Friday, April 28, 2006

Nix on the impeachment idea

There are plenty of liberal and conservative blogs out there in Blogland. For those that call for President Bush's impeachment, there are probably an even number that support him and trash Howard Dean. Not that he's not an easy target, too.

I'm reminded of an old story from my old friend, Wayne Trout, who went on to that Giant AM/FM Broadcast Booth in the Sky last June. Wayne was an exceptionally funny guy and, as I've mentioned before on a previous post, he was the kind of person you'd be a fool not to invite to a party if you didn't want it to be a big success. I guess you could have compared him to a softer, gentler Robin Williams.

During the Nixon administration, and specifically at the time of Watergate, Nixon's Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, appointed Archibald Cox to be the special prosecutor in charge of investigating the break-in and cover-up at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee inside the Watergate Hotel by members of Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President, also known as CREEP.

After Cox insisted on unrestricted access to tape recordings of what went down in the Oval Office, Nixon demanded that Cox be fired by his Attorney General. Richardson refused and promptly resigned, as did his deputy. The third person in charge was Robert H. Bork, later of Supreme Court fame, who ubruptly dismissed Cox. This became known as the "Saturday Night Massacre." All Hell broke loose after that and the rest is history for the ages, as Nixon became the first and only president to resign from office.

In the meantime, good old Wayne had come up with a bumper sticker idea. He took it all around town (Orlando) and every printer he saw refused to touch it. It was exasperating. Finally, after a couple of weeks or so, he found one printer way out on the east side of town. The guy must have been a liberal or a Nixon hater. Oh well, never mind, he at least had a great sense of humor. All Wayne wanted to print was…


Friday, April 21, 2006

Updated version of the BIRDS & the BEES

A little boy goes to his father and asks "Daddy, how was I born?"

The father answers, "Well son, I guess one day you will need to find out anyway! Your Mom and I first got together in a chat room on Yahoo! Then I set up a date via e-mail with your Mom and we met at a cyber-cafe. We sneaked into a secluded room, where your mother agreed to a download from my hard drive. As soon as I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither one of us had used a firewall, and since it was too late to hit the delete button, nine months later, a little Pop-Up appeared that said: You've got Male.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

When Human Life is a Series of Zeros

If you were a cannibal, what would you wear to dinner?

"The skin of last night's main course."

- Kevin Underwood, on his profile at , titled "Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K."

When a computer comes crashing down and a fatal error message flies into your face, there is a reason why. It could be a virus - or it could be a conflict of some kind, like certain applications that don't like each other. Your operating system, for example, has resident fonts. Let's say you purchase a $10 CD with thousands of fonts to install. Your computer might already have Palatino installed on the hard drive. You choose one from your CD called, let's say, Palamino and load it into your Fonts folder. In computerspeak, everything is a series of ones and zeros, known as binary language. The only difference between those two fonts might be a couple of ones or zeros. When your computer goes looking for Palatino or Palamino, there isn't enough of a difference between the two. Your computer recognizes them both simultaneously, becomes confused and freezes up. Unfortunately, you get mad at your computer, not realizing it was brought on by your own mistake.

When humans come crashing down, what are the conflicts that cause these fatal errors? Unless they are acts of violence brought on by sudden rage, most crimes of a physical nature are premeditated. Think of Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer, real life Hannibal Lecters, although Bundy didn't make entrees out of his victims.

Pity the family and friends of poor little ten year old Jamie Rose Bolin, of Purcell, Oklahoma. This freckle-faced girl, so full of life and innocence, was brutally murdered and raped, in that order, by her 26 year old neighbor, Kevin Underwood. Pity his family, too. He planned on having her for dinner. Without going into too much unnecessary detail, police found a dagger, a hacksaw, meat tenderizer and barbecue skewers in his apartment, along with her body, which was stuffed in a plastic storage tub in his bedroom closet. “Go ahead and arrest me. She is in there. I chopped her up,” he confessed to FBI agents.

What causes human beings to do this? Animals may stalk their prey, but they do it for survival. Humans do it for the thrill. What goes heywire in the minds of such men?

“For example, my fantasies are just getting weirder and weirder. Dangerously weird,” Underwood wrote on his blog in September of 2004. “If people knew the kinds of things I think about anymore, I’d probably be locked away. No probably about it, I know I would be.”

