Monday, August 31, 2009

R.I.P. Nikki Harris (1970-2009)

The blogging world has lost one of its own... Anika Harris Vines, aka "Nikki" or "Nikki Harris" on Facebook. She was so full of life, humor, and was just a really cool person. She could always make me laugh. We never met in person but, I always felt as if I knew her. She made you feel at home, like an old friend. She lived in the ATL but, she was actually a Brooklyn girl. You would have never known it though... Nikki had that southern girl charm.

I could be passionately angry about some injustice and railing away at the powers that be on one of my blog posts and she'd leave a hilarious comment at the end of my post that would just bust me up and send me into gales of laughter... that was Nikki and that's why we all loved her. She was just so real and so cool that way. I'm really gonna miss her.

I'm just happy she is no longer suffering. I couldn't think of anything else to say... that was just Nikki in a nutshell. I'm gonna think of her every time I view a sunrise. She so looked forward to them and now, she is bathed in eternal sunrises.

Rest in peace, dear Nikki.

Semenya's Blues

As most of your know, I ran track in high school and my first two years of college so, I'm a very avid track fan, despite the fact that on this blog, I'm liable to talk about basketball, football, and baseball more than any other sports. I'm an even bigger boxing fan and have yet to do a blog post about boxing, other than the deaths of three greats this year.

Well, I've been following the World Track Championships and, like most people, I've been caught up in the near inhuman speeds of one Usain Bolt. Is he really that fast or is this a hoax? So, when the story of Casta Semenya broke, I barely noticed it. Despite all of the other stories of the World Track Championships, this one wouldn't go away... it just kept coming back. Here is her story in a nutshell...

For many South Africans, the international brouhaha about whether Caster Semenya is too masculine to compete in women’s track events has been an affront to everyone here, as if a callous world wants to peek beneath the entire nation’s boxers and panties to evaluate what it sees. Some commentators have found the matter so demeaning that they compare Semenya’s plight to that of Saartjie Baartman, an African woman taken to Europe in the early 19th century and exhibited like a wild beast under the name Hottentot Venus. Scientists scrutinized her genitals. Can you believe this?

Semenya returned home yesterday from Berlin, where last Wednesday she handily won the 800 meters race at the track and field World Championships. The victory came just hours after international track officials said that Semenya, a muscular and husky-voiced 18 year old, needed to undergo "sex determination" testing to confirm her further eligibility. (What the hell? Yes, I had to say that... What is sex determination testing?) Has there ever been any other sex determination tests done?

Since then, she has become a national hero and her story, the tale of a poor girl from a remote village, a source of inspiration. More than a thousand people greeted her at Johannesburg’s main airport. Many carried placards... “Our Golden Girl” or “Simply the Best.” As the crowd waited, they sang songs from the liberation struggle and danced to the beat of a bass drum.

Hours later, a 10-motorbike convoy led the track team to the presidential guest house in Pretoria. Semenya, in a track suit with her gold medal hanging around her neck, walked side-by-side with Jacob Zuma, the country’s leader, to face the media. The runner did not have much to say, constraining her comments to the race she won... “I took the lead in the 400 meters and I killed them. They couldn’t follow. I celebrated the last 200 because I knew, man.”

Zuma, speaking for an aggrieved nation, was edgier with his remarks. He said the government had written a letter to the International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body for track and field, “expressing our disappointment” with the way things were handled. Anonymity is usually given during an IAAF investigation. Zuma said, “It is one thing to seek to ascertain whether or not an athlete has an unfair advantage over others. But, it is another to publicly humiliate an honest, professional, and competent athlete.”

Lamine Diack, the IAAF president, has admitted that confidentiality was breached, calling it “regrettable”, and asked for an inquiry. But, his admission has not dampened the outrage. South Africa is the continent’s richest nation. Scarred by apartheid, it is now a young democracy that in many ways is still trying to find its feet. The government is thin-skinned about criticism. Next year, the country will host soccer’s World Cup, a first for Africa. People here often speak as if the rest of the world, especially the West, hopes that the event will be a failure, confirming all their negative prejudices.

Similarly, Semenya’s travails are viewed as yet another effort to demean African success. Racism was again alleged during yesterday’s homecoming, an event that seemed less a spontaneous burst of enthusiasm by sports fans than a choreographed welcome by political professionals. Much of the crowd at the airport was bussed in by affiliates of the governing African National Congress. Other political parties sent smaller contingents. An additional celebration was held in an airport parking lot. Semenya had little to say from the podium except “Hi, everyone.” But, Julius Malema, the leader of the ANC youth league, made a pointed observation about the demographics of the crowd. He demanded to know, “Where are the white South Africans to welcome Caster?”

A back story to the controversy has been a guessing game about who complained to the IAAF about Semenya. News stories here have blamed unnamed Australians. But Tuesday, Leonard Chuene, the president of Athletics South Africa, claimed that secret evidence showed that the accuser was from South Africa, and Malema added that it was “a media institution.”

Chuene, who oversees the nation’s track program, has been the leading voice of defiance against the IAAF, quitting his position on the federation’s board over the issue. “We are not going to allow Europeans to define and describe our children,” he said... adding that South Africa will not cooperate in any gender testing by “some stupid university somewhere.” This entire incident is demeaning and utterly ridiculous, regardless of who lodged the complaint.

What it is saying is that this woman just can't be this fast, just can't be this good, and therefore, she must be a man. Would anybody dream of asking Usain Bolt or some Australian or German man to pull down his shorts so they check to see if he, in fact, has a penis? If Semenya was a tall and husky woman from the Netherlands or Sweden, would her gender still be questioned? I think not.

In all fairness, in the 1960's, the Soviet Union and East Europeans were often accused of entering men in women's events to get the advantage. But, to my knowledge, no one athlete was ever accused or had their identity revealed before the media like this woman. If there was any investigation, it was strictly confidential. During last year's Olympics, some female gymnasts from China were accused of being younger than their given age and you don't know the names of any of them, do you? What has happened to Semenya is just wrong on so many levels.

I'm calling for people of fair minds and good sportsman around the world to stand up for this young woman and put an end to this ridiculous farce! This is racism, sexism, and far worse... stupidity at its highest degree. And, this is frightening!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekend Humor


This one is priceless... a lesson to be learned from typing the wrong email address!

A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day.

