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

The Novel (part 3)

I am writing a novel at the moment, and I periodically report on my progress in this blog. Feel free to email (don't add comments here please) at to offer criticisms, suggestions, or death threats.

It's been a long time since I've updated; so I'll add here what little I've done lately to move the project forward. First, let's cover immediately that my idea of working on The Novel between 4:30-6:30 a.m., was dropped faster than a pregnant cheerleader. Kinda like when I was in college, and I had the idea of an 8:00 a.m. swimming class. My brain simply refuses to work without daylight, except for controlling the most rudimentary body functions, like swallowing beer. However; the house during the day is an absolute riot of noise. Two small dogs, a cockatiel, and blaring Spanish network rip offs of Judge Judy and Jerry Springer make it difficult to even hear the phone ringing. Add a nine year old boy and Eve Online - and you can see we aren't talking Hemingway's hillside cottage in Jamaica. But no more excuses; its time to make the doughnuts.

I've been working on character development. In parts 1 and 2 of these posts, I wrote about the themes I wanted to incorporate. I've set those aside now, and have begun to develop central characters. I'm going to share two secrets. I think I was shown these tricks while still in high school, but damned if I can remember by whom. Otherwise I would gladly give them credit. Here is the first one;

create your characters outside the novel.

By that I mean; begin writing about the people now. Before creating settings, before plot points, before writing key scenes that propel the story forward - make sure you know your characters intimately first. You have to know not only what they look like, but what they've done in the past (back story), and how they think, so they can be "shaped" by their actions in the novel. Character notes are essential.

This second secret may seem a little bizzare, but I swear by it. One problem with many novelists is that they write with one voice only. Characters seem to think and act in the same fashion as the author, no matter the situation. This is easy to understand; as most people don't have the ability to suspend their normal thought processes for entirely new ones. However; this tip gives the writer the opportunity see through a new pair of glasses. The second secret is;

there are eleven astrological signs to choose from for your characters.

Huh? Okay, bear with me. Forget about the merits of Astrology. I am not a believer, but I use the descriptions of astrological signs as "character DNA". By assigning characters signs, I can shortcut personality traits and other info as I prepare them for the story. This will help me understand their behavior later, and hopefully make their behavior different from my own would be.

By the way; the reason I said there are eleven signs to choose from, is that I never assign my own sign to a character. I figure the reader gets enough of me already.

The rest of this post are character notes (so far) for "Campas" and "Sinclair", two of five central characters in the novel. Nothing written here will make its way into the story. This is simply a way for me to create different voices, and create characters from those voices. No doubt, once the novel's action begins, the characters' arc will radically change . You'll notice I've taken a few themes from parts 1 and 2 of these posts and given them to carry during this "birthing" process.

Campas - casting: a Spanish "Penelope" Cruz type between 28 and 32.

The de facto leader of the rebellion. Her boyfriend was the face of the rebellion, but was killed by Nifiheim (the rebellion name for government forces) before the novel begins. Nifiheim is from ancient Norse mythology; it is the land of mist and the dead.

In the future, one man (or woman) can declare war on the world and win.

Campas hides her apprehensiveness about herself and the people around her under a cloak of quiet reserve. She is emotionally distant, shrinks from committing herself to even the most casual friendship, and is careful to keep relationships superficial.

She hides outward displays of feelings because she doesn't trust others, nor does she have confidence in herself and her judgment.

Campas has an excellent eye for detail, which she demonstrates in the novel, but is sometimes so meticulous she fails to see the larger issues. She may slow down projects by being too exact.

Revolutionaires can successfully wage strategic war on nation-states. But if they want the things revolutionaries have always wanted—regional autonomy, a greater share of the economic pie, dominion over ethnic or sectarian rivals, an end to foreign occupation, social revolution, national control—that's a different story.

Campas is a perfectionist, and when things go wrong, she becomes easily discouraged.

Because of her ability to see every angle of a many-sided question, she is unhappy with abstract theorizing.

Her critics (of which she has none in the rebellion, but plenty in government) view her more as a subordinate than a true leader, and the reader will see that side too. She often lacks the strategic vision that a leader needs.

She finds philosophical concepts difficult, and she vacillates and has little confidence in any philosophical conclusions at which she arrives.

She has a deep interest in history, which will greatly help in the back story throughout the novel (for example; why everyone in the four "nation-states" are of Latin descent).

Her view is that her life and the rebellion are both steep hills she may never be able to climb. But by employing a lighter touch, using her finely tuned analytical reasoning, and ability to recognize lucky breaks, she "wins" all around.

No matter what our achievements might be, we think well of ourselves only in rare moments. We need people to bear witness against our inner judge, who keeps book on our shortcoming and transgressions. We need people to convince us that we are not as bad as we think we are.

We need not only a purpose in life to give meaning to our existence but also to give meaning to our suffering. we need as much something to suffer for as something to live for.

