Here's a question to ponder over your morning coffee...
How many of you have taken the time to do any actual research into the proposed health care legislation?
That doesn't mean regurgitating what the Becks, Limbaughs, etc spew as talking points.
I mean YOU, investing time into what is, admittedly (I HAVE read the various proposals), a boring blob of words.
I ask this because at town hall meetings, mob mentality is beginning to break out - the latest location is Tampa, where angry, ill informed mobs had to be dealt with by police. They carry their Obama is a Nazi swastika signs, they embrace the latest one where he is depicted in Heath Ledger's Joker make-up, they all tote their birth certificates in Zip-lok bags, and they all shout the garbage they have been spoonfed by conservative talking heads. And so very many of them are senior citizens who don't realize how they have been turned into walking, screaming hypocrites by their "leaders".
The ones in Tampa even admitted to police they had been spurred on by Beck.
The ones that get inside these town hall meetings show their ignorance at every turn.
They believe that the government is going to euthanize old people so they don't have to spend money on them. WRONG.
And the most beautiful example of this willful, intentional ignorance of theirs is found in the older folks who show up shouting things like, "Keep your government hands off my Medicare."
President Obama received a letter from an older woman last week that read, 'I don't want government-run health care. I don't want socialized medicine. And don't touch my Medicare."
Um, OK old person who has no idea how stupid that statement is. Let's get government to stop touching your Medicare. Oops! Poof! Where did that Medicare go?!?!?
An analyst, Arthur Laffer, actually went on CNN and spouted this:
"If you like the post office and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think they're run well, just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government."
Pssst, old people and analysts who listen to talk radio and watch Faux News - MEDICARE IS GOVERNMENT RUN.
God, I hate stupidity.
It's like the email crap that gets forwarded from inbox to inbox by mindless lemmings who don't care to do an ounce of actual research because what they just read reinforces their current hatred or fear.
Next time you're wasting time on Facebook taking quizzes that don't matter, or Tweeting about what you're cooking for dinner, think about investing that time in educating yourself about the issues at hand. The information is all out there, readily accessible.
Find out what the legislation actually means to YOU. How will YOUR life be impacted. Because I guarantee you, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh don't give a rat's ass about YOU or your health care.
I'm all for talking with our kids. I have always enjoyed, and continue to nurture, a very open dialogue with my girls about everything. They know that if they are brave enough to ask a question, I will be brave enough to answer.
It can be about sex, drugs, politics, boys, the world, you name it.
I know many parents are not like that. They figure if they actively discuss something, then their child will be drawn to it.
I don't agree.
Answers are powerful. Answers empower them to make informed decisions. Answers are far less scary, and far more accurate than anything they make up in their own minds or hear on the playground.
So here's my question...
There is a book out there - a children's book - about marijuana. Called It's Just A Plant, by Ricardo Tores, it follows a little girl from opening her parents' door after bedtime and discovering them mid-puff, to how her parents handle her questions.
It is obviously geared towards the Sesame Street - Dora demographic. So, I'm curious. Take a look - you can actually read through the entire thing (it won't take long), and then let me know if you would be willing to share this with your young one, or if you feel it takes picture books to whole 'nother level they should never visit. (Personally, I still prefer the one on one approach.)
Advertising. Marketing. It is always anyone's guess what angles will draw the crowds to a product or place, and what Slick Willy type antics may keep them away.
Restaurants are home to some of the more creative advertising in this world. Whether it's a cut rate on a top cut of beef, or a Buy 1, Get 1 Free Senior Citizen Special, chain establishments are experts at regularly rolling out the discounts to drive business.
They can afford to. Their profit margins are higher, their expenses lower.
But what about ye olde Mom and Pop eateries? The ones who depend on the locals for their livelihood? The folks who are up at dawn daily to eek out an honest living by catering to those who eat out?
We are all familiar with the steak joints who offer gluttonous fame and a free meal to anyone who can put away a ridiculous amount of meat - say, 72 ounces. Roughly four and a half pounds of some animal's hind quarters. They do not, however, cover the ambulance ride or subsequent bypass should the ingestion of such a high fat feast send the patron's heart into arrhythmia.
(That would hurt their bottom line.)
Butt (sorry, couldn't resist) one restaurant in Maine has, for years, taken a much more creative approach to drawing in the clientele. In fact, one could say they have been on a streak of sorts...
The Naked Lunch.
No, no , no - it's not THAT town in the northeast where public nudity on the town's streets is de rigeur - That would be Brattleboro, Vermont...
Naked guitarists on the streetcorner, a group of naked teens who shot to hula hooping fame last fall, a 68 year old duffer out for a stroll wearing only a fanny pack...
(Dear God, I need to wash my mind's eye with Clorox after that mental image...)
The Naked Lunch I speak of is located in Greenville, Maine at The Black Frog Restaurant. It has existed for roughly three years and the gist is this: Anyone willing to jump naked off the dock of the restaurant will receive a free sandwich called the Skinny Dip - it features sliced prime rib in a baguette roll.