The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room so, he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address and, without realizing his error, sent the email.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her email expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she gasped and fainted. The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I've Arrived
Date: August 29, 2009.

I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in. I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then!

Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.

P. S. Sure is damn hot down here!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baptist Guilt

I got evicted from my very first apartment! Yes, me and the five guys that I was living with... you heard me right... five guys, got evicted. Somehow, between the five of us, we couldn't come up with the rent money. The landlord, Old Mr. Brown, didn't give me the impression that he liked people that looked like me anyway and he hated me, in particular. I was always guilty of having a smart mouth back then, especially to folks like Old Mr. Brown.

My mother, God bless her, used to constantly lecture me about the future she was working for and hoping for for me. She used to say, "Do you think that I like getting up every morning and going out here to this durn (she never said damn) job everyday and taking this abuse? I'm doing this because I want you to be able to have an education so you can get a good job, work in an office, and not have to take this kind of crap. I want you to be somebody." I suppose every parent of that generation gave their kids that lecture. Some of it went through one of my ears and out the other but, part of it... the important part... stuck with me and I remembered it. I kept it in the back of my mind.

So, here I was being evicted. There's nothing worse than having to break into your former apartment like a common thief to get your belongings out in the cold of the winter and then, sleep back in the dorms with the juniors and sophmores until you can swing another apartment. It was moments like this that made the best part of me come to the forefront.

My mother also used to lecture me about the company I kept and how one can be judged by it. So, the next apartment I had during my senior year, I got with just two other guys. One, like me, had a job and the other one was the child of the Black Bourgeoisie (or so he always claimed). At any rate, his parents kept a check floating every month and with the checks my other room mate and I were getting from working, our rent and utilities were covered.

The shame of that first experience taught me to always pay my bills on time. I never wanted to ever be out on the street again... and (knock on wood), I haven't been since then. I had to have somewhere to lay my head at night and I needed electricity, gas, water, and a working telephone. Those things were motivation enough for me to get my act together. Most people realize that their parents aren't so insane around the time they become someone's parent and/or someone's spouse themselves. For me, the beginnings of that was right about this time.

My Grandmother used to tell me that whereever I went, never forget who I was and how I was raised. Getting evicted and breaking into an apartment that had been padlocked (and breaking a couple of other laws that I won't mention in this post) was not how I was raised. The shame of it brought home the lesson they both were trying to teach me. They say that a word to the wise is often sufficient. Whoever wrote that was not talking about me back then or one of my neighbors today.

I have a neighbor who has had his electric cut off numerous times, as well as his phone and cable. I attempted to show him how to balance his budget and pay his bills but, he remarked... "Everybody isn't Beaver Cleaver like you." I had to laugh because he had no idea who he was talking to and no idea of some of the things I've done and of some of the things that have happened to me. While I wasn't Eddie Haskell, I wasn't Wally or The Beav either! I'm not even Cliff Huxtable!

In many ways, I was a spoiled child. I had a roof over my head, always had plenty to eat, and always had clean clothes. I worked and my parents, for the most part, let me and my brother keep most of our money (they didn't take much, if any, of it). So, when I went to college, I pretty much acted as though I was priveledged... same as the young college students I see everyday at my job. Bad decisions, immaturity, and some hard lessons brought me to where I am today.

A lot of my friends today call me "Beaver Cleaver", "Boy Scout", and such because I pay my bills and they've never seen me drunk. Now, that doesn't mean that I haven't been and I'm not just talking about college. I'm talking about after college too! They don't know that I've had bill collectors after me too and that I've had a few choice words with the State of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Government a few times. I've just been smart enough to cover up a lot of things I did and well, because I was blessed or cursed (depending on how you look at it) with what I call "Baptist Guilt", I always thought about how I was raised and who I was supposed to be, despite doing what I wanted to do, when I felt the notion.

I think that, to become a good husband, father, and a responsible adult in general, you have to get a lot of stuff out of your system so that you can move on. I've done just about everything that I felt I was bad enough to do at a time and I no longer feel a need to prove anything to anybody. I've been a child and I guess I got to a point where I felt like being an adult. I like being an adult and have liked it for some time now. And no, I don't have to proclaim to the world... "I'm a grown ass man!" I think people who say that, often aren't sure and are trying to convince themselves, as well as whoever they are bellowing at.

I'm thankful for my mom and grandmother's warnings, lectures, and admonishments. They are the reason I have a roof over my head today, the electric is on, the water is running, and I can make a phone call. They simply told me... you must one day be an adult because that's why
we sacrificed for you. Nothing more, nothing less. It would be a dishonor to their memory for me to be anything less. Plus, I'm just too old to be anything else at this point.

My neighbor, the one who called me "Beaver Cleaver" and the inspiration for this post, is across the street arguing with the gas man. His car got repoed last week. He's two years older than me, by the way, and still a child. It seems like a little "Baptist Guilt" would have done him some good!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Was MJ Murdered?

One day, I'm celebrating the music of Prince and his ladies, the next night I'm writing about Michael Jackson. You know, I hate to write about his death... I'd rather be celebrating his music and his talent.

Today, the Los Angeles County coroner ruled Michael Jackson’s death a homicide and a law enforcement official told this to The Associated Press. This finding makes it more than likely that criminal charges will be filed against Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who was with the pop star when he died on June 25th of this year.

The coroner determined that a fatal combination of drugs was given to Jackson just hours before he died in his rented Los Angeles mansion, according to the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity (Don't they always?) because the findings have not been publicly released (and he might lose his job). Forensic tests found the powerful anesthetic "Propofol" acted together with at least two sedatives to cause Jackson’s death, the official said. (I'll tell anybody... anesthesia is some damn good sleep but, Mike and his people took it too far.)

Dr. Murray, a Las Vegas cardiologist who became Jackson’s personal physician (WTH?) weeks before his death, is the target of a manslaughter investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. NBC Dateline's Josh Mankiewicz confirmed that Dr. Murray is indeed the target of a manslaughter probe. (i.e. He's in big doo-doo right about now.)

According to a search warrant affidavit unsealed Monday in Houston, Dr. Murray told investigators that he administered a 25 milligram dose of Propofol around 10:40am, after spending the night injecting Jackson with two sedatives in an unsuccessful attempt to get him to sleep. (If you recall, he denied administering anything to Michael Jackson, just two days after the singer's death.)