Campas is the most emotionally complex woman in the story but not the only woman. I'm stealing an idea from director Robert Altman here. In The Player, there are two female characters; one you are dying to see naked, and the other you couldn't care either way. A breathtaking beautiful "ice princess" artist, and a "plain jane" studio head's assistant. To maintain suspense throughout the story, Altman never let's you see what you really want to see. Which is, of course, the ice princess getting nailed to the wall. But you do get to see the assistant chattering away, topless in a jacuzzi. Similarly, Campas' relationships are never fulfilled, but the other girl is naked throughout (both literally and emotionally). The reader will expect Campas to find someone to replace her boyfriend, but she never does.

Sinclair - casting: a Spanish "five o'clock shadow" type between 28 and 32.

Even when Sinclair appears self-controlled and calm there is a seething intensity of emotional energy under the placid exterior. Those who are particularly perceptive will be aware of his harnessed aggression, the immense forcefulness, and magnetic intensity. In conventional social gatherings he is pleasant to be with, thoughtful in conversation, dignified, and reserved, yet affable and courteous.

In his everyday behavior he gives the appearance of being withdrawn from the center of activity, yet some who know him will recognize the watchfulness that is part of his character. Sinclair needs great self-discipline, because he is able to recognize the qualities in himself that make him different, and knows his utterly conventional nature can be used for great good, or great evil.

His tenacity and willpower are immense, his depth of character and passionate conviction overwhelming, yet he remains deeply sensitive and easily moved by his emotions.

He can harness his abundant energy constructively, tempering his self-confidence with shrewdness and his ambition with magnanimity toward others provided he likes them. He relates to fellow workers only as leaders and can be blunt to those they dislike to the point of cruelty.

Sinclair is rebellious, and politically extreme to the point where hatred of the Establishment could make him him an utterly unscrupulous terrorist.

What The GOP Needs To Do

Byron York recently published a piece on the National Review web site that deserves careful consideration. As you may know, the Republican Governors Association met in Miami. Here is York's assessment of that meeting; "after the GOP’s loss of the White House, the House, and the Senate, power in the party has now settled firmly among the nation’s 23 Republican governors. If you’re a Republican member of Congress, how much can you really get done? If you’re the Republican president, how many days do you have left? But if you’re a Republican governor — well, you're where the action is."

Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, said at that meeting Americans want “the kind of leadership that you see displayed by Republican governors — not necessarily what you see in Washington, D.C.”

The governors’ offices around the country are where political leadership will be discovered and tested, and where future national candidates will sharpen their governing skills. Republicans need to focus on 2009 and 2010, not the national election in 2012. There are 36 races in 2010, including Florida. Sarah Palin understands this, I hope. “Let the pundits go on with their idle talk about the next election, about what happens in 2012,” she said at the conference. “Our concern should be about our state’s next great reform, our next budget, our next opportunity to progress in the states that we serve, and on issues like taxes and energy and health care, immigration, education, we will not lack for opportunities to serve and to lead and to show the way.”

By the way, seventy six percent of Republicans in a recent Gallup poll say they’d like to see Governor Palin become “a major national political figure for many years to come”).
In my opinion, Palin is going to be very important in shaping the new GOP. And so is Rudy Giuliani, who many of you remember was my choice for President in this past election. He is likely to run for Governor of New York.

However, both Palin and Giuliani need to refrain from mistakes, and make careful contributions to reworking the party. And of course, they need to be excellent Governors. I wouldn't mind a Giuliani/Palin ticket in 2012. But its possible during this period of transition, even more viable candidates will surface. I'm looking forward to the next few years.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Biggest Installation of Silent Urban-Styled Wind Turbines

Wind may be picking up faster than any other energy source, but harnessing its power is largely left to remote wind farms that not everyone is crazy about. Keen to see the wind change in the way wind power is perceived on the street, Quietrevolution (QR) has done a makeover on the design of wind turbines.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Camille Paglia: I still like Sarah Palin.

Camille Paglia is the University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. And, in my opinion, the most brilliant woman out there.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Agenda disappears from Obama Web site

Over the weekend President-elect Barack Hussein Obama scrubbed, his transition Web site, deleting most of what had been a massive agenda copied directly from his campaign Web site. “We are currently retooling the Web site,” said Obama spokesman Nick Shapiro.

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Quotes of Note

You never see these anywhere, but they are worth remembering.

Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, "Lillian, you should have remained a virgin."
-- Lillian Carter
(mother of Jimmy)

I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: 'No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.'
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
-- Socrates

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury
-- Groucho Marx

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.
-- Alex Levine

I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.
-- Bob Hope

I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.
-- W.C. Fields

Don't worry about avoiding temptation as you grow older, it will avoid you.
-- Winston Churchill

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Outrage over GPS tracking 'chastity belt'

Feminists around the world have reacted with horror to a new line of lingerie that comes equipped with a GPS tracking system.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cult of Personality

Cult of Personality
by Living Colour
(written by V. Reid, C. Glover,
W. Calhoun, M. Skillings)

Look into my eyes, what do you see?
Cult of Personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I've been everything you want to be
I'm the Cult of Personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I'm the Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality

Neon lights, A Nobel Price
The mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You don't have to follow me
Only you can set me free

I sell the things you need to be
I'm the smiling face on your T.V.
I'm the Cult of Personality
I exploit you still you love me

I tell you one and one makes three
I'm the Cult of Personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
I'm the Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality

Neon lights a Nobel Prize
A leader speaks, that leader dies
You don't have to follow me
Only you can set you free

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You me power in your God's name
I'm every person you need to be
I'm the Cult of Personality

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Farrakhan on Obama: 'The Messiah is absolutely speaking'

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, another powerful Chicago-based political figure associated with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and other long-time associates of Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama, is leaving no doubt about what he thinks of the leader in the campaign for the White House.He says when Obama talks "the Messiah is absolutely speaking."

