Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fore What?

The other day, the Washington Post did a story on the strong demand for golf carts in the United States. However, it’s not because Americans play more golf than other people around the world.

Apparently, these battery driven carts have now become popular for everyday activities. People in this country are using them to check the mail … to visit their neighbors … and to take the kids to the bus stop.

This is one big example of why beaches in other parts of the world look like this:

And a beach in America looks like this:

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Saturday, November 25, 2006


Do people really change?

As we grow older … do we really change?

I often hear people say, “He or she will never change”

We all know the axiom, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me.

This Christmas season, you are all likely to see at least one interpretation of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. As I am sure you know, it is the Victorian morality tale of an old and bitter miser, named Ebenezer Scrooge. Mr. Scrooge is a moneychanger who has spent his life concentrating on the accumulation of wealth. He holds anything other than wealth in contempt including friendship, love and the Christmas season.

Ebenezer undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of one evening. Several spirits visit Scrooge throughout the night, omnisciently showing him his Past, Present, and Future. These time traveling visions cause him to change his life. He reverts to the generous, kind-hearted soul he was in his youth before the death of his sister.

I have always liked this story a lot. A guilty pleasure for me is the 1988 film version “Scrooged” staring Bill Murray. My favorite part is when the prop guys, despite their best efforts, cannot get the little antlers to stay on the heads of the live mice to be used in the live TV production. Bill Murray asks, “Have you tried staples?”

The idealist in me believes in this story, and the important moral contained within … “It is not too late to turn it all around”. Unfortunately, in real life, I think we more often see the dark side of change.

A girl I know often talks about her ex boyfriend. Although she dated him for a very long time, and they loved one another, he was consistently abusive to her in various ways. After six years she finally came to the conclusion that he would never change, and has painfully closed the book on him.

Another example is a close friend of mine. He used to optimistically wear his heart on his sleeve. He came from a divorced family, which is not unusual growing up in NYC, but he firmly believed in true love. In college, he met this girl and fell deeply in love with her. Over a period of time she cheated on him time and time again. With each act of deceit, I could see the idealism drain away. One final betrayal, later in their relationship, was especially humiliating, and it knocked him to his knees.

Eventually he and this girl broke up, but the fatal blow came many years later when she called him to tell him that her current boyfriend was beating her and threatening her life. He confided in me that this actually cut the deepest. He had loved her so very much. Yet here she was, years later, willing to accept violence and death threats over him.

After that, he was never the same. He became quite cold and callous. He didn’t treat girls that badly, but he didn’t care about them whatsoever. He had been undeniably changed for the worse. The one thing that impressed me about this guy was that he did not perpetuate a cycle of cheating. He just ceased to really care anymore.

I think this cycle of duplicity can be, and often is, perpetuated. It is no coincidence that more than half of sexual predators have been victims of sexual abuse themselves, while more than a quarter had been victims of incest. Similarly, some victims of school bullies transform into bullies themselves and seek out their own victims. This type of cyclical “change” has a negative domino effect.

Now that I have you all ready to jump off a cliff, give this some thought. The cycle works both ways.

Peace activist, Anne Herbert, and college professor, Chuck Wall, helped coin the phrase “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty". However it is Larry Stewart (Below), a 58 year-old businessman from Kansas City who best personifies it. For over 25 years this “Secret Santa” has spent the holiday season giving away money to people in need.

He has only now revealed his identity, because he has developed esophageal cancer. Along with this condition comes a treatment costing close to $20,000 a month. Naturally, his scumbag insurance company will not pay for this treatment. I think it is time for all his good karma to come back to him. I wish I personally had the money to pay for every cent of his treatment. His story is found here.

If you're in a bad situation, don't worry it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry it'll change.

~John A. Simone, Sr.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Go Bruins!

This one is for Zohreh.

This is the unedited footage of the UCLA Powell library incident involving campus police and Iranian student Mostafa Tabatabainejad.

The two comments I would make are:

1) If you are going to TASER someone for not standing up immediately, right after you have just shot them with the TASER, you are either a moron or a sadist ... or both.