The warrant dated July 23, states that lethal levels of Propofol were found in Jackson’s system. Besides the propofol and two sedatives, the coroner’s toxicology report found other substances in Jackson’s system but, they were not believed to have been a factor in the singer’s death, the official said.

Dr. Murray has spoken to police and last week released a video saying he “told the truth and I have faith the truth will prevail.” His attorney, Edward Chernoff, had no immediate comment but, has previously said Dr. Murray never administered anything that “should have” killed Jackson. A call to the coroner’s office was not returned on Monday.

According to the warrant, Dr. Murray had been treating the singer for insomnia with the sedative for six weeks. Murray said he had been trying to wean Jackson off the powerful sedative by using smaller doses in combination with the sedatives Lorazepam and Midazolam. (Is it just me or, are these drugs that you never even knew existed?)

On the morning Jackson died, Dr. Murray said he tried to induce sleep without using Propofol, starting first with Valium at 1:30am. When Jackson was still awake at 2:00am, Dr. Murray injected him with Lorazepam, then injected him with Midazolam at 3:00am. Dr. Murray told police that he administered several other drugs over the next few hours. Here is where the story gets murky...

By 10:40am, Jackson was still unable to sleep and "urged" Dr. Murray to give him Propofol. Dr. Murray said in court documents that he administered 25 milligrams of the drug at that time and then, he left Jackson alone under the influence of the drug to make phone calls to his Houston office. (Or, was he calling his lawyer? Had he already realized that something was going horribly wrong? I'll leave that up to you to speculate.)

When Dr. Murray returned, Jackson was not breathing. He performed CPR while a member of Jackson's staff called 911. The singer was rushed to UCLA Medical Center where he was pronounced dead sometime later. The affidavit says, while Dr. Murray acknowledged to police that he administered Propofol, authorities found no evidence that he had purchased, ordered, or obtained the medication under his medical license or Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) tracking number.

Police detectives found about eight bottles of the anesthetic in Jackson's house along with other vials and pills that had been prescribed to Jackson by Dr. Murray, Dr. Arnold Klein, and Dr. Allan Metzger. Valium, Lorazepam, Clonazepam, Tamsulosin, and other drugs were also confiscated in the search, and Propofol was found in Murray's medical bag. According to the warrant, Dr. Murray told police he was not the first doctor to administer Propofol to the singer.

Authorities subpoenaed medical records from D. Klein, Dr. Metzger, and Dr. David Adams, in addition to Murray, the affidavit states. They also asked for medical records from Dr. David Slavitt, who conducted the independent medical examination of Jackson for Anschuntz Entertainment Group, Dr. Randy Rosen, and nurse practitioner, Cherilyn Lee.

The affidavit also states that Jackson told Dr. Murray that two doctors in Germany had given him Propofol. Dr. Murray said he repeatedly asked Jackson what other physicians were treating him and what drugs they were prescribing. Dr. Murray said Jackson refused to give him that information.

Dr. Murray is probably going to be charged and arrested in the next few days for manslaughter. While he should take some of the blame for what happened... I named at least three or four other doctors here. These doctors's records are being examined by law enforcement officials right now but, there is little or no talk of indictments.

I'm going to stand alone here and say that Michael bares part of the responsibility for his death. He was asking for these drugs and he was surrounded by a lot of despicable and shady people who got him whatever he asked for and, more importantly, whatever he "paid" for. If any one of these people had of said no to Michael (and there were some who did), there would have been three or four more who would and did say yes to him, and were paid handsomely. It's a dirty business but, there is no one reading this post who doesn't know that. It's just a shame that Michael walked blindly into that good night knowing that too!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Prince's Purple Harem

I loved Michael Jackson in the 80's and anyone who knows me knew it. But, I wanted to be Prince! I loved the music that both guys put out and unlike others, I never compared or felt the need to get involved in one of those who's better debates. I just enjoyed both of them in their hey day and purchased music by both of them.

I was in a club a few weeks ago and the DJ played an awesome mixture of both Michael Jackson and Prince's greatest hits from the 80's... I'm talkin' about "Billie jean", "Beat it", "1999", "Let's Go Crazy", " Wanna Be Startin' Somethin", "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", "When Doves Cry", "Party Up" and my favorite, "Delirious". I haven't danced that much since... well, the 80's. It was great... shout out to the DJ, "Nasty Nate", for putting that hour's worth of great music together. Everyone in there that night was as wet as a fish from sweating after he was finished. Everyone? Well, mostly everyone there that night was around the same age as both Michael and Prince, which means that we ranged in age from our late 40's to our early, early 50's. Sorry, hip-hoppers... he hit you guys up next.

The inspiration for this post came because he ended his set by playing some songs produced by the icons and performed by women. First, was the wildly successful (and forgotten) "Centipede" by Michael's big sister, Reebie... and, the second was "Muscles" by Diana Ross. Then, he played "Sugar Walls " by Sheena Easton and "Glamourous Life" by Sheila E. And, there it was... the basis for this post.

Diana Ross, although she is "The Boss", is about 14 or 15 years older than me nd Micheal's sister, Reebie, is pretty much out of my age range too. But, on the other hand, Prince always had an array of women that might have sat in front of me in high school... Vanity, Appolonia, Sheena Easton, and Sheila E., just to name a few, and therein lies the rub of why I said that I wanted to be Prince... his genius for music and his mysterious women. Nevermind that neither Vanity or Appolonia had any talent outside of their looks... the fact that, for a minute, Prince made them appear to be a star was good enough for me.

So what has happened to them? I was reading about some of their fates in "The Root" and here is what I found out...

Sheila E.

Back in the day, Prince wrapped himself in that whole fabulously mysterious Purple Majesty thing. If you came of age in the ‘80s, chances are that you wanted, above anything, to be a part of his crew. And, usually being part of his crew meant being young, beautiful, female, and racially ambiguous. Percussionist Sheila E. was all of those things. But, she also had something else going for her... she could play. Prince helped her record her first solo album, "The Glamorous Life", which brought her glamor and multiple Grammy nominations. Once Prince moved onto other protégées (the "Purple One" bored easily) Nicole Richie's aunt, Sheila Escovedo (Sheila E.) continued to have a thriving music career, jamming with everyone from Tito Puente to Placido Domingo to Patti LaBelle. This year, she won Grand Prize on CMT's hit show, "Gone Country 3". She's found religion, too.... it goes with the territory. Even Prince thinks his old songs were too nasty... now he's a Jehovah's Witness.