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

German Bank Slammed for Mistakenly Wiring Lehman Millions

Berlin demanded an inquiry Wednesday into why a German government bank transferred 300 million euros ($427 million) to Lehman Brothers just hours before the US bank collapsed amid continuing turmoil on Wall Street.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Redskin Owner to Move Coaster to Backyard

Washington Redskins owner and Six Flags chairman Daniel M. Snyder will be moving an unused roller coaster from Six Flags America to his Potomac Maryland residence at the end of Six Flags' season. The dormant coaster, named Two-Face, has been gathering bat droppings and closed due to a history of serious accidents. Snyder's neighbors are livid over this development, citing the unsightly coaster's move is retaliation for their protests against the billionaire's home landscaping projects.

The diminutive businessman has been deemed "the devil" by many of his wealthy Potomac neighbors since Snyder hired workers to take chain saws to several acres of park protected woodlands, to give him a panoramic view of the river from the $10 million home he purchased from Queen Noor (the widow of Jordan's King Hussein). "In the otherwise unbroken ribbon of forest separating his and other handsome estates from the old C&O Canal, there is suddenly a yawning gap.", wrote Washington Post reporter Matthew Mosk at the time. The National Park Service, which has long had a reputation for zealously enforcing scenic easements that protect the woods along riverbanks, instead offered a sympathetic reaction to Snyder's landscaping. A spokesman in Washington first said that Snyder cut the trees "by mistake" and that he failed to notify the agency.

Then, the Park Service suddenly announced they had approved the logging plan all along, claiming Snyder's case was unusual because his lot has been invaded by non-native flora species, and the agreement called for Snyder to replant the hillside with native (and presumably shorter) ones. C&O Canal Park Superintendent Kevin D. Brandt said he recognizes that the gash in the forest left by the clear-cut is unsightly. But he said, "We looked at the arrangement with a long view. A decade from now, the site will be markedly improved. We think this was in the long-term best interest of the national park." It is unclear if Mr. Brandt is now a Redskins season ticket holder.

Neighbors are enraged. According to long-time Potomac resident who wishes to remain anonymous, "Snyder thinks he is above the law, and he loves to stick it to his neighbors. But hey, many of us have the same money he does, and he will always be shorter."

This was not Six Flags original plan for the coaster. Theme park officials admit they have been actively trying to unload the coaster to another park, with little results. According to sources inside the Redskins organization, Snyder was considering giving the ride a burgundy and gold facelift, renaming it Hog Wild, and moving to a parking lot at FedEx Field for fans to enjoy (at a price). Insurance liabilities and ride weight restrictions (typical tail-gators are on the heavy side) however, made that idea unworkable.

The Two-Face "inverted boomerang" coaster, built by Netherlands company Vekoma, has a long history of accidents. In July 2003, a safety sensor detected a problem and stopped the trains in midair. About 25 passengers were stuck on the coaster for over two hours while engineers manually brought the trains safely back into the station. In September 2007, the coaster stalled 100 feet in midair for about 30 minutes with 28 passengers on board. One rider did suffer trouble breathing, but no injuries were reported. In October 2007, riders were in the air for almost two hours. Then, the train rolled back to the platform and slammed to a stop. Over a dozen people complained of neck and back pain, and many were
sprayed with hydraulic fluid. Finally, in late October 2007, Six Flags employee Shadell "Funnel Cake" Washington reported the condom she and her boyfriend were using behind the ride, had in fact, broken.

Gore urges civil disobedience to stop coal plants

Nobel Peace Prize idiot and environmental waco Al Gore urged young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants without the ability to store carbon.

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PETA urges Ben and Jerry's to use human milk

Honey, why does my Chunky Monkey taste different?

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

City uses DNA to fight dog poop

By Avida Landau PETAH TIKVA, Israel (Reuters) - An Israeli city is using DNA analysis of dog droppings to reward and punish pet owners. Under a six-month trial programme launched this week, the city of Petah Tikva, a suburb of Tel Aviv, is asking...

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jamaica Needs to Capitalize

Like many small nations, Jamaica suffers from a distorted view of itself. The government, representing a population of just over three million, struggles to find its place on the world stage. And remarkably, this island-nation consistently churns out the best sprinters in the world. Jamaica has squandered countless opportunities to re-brand itself. Will it once again ignore the immense value of its athletes? In my opinion, the most important politician in Jamaica is not the Prime Minister, but the Minister of Youth, Sport & Culture. And to that end; if Bruce Golding wants the Jamaica Labour Party to continue its previous election successes, he should assume the responsibilities of that cabinet position as well; sending a clear message to the world and its people, Jamaica's true strength lies in its youth, its sports, and its culture.