(Nothing fancy. Just good, solid fare. For the record, you'd have to be offering a free gold bullion burger, topped with dubloons, between two stacks of $100 bills for me to drop trou and jump in a lake.)
Many takers? Of course. We human beings are an inherently cheap lot. Plus there are plenty of folks out there who not only get off on the thought of being publicly nude, but who probably get their drool on just thinking about some prime rib...
Leigh Turner, who owns The Black Frog, says of those taking him up on the offer, "We've had two or three a week."
That's roughly 450 naked leaps at the Frog so far.
Of course, as is the case with all good things - like public nudity (sorry, but when it comes to this kind? I'm all for it. It's a hilarious spectator sport.) - someone has to come along and get their prudish keister in a knot.
(Hmmm....Prudish Keister Knot - sounds like a Dave Barry rock band or a pastry at the local Kolache factory.)
Apparently someone has come forward to local authorities requesting the practice be halted even though, according to Turner, it is mainly restricted to nighttime, there is no frontal nudity to the restaurant patrons watching, and employees stand at the ready with towels for the jumper when he/she climbs back out.
So it's not like they allow the takers to wave their breadsticks, squeeze their teabags, or massage their melons for the crowds.
It's just another case of the squeaking, repressed wheel getting the grease. It happens all the time - great example is how Halloween has basically been banished from every school my kids have attended based on the fact that there is ALWAYS that one set of parents who equate the 31st of October with Satan, witchcraft, the underworld, etc. Puh-leez. Ask any kid. It's about pulling out your fillings with candy corn and Tootsie Rolls, costumes, and seeing who gets the most miniature Kit Kats at the end of the night.
But back to the nakedidity...(me Spellcheck should just about stroke out over that one.)
Leigh is aware of the complaint and has said that if formally approached by the local council or authorities he will retire the Skinny Dip offer.
In the meantime, The Naked Lunch is still available. So if you're hankering for some free food, get your prime ribs, rump roast, and casabas up to Vermont. There's still time to make a splash.
Then again, there's always the next naked Hula Hoop festival in Brattleboro to look forward to...
I just finished watching the exclusive 60 Minutes interview done by reporter Scott Pelley with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
I give Pelley credit. He has balls of barbed wire, and they are surely as big as, well, the world's largest ball of barbed wire.
The interview was pointed, contentious, bordered on disrespectful (not that I'm advocating wads of it for a despot like Ahmadinejad, mind you.). And the look in the president's eyes could best be articulated as, "Were it not for this camera, I would rip out your eyes and pee in your dead skull."
Ahmadinejad is cagey. He is an expert at dancing around an answer. He is a chessman when it comes to conversation.
And DGMS on his penchant for Nehru jackets. Hel-lo Ahmay? It's 2007, not 1967. I swear he dresses like Austin Powers ready for a night of groovy-baybay clubbing.
But I digress...back to the interview.
There were the expected questions about Iranian made weapons found inside Iraq (all propanganda according to Mahmoud); his desire to visit Ground Zero (to pay his respects - gag, hock, spew); and his thoughts on President Bush (deadly silence).
Then Pelley got to the point in his interview when he told the president of Iran that he had interviewed President Bush recently and asked him what he would say to Ahmadinejad.
The quote would have been laughable were it not so telling of our own President's complete cluelessness, ego, and tunnel vision, and I actually have to give Mahmoud credit for not guffawing and asking just who Bush was speaking of - himself, or Ahmadinejad?
Ready for the quote?
"You've made terrible choices for your people. You've isolated your nation. You've taken a nation of proud and honorable people and made your country the pariah of the world."
President Pot, meet President Kettle. You're both WHACK.
(Don't get me wrong - I completely respect the office of the President of the United States. It is fraught with difficulties, gravity-laden decision making, political tap dancing, and I suspect, a constant weight-of-the-world-on-one's-shoulders feeling. I wouldn't want the job. I don't want to know everything one needs to be privvy to if saddled with the POTUS moniker.
That being said, while I absolutely respect the position, I find it regrettable that so many who have held it do not.)
Just a little mental pastry to go with your morning coffee.
I ran across this video clip and it's about as close to a real live Build-A-Bear (ok, ok Build-An-Otter) as you're going to find. His name is Capers and he was found when only two weeks old, in the water next to his mother who was, unfortunately, dead. At the time of the video, he was being cared for at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium with plans to move him to the Minnesota Zoo as soon as experts felt they had taught him what he needed for suvival and, well, convinced him he is a sea otter, not a cuddly stuffed animal.
The first story to catch my attention today detailed the truck bomb detonated by another worthless, misguided, soul-less creature in Iraq. His layover en route to his final destination of 72 virgins, who I hope are all hairy men? A residential area of Tal Afaq. The death toll currently stands at 28.
Nineteen of the dead are children.
And while I could go on a tear about this incident - it would simply echo so many I have written about the carnage in Iraq before. You all know where I stand - and when children are placed in the middle, no punishment is too severe for those who cause the damage.