She was gorgeous and she got to hang out with Prince. So what if she couldn't sing? That didn't stop "Nasty Girl," her seriously raunchy single with girl group Vanity 6, from topping the charts in '82. Before Madonna made the bustier a fashion statement, Vanity, aka Denise Matthews, was rocking the lingerie. Wannabe nasty girls started teasing their hair and sneaking out the house in their underwear. (This must of been in Minneapolis, beause I certainly didn't see anybody I knew in Philly sneaking out in their underwear... or at least if they were, it had nothing to do with Prince or any trends in fashion or music-:)) Life after Prince wasn't easy for Denise Matthews. She left Vanity 6 in 1984, trying for a solo career that never took off. She starred in a series of B-movies (i.e. "The Last Dragon", which I went to see and shamefully admit, I kinda liked at the time) and became heavily addicted to crack. Now a born-again Christian, she's a committed evangelist who testfies about her former sin-filled life. Last year, she self-published her tell-all memoir, "Blame It On Vanity."

Sheena Easton

Before she hooked up with my man Prince, Sheena Easton was a hot singer in her own right and she won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1981. But, under Prince's tutelage, the squeaky-clean Scot embraced her inner slut. In 1984, she released "Sugar Walls," an ode to her lady parts, a single written and produced by Alexander Nevermind (of course, that was really Prince). The pair sang together in the 1987 hit, "U Got The Look", one of my favorites. Like most of Prince's women, Sheena Easton didn't sparkle as brightly after she left Prince's court. She starred briefly in the '80s TV blockbuster, "Miami Vice" but, her character was killed off. (Remember, she played Sonny Crockett's 2nd wife? I hated when that happened but, it was one of the great Miami Vice episodes.) She hasn't had a chart hit since 1991, Broadway beckoned in the '90s, and she appeared in a 1998 revival of "Man Of La Mancha." Now 50 years old, she's a four-time divorcee and a mother of two. Why is it that so many of Prince's ladies take to sporting giant crosses?

Well, I'll stop right there. You know, someone could write a blog post about what happened to a number of women that I was involved with in the 80's, where they are now, and I probably wouldn't be shed in such a nice light (which is why I have tried to tell my side of the story to all of you good folks that read this blog more than occasionally-lololol).

It was nice to know that most of Prince's female protoge's have turned out pretty good, considering... and, whatever else is missing, we did have some great music and great times. For that, I have to thank the women, Prince, and of course, Michael Jackson.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekend Humor

It's the weekend fam and I just had to share this joke, a friend shared with me yesterday...

A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon!

Four worms were placed into four separate jars.

The first worm was put into a container of alcohol.

The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke.

The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup.

The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results: The first worm in alcohol - Dead.

The second worm in cigarette smoke - Dead !

Third worm in chocolate syrup - Dead!

Fourth worm in good clean soil - Alive.

So, the Minister asked the congregation, "What can you learn from this demonstration?"

A woman who was sitting in the back of the church, quickly raised her hand and said, "Well Pastor, as long as you drink liquor, smoke cigarettes, and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!"

As you can guess, that pretty much ended the service right there!

Have a great weekend everybody! Smile

Friday, August 21, 2009

Keith's Favorite Quotes

F. Scott Fitzgerald

"You don't write because you want to say something...
You write because you've got something to say."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The First Lady's Shorts

I read yesterday that First Lady Michelle Obama wore shorts when she visited the Grand Canyon. I saw a photo of the shorts and I can't, for the life of me, understand who is "outraged" by this and why this is a news story. You might ask why I am further shedding light on this by making it the focal point of this blog post. You can ask and I'll tell you. It's a real slow news day and what else have I got to write about? Or, I can give my stock answer to all things that I don't feel like explaining... because I felt like it.

The shorts that Michelle was wearing were pretty run of the mill. Just shorts... the kind I've seen on any number of women in my (and her) age bracket. They were certainly nothing that would make me crash my car into the back of another car or if on foot, run into a lightpost from looking so hard. For the record, I have never done either of those things while gawking at a woman but, I have seen plenty of my fellow males do it.

She was at the Grand Canyon in the middle of August and the temperature was probably well over 100 degrees. What was she supposed to be wearing? Jeans? A long wool skirt? Please! I would like to know just who was outraged and if so, what do they wear in the summer? I've got on shorts right now. If she had attended a state dinner with the president in those same shorts or met a foreign dignitary in those shorts, then I might see a few eyebrows being raised... but, she was on vacation, idiots! It's August! It's hot! What's the problem?

Such is life when you're a "negro first". She's the first African American First Lady in history so, everything she does is going to be magnified and twisted around in various ways. I guess it just comes with the territory. If President Obama goes to his native Hawaii next week and goes to the beach, he should have on a suit (with an American Flag emblem on the lapel) as he attempts to enter the water or somebody will be "outraged" about it!

I guess there aren't enough sex scandals or charges of misconduct to satisfy some people. I mean they can only drag the birth certificate thing so far. The First Lady's legs are about as close as the President's critics can get to any kind of scandalous behavior. The press in Europe must be shaking their heads at the American people at this point. I can hear some of them muttering now... "And, this country is a Super Power?"

I'm going to ask this question just one more time... Did anybody notice how hot it is outside? Go home and put on some shorts!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You Really Can't Go Home Again

The night before last, I was listening to some really good music from out of my pre-adolescent past... Issac Hayes, David Porter, Curtis Mayfield, Temptations, Chairman of the Board, Freda Payne, and an assortment of others who are long forgotten now, except by people of a certain age bracket. The music brought back some fond memories.

The next day, I loaded up my CD player in the car with Stevie Wonder's 1972 breakout album "Music Of My mind", The Main Ingredient's "Afrodisiac", Black Ivory's "Don't Turn Around", and then, I took off for work. The difference is, I didn't go my usual route. I drove through a neighborhood... an old neighborhood that I used to live in, used to hang out in, and used to feel pretty good in.

I know that I am dating myself by saying this but, the music sounded so much better in my car than it ever did when I had a record player (not a turntable but a record player) because the record ticked, popped, and pinged as it played. This music was from a certain summer, which I'm not going to talk about on this post, that was particularly nice. I had my first real girlfriend, I learned how to swim, and I started growing that summer, if you know what I mean (and I figure if you're over 13 years old, you do).