Right now Jamaica is in a state of euphoria and national pride over the eleven Olympic medals won in Beijing. How long will this euphoria last? If I had my way, it would last forever. Golding has an opportunity to step in and re-prioritize his administration's goals right now. The Minister of Youth, Sport, & Culture is a crucial appointment, and Golding would do well to re-commit himself to it.

Here are a few of Jamaica's failures to capitalize on the global attention its athletes receive. In 1998, Jamaica captured the world's attention at the Winter Olympics in Calgary with the debut of its bobsled team. Two Americans, George B. Fitch and William Maloney, came up with the idea after realizing pushcart races in Jamaica were similar to bobsledding. They decided to use sprinters since bobsledding requires a fast start, but got absolutely no help from the government in securing top sprinters. When the team returned to the Olympics in 1992, they stunned their critics by finishing in 14th place, ahead of the United States, Russia, France, and Italy. The two man team finished in 10th place, ahead of Sweden. The Jamaican government did nothing to support these athletes, despite huge international interest. Millions of dollars in free publicity to the country and its tourism-centered economy, were completely wasted. For Christ's sake; Disney made a movie about them! And yet you couldn't (and still can't) buy a Jamaican Bobsled Team T-shirt! The government's public relations / marketing machine focuses strictly on tourism, with little effort going to promoting national pride and positive role models for the nation's youth.

Here's another one; Jamaica's national soccer team, the Reggae Boys. In my opinion, they are the most under-utilized natural resource the country has. The government does little to support the team. Yet they inspire every kid on the island to practice hard and stay clean. Want to control crime? Control the youth. A strong national focus in a public relations / marketing push is the answer. There is nothing wrong with Pride Of Country.

The blame for these failures, has to fall on the office of the Minister of Youth, Sport, & Culture.

The opposition party should well understand the importance of that cabinet position. The People's National Party, under Prime Minister P.J. Paterson, sat Portia Simpson-Miller in the post. This was, in my opinion, a move to sideline her rapidly ascending political career; putting her in a "no win" situation, and moving her out of the action. It didn't work. Simpson-Miller took the ball and ran with it. The PNP's Old Guard could not derail her popularity and natural charisma. While living in Jamaica, I had a very brief meeting with her to present my plan to create an all-Jamaican pro wrestling promotion. It was a wild idea; but she immediately understood the national pride and entertainment value to the country, and the value of creating full-time jobs for many athletes (unlike many investors I met with). Her successes and hard work in her cabinet post could not be ignored. She became the PNP's nominee, and then Jamaica's first female Prime Minister.

To Minister Golding and the JLP; move this cabinet position into the Prime Minister's portfolio. As many may remember; P.J. Paterson added the Minister of Finance duties to his own. Here is Goldman's chance to publicly acknowledge the importance of national pride and positive role-models for the country.

In this post, I am only dealing with Jamaica's athletic achievements. Jamaica's has made great contributions to music internationally; in many different styles (reggae, ska, dancehall, etc.). But, one has to wonder if the government can't do more to preserve and promote Jamaica's unique music culture.

Regardless; I want to add my congratulations to Jamaica's Olympic medal winners. Usain Bolt, Melaine Walker, Shericka Williams, Shereefa Lloyd, Rosemarie Whyte, Novelene Williams, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Asafa Powell, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson, Kerron Stewart, and Veronica Campbell-Brown. You have inspired my son, and I thank you for that.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My New Resolution

I plan on paying cash, and riding this baby by July 2009. Not the easiest resolution to fulfill; considering I haven't had a driver's license for almost 10 years.

But that doesn't mean it can't be done. Email me here, and you can get one of these by then too!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

DNC Removes Urinals to Appease Clinton Supporters

In an unusual move, the Democratic National Committee is paying nearly $217,000 to install drywall at the Pepsi Center and INVESCO Field at Mile High to conceal the urinals in the men's restrooms during the Democratic Convention August 25-28. "This is a necessary, negotiated concession in order to properly recognize Senator Clinton's 18 million votes during the primaries." said a senior DNC official under condition of anonymity. "The convention's nightly themes are One Nation, Renewing America’s Promise, Securing America’s Future, and Change You Can Believe In. But in the bathrooms, the theme for all four nights is Solidarity - All Democrats Sit To Pee."

In addition, Hillary Clinton's staff is creating a 40-member "whip team" for the convention to ensure that her supporters don't engage in embarrassing anti-Obama demonstrations during the floor vote on her token nomination. The all female team, clad in crisp dark blue dresses and organized by longtime Clinton staffer Craig Smith, is working in conjunction with Obama's floor organizers to help foster the image of a unified front during a roll-call process Hillary Clinton herself has described as an emotional "catharsis" for her disappointed supporters.