Scratch what I said about those 72 virgins being hairy men. I hope the asswipe who drove the truck is met by 72 virgin feral pigs.
Happy humping, Abdul.
Anyway - instead of ranting about the obvious - I decided to dig a bit deeper, past the top headlines, to see what is going on in the underbelly of the news today, in the hopes there might be something a bit lighter.
Grants are given out for really odd endeavors.
Researchers at the Hanover University of Veterinary Medicine in Germany have successfully jacked around with the genes of a jellyfish and have managed to produce one with 12 heads.
Just what we need, huh? A dozen more reasons not to go in the water.
Animals with multiple heads are rare - they don't occur very often, and when they do, we are sure to see pictures of them online within hours, and their dead bodies inevitably end up in some traveling Ripley's Freak Show. We're weird that way. Even with free front row seats, you can't drag us to the ballet or opera, but give us the opportunity to see a two headed cow or a duck with five legs, and we'll sleep outside Ticketmaster for a week.
All the past research suggests that two or more heads usually aren't better than one, and actually, animals with more than one head typically have greater costs in terms of health problems, with little to show in terms of benefits.
But lead researcher - evolutionary biologist Bernd Schierwater defends his team's time spent dicking with DNA. He believes his findings suggest the suppression of just a few genes could lead to incredible diversity in body plans "from the very beginning," shedding light on "the evolution and development of animal life in general."
I don't know, Bernd. If you really want me to get on board with your research, you need to apply it to something that can truly have an impact on the quality of my life. Now, were you to tweak the stuffing in some turkey genes and be able to give us a Tom with 12 drumsticks? Well, I daresay you'd be a hero around Thanksgiving tables everywhere.
While you're at it - engineer a couple extra wishbones too - my daughters ALWAYS fight over that one.
In other news out of Germany, a 59 year old woman has finally got the lead out.
No, no, no - she's not a geriatric race car driver.
She had a pencil removed from head.
(I told you I was trolling the underbelly today, heck, I was down near the scrotum when I found this one.)
It seems Margaret Wegner has lived with a three inch pencil in her head since she fell on it when she was four years old.
55 years have passed, replete with headaches (I would think so) and nosebleeds caused by the unwelcome Number 2.
At the time of the accident, it was just too risky to attempt removal - think about it - 55 years ago. Surgical instruments were almost medievel compared to what we see today - what were the options? A pencil sharpener to grind it down?
Doctors in a private Berlin clinic were able to remove nearly all of the object successfully. Margaret is happy, although now she has to face the rest of her life like the rest of us - never being able to find something to write with when taking a phone message.
And finally, there's Jake Brown.
You may never have heard of him, but he has been in the news the past week or so.
You see, Jake is a skateboarder. A good one. OK, fine. A great one. So great that he tours and competes in the X Games.
Last Thursday, he was leading the Big Air competition - essentially a snowboarder's half pipe set up without the snow - and launched himself down an 80 foot ramp and up the other side. His first move - a 720 - went well and he went into the second trip down the next ramp and up the other side. As he flew off the edge and into the air - four stories above the ground, something went seriously awry. Instead of maintaining his grip on his board, it flew one way and he flew the other - DOWN.
Watch the video - where the only thing I would be doing is simultaneously screaming my lungs out and flailing like a 12 headed jellyfish, while shitting my pants in mid-air (do they have a name for that move? A Flwailing #2?) - Jake actually had the presence of mind (and clean drawers to boot) to turn his body and land on his heels, then tailbone, then the rest of his back.
This murder took place back in 1998, but is only now coming to a conclusion in a Florida courtroom thanks to our ridiculously easy to pervert judicial system.
Harrel Franklin Brady has spent the past nine years enjoying delays, continuances, and miscarriages of justice for his innocent victims, by repeatedly firing his attorneys, and at one point representing himself.
But on Tuesday, he was finally found guilty.
Back in November of 1998 he attempted to strangle his girlfriend after she had asked him to leave her home. He forced an unconscious Shandelle Maycock and her fully conscious five year old daughter, Quatisha, into his car. Shandelle briefly regained consciousness, and holding Quatisha, jumped from the moving car in a bid to escape.
He caught them both, choked Shandelle into oblivion again and stuffed her into the trunk. Quatisha he shoved back into the car, and then in what I can only describe as a cold, heartless, inhuman, and demonic act, pulled over on a stretch of Florida highway known as "Alligator Alley" in the Everglades, and tossed Quatisha into the water where she was attacked and killed by the animals.
Her body was found two days later - her little skull crushed, missing an arm, you can fill in the rest... coroners determined she was most definitely alive when she was attacked.
Shandelle was dumped, unconscious, in a cane field - she survived. As a mother, I honestly think I would prefer death rather than having to wake each day and fight the thoughts that surely fill her head.
Harrel is guilty. That part was pretty much cut and dried when he was caught nine years ago. All that remains is his sentencing.
Personally? I know of a stretch of Interstate 75 and some hungry gators who would be more than happy to assist in a death sentence.
This is one case where, surely, the punishment should not just fit the crime - it should replicate it.