Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I know it's hard to believe, seeing as so many 'Christians' seem to think that Halloween
is a satanic holiday, but it's true.
The custom of going from house to house began in the Ninth Century,
when early Christians (not satanists) celebrated All Souls Day by walking from town to town begging for "soul cakes" - square pieces of bread with currants. The more they got, the more
prayers they could say on behalf of dead souls in limbo waiting for passage to heaven.

And now it's mutated into kids looking for candy, and their parents sending prayers that
they won't have to go to the dentist...


As written by Mike Montfort, who's far more literate than I...

An open letter to the journalists of America:
Dear "sir or ms”: Did you pursue a career in journalism so you could help shed much-needed light on important topics, so you could help educate and inform your fellow citizens, so you could seek the truth and hold those in power accountable to the people they are supposed to serve? Or did you pursue a career in journalism because you wanted to discuss whether Hillary Rodham Clinton has had plastic surgery, which candidate "looks French," and which "looked scary"? We know of no poll that shows that respondents consider Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco residence of primary importance in this November's elections. We know of none that suggests that Tennessee voters care more about whether Harold Ford Jr. went to a "Playboy party" than they care about keeping America safe. We see no indication that the public is calling out for more "analysis" of the candidates' appearance, or even that their primary concern is how the midterm elections will affect the 2008 presidential prospects of various members of Congress. No, the American people know what is important. Iraq is important. Capturing or killing Osama bin Laden is important. Keeping America safe, securing our ports, and preventing future attacks are important. The growing gap between rich and poor is important; the fact that millions of Americans lack health care is important. The American people know these things are important -- and they tell you that every time you ask. You pick the poll, any poll you want: We guarantee you the poll shows that people think these things are important. You won't find much evidence that the pressing questions on their minds have anything to do with Hillary's hair, or whether Pelosi's "San Francisco looks" turn them off, or whether the latest political ad "goes too far." So please -- please -- use these last 10 days well. Use them to educate your readers and viewers and listeners about the things that really matter. Use the next 10 days to help people understand what the candidates want to do about Iraq and whether their solutions have worked in the past. About how we've failed to capture Osama bin Laden and what we're doing to change that. About what is happening in Afghanistan, about port security, about the budget deficit, about wage stagnation, about runaway energy costs, and about health care. Don't just use this time to play an RNC ad -- or a DNC ad, or any ad -- over and over and over and over again. Voters will see these ads; the parties and candidates are paying for voters to see them. That's the whole point of an ad. Voters don't need you to air these ads nonstop, for free. The parties want you to do that. You're doing their bidding. You're telling voters about campaign tactics rather than issues. But campaign tactics don't keep us safe, don't keep our troops from dying needlessly in Iraq, don't put food on the table, and don't help people get health care. We know: The vicious attacks demand attention. But not at the expense of issues that really matter. That isn't mud they're slinging -- it's quicksand they're leading you and the voters into. It swallows up and suffocates everything that gets caught in it, transforming elections that should be about Iraq, about bin Laden, about the economy, about the minimum wage, and about health care into a race to the bottom dominated by substance-free bickering. The campaigns responsible want you -- and the voters -- to get swallowed up in the quicksand. You know a radio host's attack on an actor shouldn't be the dominant story of the days before Americans choose their representatives. Your audience doesn't consider it the most important issue. So don't treat it that way. For 10 days -- just 10 days, that's all -- use your platform to focus attention on matters of substance, not on the horse race. Don't tell us how an issue is "playing" -- tell us where the candidates stand, what they plan to do, and how they'll do it. We'll tell you how it "plays" on November 7, when we vote. Once November 7 comes and goes, by all means, knock yourselves out telling us what our votes meant, what the future holds, what you think about the cut of Barack Obama's jib or John McCain's "steely resolve." There's plenty of time for you to do that. Plenty. But for 10 days -- just 10 short days -- think about what really matters. Think about why you first put pen to paper, what your motivation was the first time you asked a politician a question, what you think the highest aim of journalism should be. Think about what makes your profession one of the highest callings a democracy has to offer, what makes journalism so essential to our existence as a nation that its freedoms are enshrined in our Constitution. Think about the people who have fought and died for those freedoms. Think of your colleagues who have had their phones tapped, who have risked being killed in order to report from war zones, who ended up on "Enemies Lists," who have gone to jail because of their pursuit of the truth. Did they do all that so you could bring us a story about the Democratic Party's "Two Left Feet," or about allegations that Hillary Clinton has had cosmetic surgery? Or did they do it so you could tell us the truth about why we went to war, how that war is progressing, and what our leaders plan to do to get us out of it? Ten days of substance. That's all we ask. Too many recent elections have been decided based on earth tones and sighs, on windsurfing and swift-boating, on claims that are false or trivial, or both. Too many votes have been cast by voters who are misinformed about some of the most important issues of our -- or any other -- time. The media don't bear sole responsibility for those things, of course. Our political leaders (on all sides) and those who help elect them deserve their share of blame, to be sure. And the voters themselves bear ultimate responsibility for not being better informed. But, yes, you in the media are responsible, too; of that, there can be no doubt. And in the next 10 days, your own performance is the only thing you can change. You cannot change the fact that some politicians will lie; that others will have great ideas but be less tactically savvy than their opponents; or that voters would rather watch Fear Factor than the evening news. But you can make sure that those voters who read your newspapers and watch your television shows -- who try in these last 10 days to make an informed decision -- get the information they need about things such as war and health care, rather than trivia and pointless prognostication. You can do that in these last 10 days. And by doing so, you can force the candidates (and help the voters) to talk and think about substance, about issues, about the future of our nation. Your readers and viewers and listeners need you to do that. Your nation needs you to do that.