“We have been and are working closely with the Obama campaign to make sure we have an exciting and unified convention," Clinton spokesperson Kathleen Strand said. "We won't pout or whine as long as we get what we want."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Brandon Pics - The Skycoaster

My son Brandon and I are spending a lot of time at Six Flags America this summer. Its a good father-son bonding experience, as well as a way for Brandon to test my laid-back parenting style by trying everything at the park that is either remotely intense or possibly dangerous - at least twice.

I did not expect Brandon to choose as his last ride one day - The Skycoaster. This diabolical device looks downright silly. First, they put you in a strange looking "flight suit" and attach a steel cable to your backside. Then, you are slowly hoisted up a launch pole to about a hundred feet, then ordered from below to pull a rip cord. The flyer plumments earthward, then begins huge free fall swings from a supporting tower, just a few feet from the ground. The fun continues, until momentum is lost and the ride's handlers can stop the flyer. The Skycoaster is not a "sky sled", or any car-like thing you can pretend keeps you safe. It is a giant, naked, swingset.

It is very important to me that my son recognizes his own independence. So when he said he wanted to do this, I really couldn't say no. I knew the kids who operate the ride, and I knew how hard they worked to get certified on it. I also know they rode the Skycoaster themselves every morning to test it. They take their jobs seriously. They are kids, but they are responsible kids. The ride, though frightening, is one of the safer rides in the park. In fact; safer than the Six Flags parking lot.

To be honest, I was hoping Brandon would have second thoughts halfway up the launch tower. Not a chance. I am petrified of heights, but my son isn't. And he has that smart-ass invulnerabity most kids have, coupled with a Jamaican streak that makes him always right. The guys gave him every opportunity to back out gracefully, taking him up slowly, and telling him he could come down anytime. But to his credit, Brandon yelled, "take me to the top."

So there he was; a little speck, ten stories in the air. "One, two, three - fly!", and my one and only son began falling to the ground below.

We both survived.

NOTE: A very special thanks to Michelle Murphy; for thoughtfully taking these pictures and sending them to me. It takes a Mom to have the presence of mind to document rites-of-passage in her child's life. Her son was in line right behind Brandon, so she had her camera ready. She took pity on the blithering idiot in front of her who wasn't thinking clearly at the time, and she took these pics. Again, thank you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Virginia Gov to Play Archie Bunker in 'All In The Family' Movie

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has tentatively signed to play America's favorite bigot, Archie Bunker, in the remake of Norman Lear's 1970s sitcom All in the Family, the most-watched television program for five years in the United States (1971–1978). According to director Rob Reiner, who became famous playing Michael "Meathead" Stivic, Bunker's liberal son-in-law, Kaine will play the role made famous by the late Carrol O'Conner, and Reiner himself will direct the picture. However, Reiner added, "Tim will step away from the project if he is named by presidential hopeful Barack Obama, as his running mate in the November election."

The GOP of Virginia was quick to comment on the announcement. When asked if Kaine could handle the role of politically conservative but largely clueless Bunker,
a Republican spokesperson said, "Though Kaine won the Governor's office by ACTING interested in Virginians, we doubt he can act his way out of a tobacco barn. The truth is; he can't even get his own party to cooperate with him. Look at our transportation problems here. We would in fact, prefer he accept Obama's appointment as vice-presidential candidate, rather than possibly ruin a pop culture icon like Archie Bunker."

Hollywood insiders report the script for the film is still in development, but may be a based on an episode of the original series where entertainer Sammy Davis Jr., visits the Bunker household . Though no other casting decisions have been announced, All in the Family original cast member
Sally Struthers has signed to play a cameo as the house next door.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Apes Prefer Cages Over Spain

MADRID - Great apes have publicly rebuffed Spain's parliamentary approved resolutions to give simians "human" rights, saying in effect, "we cannot in good conscience grant Spaniards the same consideration." This, in reaction to the Spanish parliament's recently voicing its support for the rights of great apes to life and freedom, in what will apparently be the first time any national legislature has called for such rights for non-humans. "Once-conservative Spain is turning into liberal compost", says "Pedro", a mountain guerrilla and director of the Great Apes Protect Environment (GAPE). "We cannot defend our evolutionary comrades." (Statements were made through a sign language interpreter.)

Recently, Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist government has recently legalized gay marriage, reduced the influence of the Catholic Church in education, and set up an Equality Ministry of all things. The new resolutions have cross-party or majority support and are expected to become law in Spain in weeks. "Pedro" explains, "The Great Apes Protect Environment has argued human hominids like bullfighters, gigolos, and super-hot dark-haired chicks should enjoy the right to life, freedom, and not to be dismembered indiscriminately. However, our founders did not realize the 315 apes in Spanish zoos are far better off behind plate glass and iron bars, than in today's Spain."