I rolled my car window down and I could almost smell the faint odors of pizza, hot dogs, and marijuana that was just beginning to be experimented with by some of my more "advanced" friends. We were becoming teenagers and the whole world seemed new. The music was good and the times were good.

The wonder of selective amnesia... I peered around at this neighborhood and a lot of the homes which had been so well kept were now boarded up. This was a tree-lined block and even the trees were gone. A lot of the "characters" I knew are now dead or, at least, not living around there anymore. The girls are now women with children and some are like me, grandparents by now.

I liked taking the trip back down memory lane but, at the same time, I wouldn't trade all that I have learned and all that I have become to go back to that point in time again. It was just nice to remember it. You really can't go home again. You should only just drive by, look, smile, and keep going, as I did. So, I started my car, smiled, and pulled off towards the road that would lead me to my job.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Shocked!!! Why???

I hate to write about stuff like this... I really like to keep it smurfy over on here but, too much is happening that is taking your favorite "Maverick Of All Bloggers" out of his usual smurfy mood. The latest is the investigation of a triple murder that occurred when I was 6 years old that should have been solved then.

Federal authorities will continue to investigate the 1964 Mississippi killings of three civil rights workers, a case that helped pass landmark legislation, despite the death of a key suspect, the Justice Department says. Billy Wayne Posey, 73 years old, died last Thursday. Federal investigators were looking into his possible involvement in the June 21, 1964 killings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, who had been working to register black voters. Posey's funeral was this past Saturday in Philadelphia, MI, the town at the heart of the case.

On Friday afternoon, Alejandro Miyar, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said the death does not "alter our cold-case investigation." The Clarion-Ledger reported that he said federal authorities are assisting state investigators who could bring state charges. Goodman's brother, David Goodman of New York City, said... "This is still the country of law and order, and the laws are clear. There is no statute of limitations on murder."

The slayings that shocked the nation helped spur passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was dramatized in the 1988 movie "Mississippi Burning." I saw the movie in 1988. Entertaining as those types of movies go, but a big load of Hollywood feel-good crap as far as the facts go. This leads me to my point... Why was the nation shocked by this in 1964? They should have been shocked by it in 1904, when it was at its peak. Black people have been kidnapped, lynched, and gone missing for years in the south (and according to my mother and two of my late aunts, even up here in liberal Northern Pennsylvania) and nobody was shocked until those three civil rights workers were lynched in 1964.

I would hate to be the general of any army, as misinformed and unaffected by things as the American people seem to be at times (as my posts from last week more than illuminated), only to be shocked years after the fact. There is an ugly rumor that when the FBI was looking for the bodies of the three civil rights workers, they dragged the Mississippi River and found the bodies of hundreds of dead African-Americans who had gone missing for years and had been lynched. They voted to keep this out of the papers for fear that a major race riot might have erupted with news of their findings. And, America is shocked! Well I'll be damned! I'm gonna ask my blogging brother Carey Carey to forget what I wrote as a comment on his last post. This makes me cussin' mad... I feel like cussin' right now!

I applaud the fact that the Justice Department wants to do right, reopen this case, and bring everyone involved to justice but, on the other hand. it's a little too late. It's 2009 and most of those Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members who took part in all that mayhem are dead and gone to hell by now. The ones who are still alive have one foot in the grave and another one on a banana peel, to quote my late grandmother. What is the point in bringing them to justice now, when you could have brought them to justice in 1964?

Everybody in Philadelphia, MI knew who was involved in the killings. Only seven guys actually served any time and that was for civil rights violations. (Yeah, they violated their civil rights... their civil right to breathe in and breathe out.) The FBI knew that the great state of Mississippi would never bring state charges of murder against any white man for killing a black man in 1964. This was the only avenue they had to get any semblance of justice.

In the summer of 1964, hundreds of FBI agents investigated the trio's disappearance, leading to the discovery of their bodies buried 15 feet beneath an earthen dam. In 1967, 18 men went on trial for conspiring to violate the civil rights of the three victims, and seven of them were convicted. One of the seven, former Neshoba County Sheriff's Deputy Cecil Price, told authorities before his 2001 death that he told Posey in 1964 that he had just jailed the three civil rights workers on a traffic charge and asked Posey to get in contact with Edgar Ray Killen, who helped to orchestrate the killings. The only murder prosecution took place in 2005 when a jury convicted Killen, a reputed KKK leader, on three counts of manslaughter. He is serving 60 years in prison.

Civil rights activists have been pushing for more murder charges. Authorities have said that at least four suspects remain alive. In a 2000 statement, Posey told investigators there were "a lot of persons involved in the murders that did not go to jail" but, he did not identify them. Now he's dead. The others may never be identified and, even if they are and they go to prison, they'll probably be dead in a few years anyway. They've had their entire lives to live while Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner have been moldering in their graves for 45 years. Where is the justice in that?

It's too late for any real justice for them but, I want to thank them. I want to thank all of the people in the civil rights movement for their sacrifice. Because of them, I can live a life where I don't have to fear the kind of death that they suffered. And, because of them, I can put my size 12 + 1/2 foot up the crack of a Klansman's hind parts and fear no reprisals. Once again, I thank you and Carey Carey. I'm sorry... hopefully, your smurfy "Maverick of All Bloggers" will return tomorrow!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Redemption Signing

I found out the news on Facebook. I saw someone's status report that read... "Vick with the Eagles? Maybe they needed a McNabb Replacement." I did a double take and then, I saw another Facebook entry that read... "Vick with the Eagles. Now, they'll have the fastest backfield in the NFL." I said, "What?" At the time, I was chatting with two people on Facebook and I asked one of them, my frat brother, if he'd heard the news that Michael Vick was on the Eagles? He was equally surprised so, he turned on ESPN... and, yes sirrrrr! There was the news... Mike Vick was indeed an Eagle!

This hit me like a ton of bricks because I did not see that coming... didn't imagine it. With the exception of Terrell Owens, this team has steered clear of controversial players, Donte Stallworth not withstanding. Vick's agent, Joel Segal, confirmed the deal to on Thursday afternoon. Vick will make $1.6 million for the first year of the deal. The Eagles have an option on the second year for $5.2 million. The deal was reached on Tuesday but wasn't finalized until Thursday.

Several head coaches have said that they would love to have signed Vick but were unable to because of trepidation on the part of their owners. Vick makes sense for the Eagles as a second QB option if Donovan McNabb goes down with an injury (as we in Philadelphia know he is prone to do at sometime in the season).