Does he feel any remorse? What do we do with him? Forgive him? Turn the other cheek? Burn him with the Bundys of the world? He acknowledged, on his blog, the effects of not taking his anti-depression medication. Whose fault is that? Yours, mine or only his? As a matter of fact, his last post came a day after the little girl’s disappearance. Is this the mind of a man who did not know what he had just done and shouldn’t be tried on account of insanity?

Computers are metal and plastic and not nearly as complex as the soft tissue that makes up the structure of the hard drive of the human mind. A computer does not premeditate a fatal error. Only man can do that. But, a computer is a lot easier to fix. How long was this drive to kill inside Kevin Underwood’s brain? Why did he go after a powerless little girl, unable to defend herself? Like a sociopathic online stalker waiting to pounce on the flesh of an underage child, what signals crossed paths in his mind that destroyed the logic that dictates respect and dignity for all human life? Something fried his brain. Now, I think the state of Oklahoma is going to fry it a little more.

This sort of crime - any crime, does not compute in my brain. Sometimes, I wish we could just reformat the whole lot of that giant fragmented mainframe known as humanity. Rest in peace, sweet innocence of youth. We lost it a long time ago.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Suffering from the AGE virus

Before I sat down to write this, I had to remember where I left my reading glasses...

When I was 23, a 33 year old woman had the hots for me. She was a cutey. A friend of mine played bass in a band and her brother was the drummer. He kept telling me she wanted to go out and I ignored her hits for a while. My previous girlfriends up to that point had been younger and I was a little apprehensive about dating an "older woman." At the time, 30 years ago, I was single and suddenly my young male libido kicked in. I mean, OK, I relented and we went out for a couple of months. Then, I dumped her. This wasn't one of my finest hours, but I didn't want to date a woman who would turn gray and get all wrinkly on me. She was a woman. I was somewhere between boydom and manhood. Besides, a younger babe was beckoning. Today, I would die for a 33 year old. The odds of that happening at my age are somewhere between winning the lotto and landing on one of Jupiter's moons. Oh well.

Dr. Leonard's - America's Leading Discount Healthcare Catalog came in the mail the other day. You know, like the ones your parents or grandparents get with thousands of remedies for whatever ails you, from incontinence to arthritis relief to unwanted hair. It was addressed to me. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? Who sold my name to this company that caters to old people? I'm not ready for my first liver spot and I don't need to "say goodbye to ugly skin discolorations." Thank you, anyway.

My God, have I hit that age where I can't think of myself as young anymore? I don't think I want to admit to it, but I guess it's true. The wisdom of middle age is screaming OLD AGE...OLD AGE into my harder of hearing ears. Years ago, I owned several MGB-GTs. Convertibles weren't my style since I didn't want the sun beating down on my already balding pate. Today, I have a lot more aches and pains that occur naturally with aging and getting out of an MG might prove to be more difficult than plopping down into one. It's not as easy getting out of bed these days, either. Ooh. Why do my back and shoulders hurt?

I've always had light colored hair and what I have left has done a fairly good job of camouflaging the gray that keeps creeping in, unannounced and uninvited. What does bother me, though, are new hairs growing where they've never been - or weren't like this when I was younger. A few years ago, I started sprouting these thick, dark hairs in my eyebrows. Like they came off a horse. Of course, I clip them. I don't want to look like Leonid Brezhnev or Andy Rooney. Then came the nose hairs. Thick, black ones when I've never had a black hair on my body. I guess I could grow a mustache with those hairs, but it would look funny in black. Instead, I'll keep the one I have, gray hairs and all. I invested in a pair of small, sharp scissors and I find myself grooming in front of the bathroom mirror more and more each month.

"At least I don't have hair growing out of my ears," I told an old friend once.

"You don't?" she responded as she started to yank on one that was growing out of my earlobe. It must have been about 2 inches long and was growing from the outer rim.

"Ouch! Pull it out!" I begged. "I don't want any more signs of old age!" At least it was blond and my head hair had kept it hidden. Besides, it wasn't a bunch of hair growing from the inside of my ears, like you always see on older men. It was just one, but now I have to lather up and shave my ears once in a while, when I remember.

That's another thing. I've always been good at remembering things. Names have always escaped me. You'd have to tell me 3 times before I'd remember. Today, 6 might do it. Writing it down is much better. As a matter of fact, I have to write a lot more down today than I ever did. If I don't, I might not have an inkling of what you said or I thought about ten minutes ago. Not always, but it seems like it's more often than not these days. It's funny how my long term memory has remained intact. I can conjure up thoughts from almost 50 years ago, with incredible detail, and explain it like it was just yesterday. Short term? Forget it. Did I just say something?