Spaniards all over the country reacted strongly to GAPE's stunning announcement. In Barcelona, for example, after their traditional ten o'clock dinner hour, many girls danced topless on the roofs of cars in protest, while the men continued to throw feces at each other long into the night.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Floating Cities Offshore

An architect has come up with an innovative answer to rising sea levels - a city that floats around the world. The self-contained 'Lilypad' city will be home to 50,000 'climate refugees' from worst hit areas - including London.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Five Biblical Superpowers

The Bible is full of superheroes with powers that make their cape-sporting descendants look like cowering children. A rundown of the five powers that would be most useful to the modern crime fighter.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Al Gore's Electricity Consumption Up 10%

Mr. Global Warming's electricity consumption is up 10%. Hey, Internet inventor; when will you practice what you preach?

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Novel (part 2)

I am writing a novel at the moment, and I periodically report on my progress in this blog. Feel free to email me (don't add comments here please) to offer criticisms, suggestions, or death threats.

I've gotten a few comments about the novel's themes I posted here last month. I've been accused of being "Libertarian", and I guess I am to some extent, but I don't see any "Individual's Inalienable Rights" doctrine in the ideas I posted. Just likely scenarios when various government systems are confronted with saavy (and extremely lucky) Opposition. And yes, there will be sex in it.

Here are more ideas I'd like fold into the literary omelette. Many of these thoughts were derived from the writings of philosopher Eric Hoffer, one of my principal influences.

The untalented are more at ease in a society that gives them valid alibis for not achieving than in one where opportunities are abundant. In an affluent society, the alienated who clamour for power are largely untalented people who cannot make use of the unprecedented opportunities for self-realization, and cannot escape the confrontation with an ineffectual self.

Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarley find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity.

He who proselytizes in the cause of unbelief is basically a man in need of belief.

There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.

No matter what our acheivements might be, we think well of ourselves only in rare moments. We need people to bear witness against our inner judge, who keeps book on our shortcoming and transgressions. We need people to convince us that we are not as bad as we think we are.

We need not only a purpose in life to give meaning to our existence but also to give meaning to our suffering. we need as much something to suffer for as something to live for.

To have an exceptional talent and the capacity to realize it is like having a powerful appetite and the capacity to enjoy it. In both cases there is an impatience with anything that hampers free movement, and the feeling that the world is one's oyster.

For the past week I've been setting my alarm at 4:30 a.m. This is in preparation for starting the novel. The only quiet time in the house is 4:30-6:30 a.m., so I'll be doing all my writing at this time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Brandon's First Poem

My eight year old son's first literary effort:


Tropical island
Peaceful quiet

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Novel (part 1)

I've been toying with the idea of working on some sort of long-term literary project. I'm not sure however, about the form the project will take. I wrote a screenplay many years ago, so I feel comfortable with the format and technical complications of writing a movie. I've never tried a novel, so perhaps this might be the way to start. I could re-shape it to fit the screenplay format later, providing I write the novel with that possibility in mind. The screenplay I wrote took 10 months to write, so honestly I don't expect a final draft form until December 2009. I will periodically report on my progress in this blog. Feel free to email me (don't add comments here please) at to offer criticiisms, suggestions, or death threats.

So what is this story going to be about? I'll start with the overall themes first.

In the future, one man can declare war on the world and win. And, I am not talking about Peter Seller's, "The Mouse That Roared". The story is set in the year 3200, with four "nation-states" ruthlessly competing against each other in a universe far away from our own.

Government soveriegnty is threatened when military leverage is diminished by steady technological advances among the populace.

Weapons of mass destruction are simply not practical. Old scorched-earth tactics were useful in traditional warfare, but not now - scarcity of natural resources demand acts of careful preservation. The weapon of choice in the future then, is "systems disruption". By creating their own leverage from blazingly fast tech improvements and by taking advantage of vulnerable systems, a small group of revolutionaries can identify "points of failure", i.e. power grids, fuel pipelines, even gaps in diplomacy within a nation-state, and strike them intelligently and inexpensively, thereby producing a series of cascading failures and damage much greater than the cost of the attack itself. Want an example? In the summer of 2004, Guerrillas attacked a southern section of the Iraqi oil pipeline infrastructure, which cost an estimated $2,000 to launch. The effects of this attack were over $50 million in lost oil exports. Your rate of return; 250,000 times over cost.

Revolutionaries who operate in a decentralized, voluntarist, plugged-in mode, drawing on enthusiasm, experimentation, and the exchange of ideas can flout the nation-state’s monopoly on legitimate force; and can prevent the nation-state from delivering even elementary security or minimal services. A nation-state’s instinctive acts of self-preservation—centralizing security even further, launching preventive wars—will prove not just useless, but counterproductive.

The government's solution to a "systems disruption" attack is a post-bureaucratic government that secures legitimacy through the active pursuit of opportunity for its citizens but declines to specify the goals for which that opportunity is used. Like decentralized, security networks and flexible infrastructure such as two-way electrical grids where end-users can store, produce, and sell back electricity, improving redundancy and diversity. The theory is that the more flexibility nations build into their infrastructure, the less likely it is that terror attacks (or other disasters) can cause cascading, catastrophic failure. Not counter-terror strategies of untrammeled surveillance at home and “pre-emptive” war to shape other civilizations.