Vick has not played in the NFL since 2006. The former Atlanta Falcons star was convicted in August 2007 of conspiracy and running a dogfighting operation. He was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison and suspended indefinitely by the NFL. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally lifted Vick's suspension on July 27th, allowing him to sign with a team. Vick can immediately take part in pre-season practices, workouts, meetings, and can play in the final two pre-season games. He can apply for full reinstatement by week 6 in October.

The Eagles went to the playoffs last season under McNabb and are still looking for their first Super Bowl win. The team, though, is a surprise landing point for Vick. It was among 26 clubs that said there was no interest in Vick but, that may have changed when backup Kevin Kolb strained a knee ligament earlier this week. Kolb's injury isn't serious and he's expected to return next week. The Eagles also have veteran A.J. Feeley.

When news of Vick's signing circulated in the press box during the first half of the Eagles pre-season opener against New England, even the team's public relations staff seemed surprised. McNabb has led the Eagles to five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance in the last eight years. He was rewarded with a $5.3 million raise in the off-season. The Eagles tore up his old contract with two years remaining and gave him a new deal worth $24.5 million over the next two seasons.

Apparently, a lot of people on the Eagles staff read this blog (shameless plug -:) ). I wish Mike Vick and his new team,The Philadelphia Eagles all the luck in the world. I'm going out and look for a Mike Vick Eagles Jersey now!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Continuing Dialogue (What You Ought To Know)

In my last post, I wrote about the lunatic fringe, the misinformation (i.e. lies) that they have been spreading, and how there has been mass panic in the "heartland" over the attempt by the Obama administration to reform our present health care system. I have seen the absurd and the ridiculous over the past few days. A fist fight broke out at one of these meetings and one of the people injured was one of these protesters. Guess what? The protester didn't have any health insurance. I heard one man say that, even though he doesn't have any kind of coverage, he didn't want the "Obama Administration "deciding what kind of coverage he should get”. Incredible… the level of pure stupidity in some parts of this country!

The pure genius of the Republican Party is that they can get people from the lower classes that have nothing in common with the upper class interests they really represent to be their staunchest supporters. At the core of this is racism and the desire to "break Obama" by "breaking Obama", the President. People still get no health care and many are still uncovered. In other words, we all lose.

I saw one woman say that she was not a racist but, if "those people want health care coverage then those people should get a job." I'm sure she is not a racist… why, some of her best friends are probably African-American. But, enough of that… here is what you should know if the health care initiative is still kind of foreign and murky to you. The information is provided courtesy of the good people at Move On:

Top Five Health Care Reform Lies—and How to Fight Back

Lie #1: President Obama wants to euthanize your grandma!

The truth: These accusations—of "death panels" and forced euthanasia—are, of course, flatly untrue. As an article from the Associated Press puts it: "No 'death panel' in health care bill."4 What's the real deal? Reform legislation includes a provision, supported by the AARP, to offer senior citizens access to a professional medical counselor who will provide them with information on preparing a living will and other issues facing older Americans.

Lie #2: Democrats are going to outlaw private insurance and force you into a government plan!

The truth: With reform, choices will increase, not decrease. Obama's reform plans will create a health insurance exchange, a one-stop shopping marketplace for affordable, high-quality insurance options.6 Included in the exchange is the public health insurance option—a nationwide plan with a broad network of providers—that will operate alongside private insurance companies, injecting competition into the market to drive quality up and costs down. If you're happy with your coverage and doctors, you can keep them. But the new public plan will expand choices to millions of businesses or individuals who choose to opt into it, including many who simply can't afford health care now.

Lie #3: President Obama wants to implement Soviet-style rationing!

The truth: Health care reform will expand access to high-quality health insurance, and give individuals, families, and businesses more choices for coverage. Right now, big corporations decide whether to give you coverage, what doctors you get to see, and whether a particular procedure or medicine is covered—that is rationed care. And a big part of reform is to stop that. Health care reform will do away with some of the most nefarious aspects of this rationing: discrimination for pre-existing conditions, insurers that cancel coverage when you get sick, gender discrimination, and lifetime and yearly limits on coverage. And outside of that, as noted above, reform will increase insurance options, not force anyone into a rationed situation.

Lie #4: Obama is secretly plotting to cut senior citizens' Medicare benefits!

The truth: Health care reform plans will not reduce Medicare benefits. 10 Reform includes savings from Medicare that are unrelated to patient care—in fact, the savings comes from cutting billions of dollars in overpayments to insurance companies and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse.

Lie #5: Obama's health care plan will bankrupt America!

The truth: We need health care reform now in order to prevent bankruptcy—to control spiraling costs that affect individuals, families, small businesses, and the American economy. Right now, we spend more than $2 trillion dollars a year on health care.12 The average family premium is projected to rise to over $22,000 in the next decade—and each year, nearly a million people face bankruptcy because of medical expenses.Reform, with an affordable, high-quality public option that can spur competition, is necessary to bring down skyrocketing costs. Also, President Obama's reform plans would be fully paid for over 10 years and not add a penny to the deficit.

We're closer to real health care reform than we've ever been—and the next few weeks will decide whether it happens. We need to make sure the truth about health care reform is spread far and wide to combat right wing lies.

With all that said and, hopefully, read... you can now get back to the Real Housewives of Atlanta. I hear it's going to be good tonight!

(A public service announcement from The Maverick of All Bloggers!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scared Yet?

I've got to know why we listen to her... Please! Somebody tell me why the American people are fascinated and interested in anything the now ex-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, has to say about anything.

Sarah is calling for civil discourse on President Obama's health care proposal. Her latest posting on Facebook came just days after she characterized Obama's plan as "downright evil." Palin now says there are many disturbing details in the bill, but she says people must stick to discussion of the issues "and not get sidetracked by tactics that can be accused of leading to intimidation or harassment."

You've got people who can't spell socialism saying that President Obama is a socialist and that the United States is now a socialist nation. Really? Well, how come we don't have socialized healthcare ? Just like I thought... they are stumped! Scared yet? I am!

If what I'm seeing on television is correct, the people who are coming to the town hall meetings starting all of the commotion are some of the same types who were at the (uh, let's say rather spirited, i.e. racist) campaign rallies for McCain & Palin last year. Since these types usually don't have an original thought in their heads, let's take an educated guess as to just who is programming them and getting them all hyped. Hmmmmmmmmmm, wonder who that would be?