Isn't that why you wanted to be a journalist in the first place?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Founding drummer of the teenage band "The Runaways", she died of cancer Saturday
at the age of 47. While not as well known as Joan Jett or Lita Ford, she helped the band
become the 'riot girls' of the 70s. And you can't tell me you've never heard their 'big hit'
Cherry Bomb. Everybody's heard Cherry Bomb at least once!
And they didn't last long, and they were never that famous in the 70s, but
they still make the list as a guilty pleasure in my book.

And so Sandy joins the big rock show in the sky...

Monday, October 23, 2006


'"I’ll do it later." "I don’t feel like it." "I have better things to do." Do you hear yourself using these excuses often? We are all procrastinators to some extent. But if procrastination affects your productivity and relationships in every area of your life, it’s time to start overcoming your procrastinator tendencies – today.'

Well, there was more to this article...but I guess I'll read the rest some other time...

Friday, October 20, 2006


Yeah, tough for you, me, and everybody else...except United Healthcare,
the nation's 2nd largest healthcare provider.
Here's an interesting fact from today's paper: In the 3rd quarter of this year,
UHC made a profit of...
...$1,100,000,000.00 (Lots of freakin' zeros, ain't it)

Yeah, that's 1.1 BILLION DOLLARS!

How the hell can that be right, when so many people can't afford insurance, and those who can (barely)afford it get increased rates every year...due to the high cost of healthcare.
Apparently it's not that high, since the healthcare companies can make such a nice profit
for doing nothing but basically passing money around, and taking their cut.
Maybe the government needs to actually DO something for the people, and put a profit ceiling
on health insurance companies...

Yeah...I'll be holding my breath for that one...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


So I got my haircut last night - 3 times a year whether I need it or not!! - haha, but
it's true actually. Though at one time it was 2 times a year, and even 1 time or less a year.
But that's not the story; actually it reminded me of when I was living in London, back when my hair was normally short; since I was in high school and had not grown my hair out yet.
I went to a barber in London that my Dad may have told me about, not really sure how
I found the place, but for the equivalent of $2.40 I got my hair cut with a straight razor.
That's right - a straight razor - the kind murderers use to cut someone's throat in
old movies. But I'll tell you, it was a great haircut if you didn't think about someone
waving a straight razor around your head!. And I'm sure you can't find anyone who
cuts hair like that anymore.
But at least I had the experience of it once, and if I ever see a barber who advertises
for it (and doesn't look like Sweeny Todd) I'd consider doing it again...

Friday, October 13, 2006


Who passed away yesterday at approx. 12:45pm DST, in Nanaimo British Columbia.
He was 89 years old and suffering from Alzheimer's. I'm glad he
went peacefully, and that we got a chance to spend 2 weeks with him last
year before it got too bad. Not terribly bad, but bad enough. So now, in the
words of Trudy Webb "He's in a place where he can remember everybody".

I wish we'd spent more time together over the years, but he refused to retire
to the U.S., so we did what we could...

Goodbye Dad, I love you...

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Wow...now that's an incredible book! I don't usually read modern history, though when I was in my teens I read quite a few WWII books that Dad & Mom owned. But a friend at work had this, so I read it. In case you don't know, it's about the 6 men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, you know, the famous flag picture. And it was written by the son of the longest living flag raiser, 3 of whom died on Iwo Jima.
And here's some interesting facts you may or may not know:

The 22,000 Japanese defenders were all in 15 miles of underground caves and tunnels.
The flag was raised on the 5th day of almost 5 weeks of fighting.
The flag in the picture was raised as a replacement for a smaller flag that had been raised earlier in the day.
The Marines lost 1/3 of their total casualties during 43 months of war in the Pacific during
the 5 weeks fighting on Iwo Jima.
The battle of Iwo Jima was in February 1945; however, the last 2 Japanese soldiers on the island didn't surrender until 1949.
The movie Sands Of Iwo Jima starring John Wayne actually had the 3 surviving flag raisers
in bit parts.
John Wayne's hand & footprints in Hollywood are in black concrete, made with the black coral sand from Iwo Jima.

So now you know a little more, maybe you'll go read this book - not just watch the movie!

Monday, October 09, 2006


Or it would have been, if the asshole (who's name shall not be mentioned here) hadn't
murdered him. He would have been 66 today; one wonders what he would have
made of 9/11 and the Iraqi mess...

"Imagine there's no war...It's easy if you try..."

...only wish it were that easy...

...whatever happened to the anti-war people of the 60s? How
did we turn into a nation of crazies, killers, child molesters, and war-mongers??

And that's just the government...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


On December 5, 1664, a ship sank off the coast of Wales...
On December 5, 1785 another ship sank...
On December 5, 1860 yet another ship sank...

165 people died from the 3 sinkings.

3 people survived, one from each ship.

The lone survivor in each case was named Hugh Williams...

So either don't take a boat trip on December 5, or be named Hugh Williams!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


...Buckingham that is; born on this date in 1949. Saw him with Fleetwood Mac back on their first tour(75or76) with him & Stevie - opening act for Jefferson Starship!! Man, what a great show, they kicked the Starship's ass all over the place, even that's who we went to see. Probably one of the best shows I've ever seen.

Also, happy b-day to Chubby Checker in 1941. Hard to believe there's only 8 years difference between him and Lindsey. Seems like they'd be a generation apart, not that close. Strange.

And also on this date Woody Guthrie died at age 55. So I guess Arlo has outlived him, hopefully
he won't come down with the Huntington's Disease that killed Woody; have seen Arlo a number of times over the years, and he always puts on a good show, tours with his son & daughter in the band.