*NOT ALL ... but SOME cops and security people have a major streak of power hunger. They can sometimes be just as violent as the people they are meant to protect you from.

Note: With 30 seconds to go in the footage a guard threatens to TASER another student for voicing his disapproval.

2) As someone who works in the film business, this is fairly poor camera work. You will not see this camera phone videographer working for CNN any time soon.

Also available from the University of California Press for a very limited time only.

Remember to bring it back to the library ... or else!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

The love of your life

***Who or what is the love of your life?

It seems like an easy question … right?

For some, it might be their family. I certainly love my family more than I can properly describe. I would lay down my life for anyone of them in a second. Perhaps it is my British upbringing, but family is the most important bond in my life. However, love for family is a subject that seems very cut and dry for me.

Some people love their pets. For many people, their pets are their family. I definitely think that pets are the best way to teach a child to love. I know that my sense of love, in large part, comes from my childhood involvement with animals.

***Do we all have one single love of our lives or do we have many?

Some, like Romeo and Juliet might say, “Just one!” … Others have made the argument, like actor Nick Nolte, that “We have many in our lives, and therefore marriage is an unrealistic concept.”

Then again … Nick Nolte’s dates might have been checking out his mug shot (Above)

I would be foolish to say I had the answer to either of these questions. In fact, there is a good chance that the answer for both is different for different people.

I realized that this year marks the 20th year of my dating life. In those 20 years I have been “involved with dozens and dozens of women, but in that time I have only had a few “loves”.

The first, was a girl I met at Northwestern University named Ariana. She was my first love at the age of sixteen. I thought she was very beautiful, and she certainly made my heart skip a beat or two. Although she was an amazing girl, I believe the strength of our relationship was mainly based on how new everything was for both of us. However, for most of us, our first love is often doomed because it comes at a very early age.

My second “love”, was most likely the strongest love of my life to date. Her name was Tricia, and I met her at a University in Connecticut. In her, I felt that I had found a soul mate. Not only did I find her to be very beautiful, but I also thought she was one of the smartest and most engaging people I had ever met. Unfortunately, with the great highs also came great lows. Although the borders of our relationship are hard to define, we saw each other for quite a long time.

I think there were several things that defined my love for Tricia. For starters, I often had a strong feeling, or longing, to protect her. This is the same feeling I have with members of my family. This made her seem like family to me, and she is still the only person I have ever considered as a candidate for marriage. This need to protect and to care for someone or something, is without a doubt, the feeling I most often find synonymous with love. In light of the drama in our eventful relationship, perhaps some would argue that it was protection from her that I really needed.

One interesting thing to me was that she often accused me of overusing the word “love”. When I was with Tricia I often looked at her and thought to myself, “God … I love this girl”. When I felt that in my heart, I often felt the need to put it in words. I am sure I used the phrase “I love you” many times, but I have never been guilty of carelessly throwing it around at the risk of cheapening it’s meaning. Since my relationship with her, I have never used that phrase with another girlfriend. I wonder if she can truly say the same.

Since then, I have seen many girls. The lion’s share of them have been casual relationships for reasons I have blogged about in the past. However, there have been one or two who cracked the ice a bit. For example, in my late twenties I worked with a girl named Erica. There was something about her that was very special. She was one of a small handful who made me want to “give it another try”. Although I never successfully had any type of romantic relationship with her, I know that she had an impact on me.

A good example of that is this: I called her one night and asked her to have dinner with me. She gave me a fairly luke warm, “I am very busy this week”. I decided I would make lemonade with those lemons, and it was that night that I gave up cigarettes.

I am now trying to find these type of feelings again, and I am making changes in the girls that I now see. I will have to wait and see if lightning strikes twice.

Enough about me! I am anxious to hear about what experiences you all have all had in this arena. Who do you consider the “love of your life”? What run-ins have you had with this four letter word called “love”

"The entire sum of existence is the magic of being needed by just one other person."
-My fortune cookie from dinner

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cold Cash

After railing for months against Congressional corruption under Republican rule, Democrats on Capitol Hill are divided on how far their proposed ethics overhaul should go.