When I was young, getting as close to a band at a concert was a sure fire way of proving yourself to your friends that sat way behind you. Ha! I got better seats and my girlfriend is better looking than yours, so there. Silly youth. I wonder how much of a toll third row seats have taken on my hearing? I can still hear when I want to, but that leads me to another thought. From a musical standpoint. Ahem. I love sax. I can't play as many songs in a set as I used to, but the songs last a lot longer. The older we get, the more finely tuned we become and that's sweet music to my ears. Hopefully, to my audience of one, too.

Then there's other issues, but it's time to go and when I've got to go, I GOTTA GO! Now, where did I put that catalog?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Letters to the editor

I like writing letters to the Orlando Sentinel. Usually, they get published. Not always, but generally speaking, they do. Editors like you to write about topical subjects that are brought up in their publications. Since I live in the Orlando area, that's where I send them.

In the summer of 1998, there was a permit applied for and approved by city officials of Orlando to display Gay Pride flags on city lamp posts during their annual fest and parade. Any group can apply for it. My opinion on that is not one way or the other and that wasn't what I wrote about, although, I don't wear red shirts any longer because that's the color they wear to Disney to announce their sexual persuasion. It seems that Pat Robertson caught wind of the permit issue and made one of his many now famous remarks, blasting Orlando. He said that it was courting natural disaster by allowing gay pride flags to be flown.

"It'll bring about terrorist bombs, it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor," he said, referring to his belief that the presence of openly gay people incurs the wrath of God through divine intervention by destroying areas that allow gay people the same civil liberties as others. Imagine that, God may also employ terrorists. He went on to state, "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you."

We had been in the midst of a horrible drought and had not seen rain in several months. That Sunday night, the skies opened up and we got a tremendous downpour. In Central Florida, it could be raining on one side of the street and sunny on the other, so I don't know how much of the area got drenched. That Monday morning, July 6, I e-mailed a letter to the editor and it was printed the next day. All it said was:

"I just wanted to thank Pat Robertson for the rain." As if he was God. The funny thing is, though, my timing was just right. Monday, it rained like cats and dogs all over the place.

Also in 1998, the NBA players went on strike. None of my sports-minded friends felt any compassion for the already overpaid ath-elites. As the strike went into the otherwise Christmas holiday season of giving, I thought of another letter to send off, this time, addressing the players:

"Oh, I almost forgot. How selfish of me. Season's Greedings to the National Basketball Association." It was published on Dec. 30 of that year and the strike was soon over, although, not on account of my letter, that's for sure. I'm sure the players ended up with what they wished for.

I think everyone should voice opinions, regardless of which side of the fence they sit on, on any issue, as long as it's fresh and pertinent news. Some of my letters are longer than those two examples. Certainly, my published articles are. Hopefully, they make readers think about things and encourage feedback.

We can still do that here. And we should.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ongoing Al Qaeda Investigation Tied To Arrest Of Official

(API) The fourth-ranking official for the Department of Homeland Security was charged with using a computer to seduce a 14 year old girl over the internet after authorities said he struck up sexual conversations with a Polk County, Florida undercover detective posing as the girl.

Brian J. Doyle, 55, a deputy press secretery for the agency, was expected to appear in a Maryland court today. He will also be placed on administrative leave. Authorities arrested him on Tuesday at his Silver Spring, MD home as he was online with the undercover detective. Doyle began having sexually explicit chat room conversations with the "girl" on March 14, the sheriff's office said in a statement.

There is growing concern there might be more to this investigation despite stiff opposition from the general public.

An attorney for the agency, speaking on condition of anonymity said, "Of course he has admitted involvement here. Leave it to the liberal press to omit most of the details to make this administration look bad." He went on to state, "Look, he sent her pictures of himself wearing a Homeland Security pin on his lapel and a TSA lanyard. How much more official can you get? He has long been a supporter of the younger Bush. There's more to this story than the way the press is fondling it, I mean, handling it, including speculation that the parents of this child may have links to terrorist cells, including al Qaeda. He was trying to get to the bottom of it, as well as into other areas not open for discussion at the moment. We will keep you abreast of anything new as things develop."

Another government official stated, "He thought it was Poke County."