Sarah says that she is scared of Obama's health care initiative. Furthermore, she asked supporters not to give "proponents of nationalized health care "any reason to criticize us". Hah! That ship has sailed already!

You know, real journalists would have asked her what proof she had of the initiative being "evil" as she claims, but no one did and she didn't take any questions yesterday after she made her remarks. I think she called it a "death panel" that would determine who gets health care by their worth to society.

Newsflash, baby... right now if I don't have health coverage at my job or money provided to me by having four brothers that can sing and dance while I lead, my worth to the doctors ain't much. Where have you been?

Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck are good at saying things to scare people (the masses of the unthinking) and then, just leaving it at that. The gutless wonder journalists very rarely take them to task for what they spew, only happy to have a nice soundbite that draws ratings or sells newspapers. Thus, we have mass panic from the "Heartland".

They know that most Americans... black, white, or whatever... don't read anything much after the sports, entertainment, and comics and are more interested in American Idol and The Real Housewives of Atlanta than this stuff. Hell, I don't think Sarah or Rush read much for that matter. They know that they can say just about anything and it is taken for gospel.

So, Sarah Palin is scared, huh? She's scared and she's scaring me. Are you scared yet, America?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Could E-Harmony Have Prevented This?

I wrote about the crazy women who have killed a number of guys lately (Steve McNair, Arturo Gatti, etc.)... but, you know, there are some crazy men out here too and if this dating game is as different and as strange as some of my single friends are saying it is, I'm glad that I'm married and out of it.

Neighbors described 48 year old George Sodini, who worked in the accounting and finance department of a law firm, as anti-social, and the web page in his name showcased a resume setting forth his credentials as an unhappy loner. It listed his date of death, August 4, 2009, and his status of "Never married." He complained of not having a girlfriend since 1984, not having a date since May 2008, and not having sex for 19 years. Hmmmm, if that's true, that might make me want to pick up a gun myself. I kid... I kid...

Sodini wrote, "Women just don't like me. There are 30 million desirable women in the U.S. (my estimate) and I cannot find one." Oh come on! Not one? He should have moved here. He would have found at least one... the way the women around here are jonesin' for any man, not just a "good one". The page ended with the words, "Death Lives!" (On the other hand, he could have kept his crazy butt right where he was, near Pittsburgh.)

On Tuesday night, the gunman walked into his gym wearing workout gear and a headband, he entered a "Latin impact" dance aerobics class, and placed a duffel bag on the ground. He rooted around in the bag for a moment, turned off the lights, took out at least two guns and started shooting. Three women were killed and nine women were wounded. The police said that he may have fired as many as 52 shots before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said, "He walked right into the room where the shootings occurred as if he knew exactly where he was going. I think he went in with the idea of doing what he did." Ya Think? (I love the way some people are great at stating the obvious, don't you?)

Authorities on Wednesday identified the gunman as Sodini, of nearby Scott Township. The three women who died were Heidi Overmier 46, of Carnegie; Elizabeth Gannon 49, of Pittsburgh; and Jody Billingsley 38, of Mount Lebanon.

The 4,610 word web page, on a domain registered in Sodini's name, appeared to be a 9 month chronology of his plans for the shooting, his decision to delay it, and the process that led to the eventual carnage at his health club last Tuesday. Authorities did not immediately confirm that the site belonged to Sodini but, the elaborate nature of the comments suggested authenticity.

An entry dated Sunday state, "The biggest problem of all is not having relationships or friends but, not being able to achieve and acquire what I desire in those or many other areas. Everything stays the same regardless of the effort I put in. If I had control over my life, then I would be happier. But, for about the past 30 years, I have not." The website's author wrote of planning the attack since, at least, November and had tried to do it when the same Tuesday night dance aerobics class he targeted met on January 6th. He wrote, "It is 8:45pm. I chickened out! I brought the loaded guns and everything. Hell!"

A neighbor of Sodini's, Connie Fontanesi, who was interviewed by county detectives Tuesday evening said, "He was so anti-social, we really didn't learn anything personal about him." Usually in these situations, people say the killer was "such a nice guy... I can't imagine him doing a thing like this. But, in this case, there were no such declarations. I believe his neighbors thought that he was quite capable.

Mike Rick, a spokesman for the Pittsburgh law firm of K&L Gates, said in a statement Wednesday that the alleged shooter worked as a systems analyst in the firm's accounting and finance department since 1999. The firm was "deeply saddened by last night's events" and he offered condolences to the families and friends of the victims. The violence rocked the suburban Pittsburgh town of about 5,300 residents, which is located some 8 miles southwest of downtown.

Jordan Solomon, 14 years old, of Mount Lebanon, was in the all-female class and told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it started normally but, she thought it weird when a man walked into the class about 15 minutes later. Solomon said, "The man put a black duffel bag on the ground. He had a sweatband on his head. He was shuffling around in the bag. All of a sudden all the lights went out. I turned around, I saw him holding a gun, and he started firing." Solomon said that the man was expressionless and she didn't hear him say anything. She immediately started to run out of the room and into the parking lot, where she ran into a nearby restaurant and told the workers there to call 911.

Moffatt said that the gunman fired multiple weapons "indiscriminately", didn't say anything before unleashing a burst of bullets and police recovered, at least, two guns from the scene and a note from the shooter's duffel bag but, he would not say who wrote it. "I don't think anyone could have stopped him", Moffatt said.

Five of the wounded victims arrived in critical condition at UPMC Mercy Hospital but, three of them were upgraded to serious condition by early Wednesday. Two women remained in fair condition at another Pittsburgh hospital. One victim was treated and released for a shoulder wound and a woman with a bullet wound to the knee remained in stable condition Wednesday. Authorities initially had difficulty identifying the victims because they had workout clothes on and weren't carrying wallets, Moffatt said.

Loretta Moss, 44, of McDonald, said she was exercising on a treadmill when she heard a popping noise. "I didn't pay any attention and, the next minute, people were screaming" said Moss. She had come to the gym Tuesday night for the first time in a couple of weeks. She said she then heard more pops. "There was a whole spray of them. I'd say about 15 altogether and then, people started screaming, yelling, and started running out the building", she said. "We laid down and then, after the last set of gunshots, we got up and someone said, "Run!"