Those for the new ethics rules:

Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, promised “the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.”

Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat, said he was pushing for changes with more teeth.

Those against them:

Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, was embarrassed by disclosures last week that he had dismissed the leadership proposals with a vulgarity at a private meeting.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who will oversee any proposal as the incoming chairwoman of the Rules Committee, said she was opposed to an independent Congressional ethics watchdog.

I have a strong feeling that I can accurately guess what House Democrat William J. Jefferson (Rep Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district) thinks of these new proposals.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm big in Japan ... and Iran?

I never really took much notice of my international web map hit counter. However, I decided to take a closer look the other day. It would seem that I now have visitors to this blog from two areas in Iran as well as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel.

For this reason, I am sure it won't be long before I have visitors from the CIA in Langley Virginia as well.

In fact ... I just noticed that an Arabic web site has added me to their BlogRoll. I wish I was able to read more of this web site, but I must admit I am truly honored.

On behalf of the American people, I would like to apologize for our idiot President and Vice-President. We would also like to apologize for all our celebrities who feel the need to be Muslim on a whim.

I would also like to add that most people living in the US still like Arabic people a lot. The vast majority of the people living in the blue states understand that the Islamic religion is a peaceful one. Don’t let our Showtime programming freak you out.


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Woulda Coulda Shoulda

The White House is trying to calm the resentment of some Republicans who say the party might have fared better on Election Day if President Bush had not waited until after the vote to call for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich publicly suggested that if George Bush had replaced Don Rumsfeld two weeks before the mid term elections, voters might not have been as angry about the unpopular Iraq war.

I find it funny that he looks to Rumsfeld and the Iraq War as the central October surprise, but still has this to say about the Foley scandal.

Remember Newt ... “The only thing that can end your career in politics is being caught with a dead girl … or a live boy.” For a political party that is based on "family values" and vehemently condemns homosexuality, you guys get caught with a lot of boys.

And Newt ... In the spirit of political impartiality, I have found you this video (Below) that should come in handy. It will help you and Dennis Hassert identify the immoral members of your own party long before they become a political liability.

I, for one, like being a Clinton Democrat. At least when we mess with the interns, you can be damn sure they are of the opposite sex.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Kissing is more fun

This coming Thursday is the 16th of November. It also happens to be the America Cancer Society's Great American Smoke Out. You must truly want to quit to be sucessful. For this reason, you might not necessarily want to use that specific date to quit. However it certainly is a great day to start thinking about when you DO want to quit.

Just about six years ago I gave up cigarettes. It was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life.

One Friday in February of 2001 I bought a pack of my usual brand … Dunhill (Blue). I thought about opening it that night, but for some reason I did not. When I woke up the next morning, I decided that I would never open it. To this day it sits in my bedroom, unopened and sealed, as a constant reminder.

Here are some things I can tell you:

- For a few days you will crawl the walls, but you must power through it.

- For up to six months I would have these dreams that I had cheated and smoked a cigarette. I would wake up thinking, “Well I screwed up … I might as well have another.” Since I had that unopened and SEALED pack in my bedroom, I was able to discern that it was only a dream. My own mind was trying to trick me back into the habit. That is fucked up.

- In about a year, you will stop reaching for one and you will be in the clear. You will most likely never look back.

The ACS gives you these milestones:

-20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops.

-12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

-2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

-1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

-1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.

-5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.

-10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker's. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases.

-15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's.

You can calculate the cost of your smoking habit HERE.

If you want a few more reasons to quit, keep this in mind.

* The tobacco industry has hired one lobbyist for every two members of Congress. The major cigarette manufacturers spent well over $40 million in lobbying fees last year alone. With a few exceptions, the Republican behavior on tobacco legislation has historically been pathetic.

* It was the Republican Party that defeated the McCain tobacco bill in the Senate and that prevented the Hansen bill from even being discussed in the House.

*Republicans say that they are against drugs, but tobacco contains a dangerous addictive drug, perhaps the most addictive of them all, and one that is also a gateway drug to all the others.

* Republicans claim to be pro-life. Tobacco causes spontaneous abortion, prematurity, and low birth weight.