Revolutionaires can successfully wage strategic war on nation-states. But if they want the things revolutionaries have always wanted—regional autonomy, a greater share of the economic pie, dominion over ethnic or sectarian rivals, an end to foreign occupation, social revolution, national control—it’s much harder.

These are the ideas I am going to attempt to get across. Hopefully the novel won't be as pretentious as these ideas sound to me today.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

PetSmart sued over infected hamster blamed in 3 deaths

BOSTON (AP) - A woman whose husband died after receiving a liver transplant infected with a rodent virus is suing PetSmart Inc., claiming the chain should have warned customers that hamsters can carry the virus.

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Pope Visits Yankee Stadium - Throws Out First Muslim

Actually, I don't have anything. I just thought it was a great headline.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Teaching the Art of Letter Writing

You have to hand it to the Fairfax County School System here in Virginia. They recognized, in this day of instant messaging, text messaging using codes incomprehensible to everyone over fifteen, and hour long cell phone conversations about nothing; clearly children are not learning the importance of letter writing. Established grammer rules and correct spelling are becoming less and less important to the youth of today. My eight year old son Brandon asked recently why he should do his spelling words, since "I'm not stupid, Dad. I know how to use spell-check."

In Fairfax County, students are encouraged to write letters to their teachers and each other. A school-only mailbox is right outside the office, and the kids write regularly. Recently the students were asked to write a letter to "a famous person". Here is Brandon's effort.

Dear Mr. Lincoln,

I wish I can meet you in person, but sadly you're dead. I have been reading about you. I have a question for you. How is heaven? Please write back.



Sunday, April 6, 2008

Condoleezza, Condoleezza, Men Have Named You . . .

ABCNews’ Mary Bruce Reports: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is actively courting the Vice Presidential nomination, according to Republican Strategist Dan Senor. “Condi Rice has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning for this,” Senor said this morning on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Have you seen this film?

For those unaware of this situation referred to in the previous post; here is the link (until it is forced off Google anyways) to the controversial movie, "Fitna". Everyone should see it, but more importantly, look at the insane reaction this 15 minute film has caused.

LiveLeak removes anti-Quran film after receiving threats

Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.

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WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 is Official

The first "review" of the latest in the WWE franchise coming this fall.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Giuliani Drops Baby in Florida

The Virginia primary is today, and my man Rudy Giuliani is no longer in the race. He has endorsed John McCain, which is not a particularly bad decision; especially if Rudy can talk himself into the number two spot on the Republican ticket. I think a McCain/Giuliani campaign is a logical answer to the shit-slinging Democrats. But how did this happen in the first place?

In the caucus and primary strategies, everyone scrambled to take the lead early, the traditional way to get yourself voted Commander-in-Chief. Grab the number one or two spot in Iowa or New Hampshire, the media gives you tons of free air time, and the bandwagon begins to roll (Americans generally wait to see who's the popular choice before publicly declaring "that's my guy!". Except, of course, my guy Rudy, who took the remarkable strategy of deliberately holding back and devoting all his energy to his copper-toned, varicose-veined mistress, Judith. Kidding. I mean, the State of Florida. The idea did not work, and showed the political pundits inside the beltway they are, in fact, always right. This town drives me crazy.

Politics is Compromise. Give me this, and I'll give you that. Push this through, and I'll endorse what your constituents care about. Give me your lunch money and I won't beat you up after school. I had to make concessions to get behind Giuliani for President. But, here are just a few reasons why I felt Giuliani was a comfortable choice.

Balancing the budget: It is perplexing to me that not one candidate, Republican or Democrat, has promised a balanced Federal Budget. Look, it's obvious to any idiot; balancing your checkbook is a good thing. Yet, no one is willing to stand up and say they will balance the budget, like Bill Clinton did. Yeah, that's right, I'm extolling the virtues of former President William Jefferson Clinton. Forget his taste in interns; the man balanced the federal freakin' budget! If a Democrat can do it, I believe it is fair to ask Republican candidates to publicly announce their intention to do the same. After all, Republicans continuously lament "big government"; so pledge to the American people 0% growth in government spending, and real steps toward balancing the budget.

Look at Rudy Giuliani's performance as Mayor of New York. Giuliani reduced city taxes by more than $2 billion in eight years, more than any Administration in New York history. In 1998, the city’s tax burden had dropped to 7.8% of personal income—lower than in the years leading up to the New York fiscal crisis of the 1990’s. New York eliminated its city sales tax on clothing and footwear under $110 and oversaw property tax relief for condo owners. Effective December 1, 1999, the city tax rate dropped from 3.9% to 3.4% and then to 3.0% on June 1, 2001.

Under Giuliani, New York turned its $2.3 billion deficit into a $2 billion budget surplus. In his first year as mayor, he cut city spending by $700 million (3%)—the only cut since the 1970’s. In addition, his adversarial stance toward municipal unions and threats of layoffs and competitive contracting for city services helped him hold down the size of city government. He cut the size of city-funded government bureaucracy by nearly 20%—excluding the number of cops on the street and teachers in the classroom. Rudy’s record proves he can deliver a return to fiscal discipline. I like that. Not as much as a balanced budget, or a cold Guinness Stout - but I like that.