* Republicans are, of course, pro-family. And yet nearly half a million families are disrupted every year by a tobacco-related death alone. And moreover, many times that number are disrupted by tobacco-related illness and disabilities.

So … take that cigarette out of your mouth … and put a lobbyist or two on the unemployment line.


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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I'll never be bad again!

Right before the midterm elections I decided to do a little praying. I wasn't expecting too much, since my last few requests had gone unanswered. Plus I was worried that my post about Ted Haggard would put me out of favor with The Big Guy for years to come.

My prayer went something like this:

"Hey God ... I know I don't do this often enough ... but this favor is really important to me. In a perfect world, I would really want the Democrats to win back the House AND the Senate ... but I know that is a long shot."

"If I cannot have that ... please give me the head of Rick Santorum and George Allen on a platter. You know that these two slime balls have it coming ... and it would make me a happy camper to see both these "presidential prospects" bite the big one."


*I must have done something right, because the Democrats took back the House in a big way.
*I also got to hear Rick "The Dick" Santorum give his concession speech surrounded by his crying children.
*Then, in the middle of the night, (Coffee in hand) the numbers started to turn for McCaskill and Webb.
*This afternoon at 2:30pm CNN declared Montana in the Democratic win column 12 hours after Missouri.
*And then, the cherry on the sundae. Over a period of days ... or weeks ... or even months ... I get to watch George "Pork" Allen fall off his high horse, as the state of Virginia seals the Democratic Senate majority.

Now ... the only tie Dick Cheney needs to worry about, is the one around his fat neck.

Thank you God.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Please go vote today.

White ... Black ... Man ... Woman ... Many people have died for you to have this privilege.

PLUS ... Voting just makes you feel good inside.

Please vote (subliminal * Democrat * subliminal) if you live in one of the following States. They are all very close, and your vote will make a difference. Polls in most states will not close until 8pm.

Rhode Island
New Jersey

The young woman pictured above says, "Free hugs for guys who vote (subliminal * Democrat * subliminal)".

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Robo Scum

In at least 53 competitive House races, the National Republican Campaign Committee has launched hundreds of thousands of automated telephone calls, known as "robocalls."

FCC rules say ALL prerecorded messages must "at the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call." During or after the message, they MUST give the telephone number of the caller.

Here is a series of NRCC robocalls smearing Tammy Duckworth
(Pictured Below).

You decide if the NRCC has complied with FCC rules. Then go to their web site and tell the FCC what you think about these tactics.

I for one will never vote with a political party who makes it their business to criticize real war vets, like Max Cleland. These brave men and women have lost limbs on the battlefield, while most Republicans politicians sit on their fat asses here in the the United States.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Bible has a happy ending

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

This first clip gets REALLY good about the 4:20 mark.

Ted ... Ted ... Ted ... Corinthians 6:12-20

And the Lord said unto thee ...

"Thou shall not smoke the crystal meth or the crack rock. and if one is going to spend one's life fighting against gay marriage ... one should not show up on the gaydar screen."

Here endeth the lesson bitch.

Here endeth the lesson.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Virginia is for Lovers

-Jim Webb endorsed on Fox News by two real warriors.

-Jim Webb endorsed by a real Republican.

-George Allen on financial security .... his own.

(Regan Republicans are sick of this crap. They are getting tired of seeing politicians like Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), Bob Ney (R-OH) and Tom Delay (R-TX) who "steer" tax dollars towards "pork" government projects that will enrich them while the tax payer is left holding the bag.

-George Allen on racial tolerance.

Have you ever really listened to someone give a public speech and said to yourself, "That guy is a total scumbag"?

When you look at these two guys ... who gives you that feeling?

In my opinion ... Jim Webb will make a change and a great United States Senator.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What it all boils down to

With midterm elections on the horizon, it's important to give some thought to your political affiliation. When choosing a political party, there are some important things to keep in mind. Making a good selection is vital, and there are subtle differences in the American political party system.

For example, "Waterboarding" can mean different things.

If you are a Republican...

If you are a Democrat...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Oh ... nevermind.