Intelligence: I think it is completely ridiculous legislation is needed, to permit information sharing between the freakin' FBI, CIA, NSA, and every other federal, state and local authority. This is what Homeland Security, the biggest bloated mess since Jaba the Hut, was supposed to do. Why not benefit from information obtained by some 600,000 local law enforcement officials? Thank the Good Lord above Giuliani favors this legislation. As a private consultant the past four years, he has advised other countries on how to deal with terrorism. When those planes hit those towers, Giuliani took it personal.

Rudy Giuliani believes winning the war on terror is the great responsibility of this decade. America cannot afford to go back to the days of inconsistent responses to terrorist attacks, as weakness only encourages aggression. Americans do want peace ultimately. But Bush's "surge" is, for the most part, doing what it is supposed to do. Terrorists declared war on us. We are simply finishing it up. And by the way, Rudy understands the phrase "winning hearts and minds". This is crucial in the endgame.

Abortion: Here is where I drastically differ from the Republican "party line". I'm not only pro-choice, I'm pro-abortion. Abortion should be allowed up to 10 years after conception. When Giuliani successfully courted New York’s Liberal Party to support him for Mayor in 1989, Giuliani became almost as pro-choice as I am. According to the New York Times in 1989, “Giuliani will fund all city programs which provide abortions to insure that no woman is deprived of her right due to an inability to pay. He will oppose reductions in state funding. He will oppose making abortion illegal.” Now, after realizing "the people we fly over" are as fanatically anti-abortion as ever, Giuliani supports reasonable restrictions on abortion such as parental notification with a judicial bypass and a ban on partial birth abortion—except when the life of the mother is at stake. He’s proud that adoptions increased 66% while abortions decreased over 16% in New York City when he was Mayor. I can live with his current position on this - for now.

Marriage: Rudy Giuliani believes, as I do, marriage is between a man and a woman. He does not—and has never—supported gay marriage. But, he believes in equal rights under the law for all Americans, so domestic partnerships which provide stability for committed partners in legal and personal matters are acceptable, as long as marriage per se is between a man and a woman. And, second woman on the weekends. Errrr . . . . I thought I had read that somewhere. Anyway, Rudy did not support Bush’s call for a constitutional ban on gay marriage either.

Judges: Giuliani appointed criminal and civil court judges in his eight years as mayor. Conservatives were uncomfortable with reports he consulted on appointments with New York Liberal Party Chairman Ray Harding. But keep in mind; Mayor Giuliani was simply dancing with the one who brought him. The Liberal Party helped him to City Hall. Remember what I said earlier about compromise?

Immigration: Giuliani favored rolling back standing restrictions on immigration and increasing the number of legal immigrants in the U.S. This is NOT good. This is an area I have real problems with the 9/11 guy. We need more restrictions, not less. Let's look to The Bahamas; the country where I spent much of my adult life. Bahamian immigration policy is simple, straight-forward, and kicks ass. Even before their independence (July 10, 1973) the country recognized that in order to survive as a sovereignty they must protect their borders. They realized every American deadbeat would love to live in the islands, doing some routine bartending job and screwing Spring Breakers. In short; a job every Bahamian is qualified to do.

So, every year I lived in The Bahamas I had to apply for a annual work permit. My position was posted in the paper, and any Bahamian had the right to say, "I can do that job". I had to hire him, train him, and document his performance. Then, I had to go before the Labour Board and explain why this Bahamian citizen could not handle my position. And then, I had to re-appear in front of the Labour Board when the man filed his appeal, usually claiming I did not train him well enough to fill my shoes. During my seventeen years there, Bahamian Immigration could pick me up and send me back to States anytime they wished, for any reason. And, while it was enormously stressful to me, the United States must adopt a similar immigration policy to survive as a nation.

If elected president, Rudy Giuliani wants to reduce illegal immigration dramatically in as little as three years. To get the job done, Giuliani said he would boost the number of border patrol agents to 18,000 from the current 12,000, and build a physical and "technological" border along the U.S.-Mexico border. "If you do this for two or three years, you'll change behavior," Giuliani has said. "If people come to the border and figure they can't get in, they'll stop." And, he has called for the immediate deportation of all illegal immigrants who commit crimes. John McCain on the other hand, supported a failed immigration bill that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. That "amnesty" stance has cost him the backing of many Republican party conservatives.

Giuliani's master immigration plan also included tamper-proof ID cards to all non-citizen workers and students, and a national data-base that would track the arrival and departure of every foreign visitor to the U.S. Both great ideas.

In conclusion: I will be voting for John McCain today. My main reason is the possibility of a McCain/Giulani ticket in November. That will make conservative Republicans furious, but having a man like Rudy Giuliani close to the Oval Office makes good sense to me.

Monday, February 11, 2008

McCain picks up some conservative support

Blog: He also offers first hint of unhappiness about continued presence of Mike Huckabee in the race.

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Q: Where can men over the age of 50 find younger women who are interested in them? A: Try a bookstore under fiction.