That was the proper thing to do... run! And, don't trip and fall while you're running the way they do in the movies and on television. Again, I'm kidding. Not to make light of such a tragedy but, if this is the by product of the dating scene, something really has to be done. This is not something that can be legislated either. This is something that we, as men and women, need to do about the way we relate to each other... the way we marginalize each other... and the way we push some folks out of the social circle so far that they become... well, like him!

This isn't a problem that can't be rectified. It can but, it remains to be seen how badly men and women want to change the relationship atmosphere. I wonder if texting, Facebook, Twitter, emailing, and I-chat are making us colder and less able to actually touch and get to know one another or is the problem really in the blackening of our souls? That's the text of another blog post for another time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Seven (7 Things I'm Playing In The Car)

1. Maxwell, "Black Summer's Night"

2. Joe, "Signature"

3. Ginuwine, "A Man's Thoughts"

4. Temptations, "Number Ones"

5. Michael Jackson, "History"

6. Beyonce, "I Am Sasha Fierce"

7. Stevie Wonder, "Live In Japan"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Terms Of Confirmation

So, at last, it's over. She's been confirmed. It's about time, wouldn't you say? Unless you've been living in a cave or too busy listening to far-right conspiracy theories about the President being born in a place other than the United States, Sonia Sotomayor won confirmation yesterday as the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice in a history-making Senate vote that capped a summer-long debate heavy with politics. According to NBC News, she will be sworn in this coming Saturday and Chief Justice John Roberts will administer both the constitutional and judicial oaths. The Senate vote was 68-31 to confirm Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's first Supreme Court nominee.

The 55 year old daughter of Puerto Rican parents was raised in a South Bronx housing project and educated in the Ivy League before rising to the highest legal echelons, spending the past 17 years as a federal judge. As to be expected (ho... hum...yawn), a majority of Republicans lined up against her, arguing she'd bring personal bias and a liberal agenda to the bench. But, Democrats praised Sotomayor as an extraordinarily qualified mainstream moderate and touted her elevation to the court as a milestone in the nation's journey toward greater equality and a reaffirmation of the American dream.

Barack Obama, the nation's first African-American president, praised the Senate's vote as "breaking another barrier and moving us yet another step closer toward a more perfect union." Minutes before the vote, Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the Senate's lone Hispanic Democrat, said... "History awaits, and so does an anxious Hispanic community in this country. When she places her hand on the Bible and takes the oath of office, the new portrait of the justices of the Supreme Court will clearly reflect who we are as a nation, what we stand for as a fair, just, and hopeful people."

The Senate chamber was heavy with history as senators took the rare step of assembling at their desks for the vote, rising from their seats to call out "aye" or "nay." The longest-serving senator, 91 year old Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who has been in frail health following a long hospitalization, was brought in a wheelchair to vote in Sotomayor's favor. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), who is suffering from brain cancer, was the only senator absent.

Yes, a truly historic moment, once again and a step in the right direction. Hopefully, that means that not just the Supreme Court but, one day, every branch of American government will truly look like the American people it supposedly governs and serves. All of the American people... African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Female, Gay, etc. and not just one group of people.

I don't know why anybody in this day and age feels threatened somehow if the President doesn't look like them or if there is a Supreme Court Justice that doesn't look or speak like them. (Will they be asking for her birth certificate next week, declaring that she was born in Spain?) I'm going to come down off my soapbox for just this moment and just be happy for her, her people, and this moment. I'm also celebrating for all Americans because this is an American moment too, just like that day in November of 2008... and I don't care if Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck don't like it. If they got a problem, they can show me their birth certificates because I'm beginning to wonder if they were born in the U.S. or on Mars!

(Another public service announcement from The Maverick of All Bloggers!)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A New Leaf

I bought a 2008 Nissan Maxima this past May and as a result, I'm on Nissan's mailing and email list. I thought it was nice that they sent me an email today telling me of a brand new car of theirs that may give the Hybrid car a run for it's money... but still won't impress George Jetson or Mr. Spacely. We were all supposed to be in flying cars by now, or so I thought in 1969-:)

The electric Nissan Leaf will be introduced in the U.S., Europe, and Japan late next year, according to what Nissan company officials said Sunday at a ceremony that marked both the debut of the car and the opening of their new headquarters in Yokohama, South of Tokyo.

Nissan, Japan's third-biggest car maker by sales volume, will roll out the zero-emission car at a time when rivals are also increasing efforts to offer environmentally friendly models, as emission regulations become stricter and oil prices are rallying.

Nissan's domestic competitors, Toyota Motor Corporation (No. 1) and Honda Motor Company (No. 2), released updated gasoline-electric hybrids earlier this year--Toyota's revamped Prius and Honda's redesigned Insight. Both are scrambling to meet the demand. (This shows you what I know... I thought Honda was an American Company all this time. Doesn't it sound American and Macho? Honda! (Okay, I'm trippin' and going off subject, I know.)

Nissan's electric car could compete with the Prius, the Insight, and other hybrids... but, Mr. Ghosn (Nissan Chairman) maintains that because electric vehicles emit no exhaust, they are distinct from hybrids and conventional vehicles. Nissan said it plans to offer the Leaf at an affordable price, though it hasn't disclosed what that price will be yet.

Nissan's commitment to electric cars, an initiative it first detailed in June, significantly increases the industry's stakes in developing an economically viable battery-powered vehicle. General Motors Company and Chrysler Group LLC are also developing their own versions. (Good, they'd better start making cars that are not only "Green" but, cars that people actually want to drive, if they are to be competitive.

In June, Nissan was granted $1.6 billion in loans by the U.S. Department of Energy and said it plans to use the funds to build the capacity to make more than 100,000 electric cars a year at its plant in Smyrna, TN by 2013.

Mr. Ghosen said that Nissan also continues to improve internal-combustion engines to use in hybrids and diesel-engine vehicles. Further, he said that electric cars are likely to account for just 10% of overall global vehicles by 2020, which means the rest will remain powered by conventional engines.

This is all good news to the American consumer and to enviromental activists... but, I see some people in Saudi, Arabia shaking in their robes and turbans right about now. Don't you? Good!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Theory Of Low Expectation

My cable was out for a couple of hours two nights ago and I had already written my blog posts. So, all I had to amuse myself with was Facebook and the radio. It was just as well because, when I the cable came back on, there was Lou Dobbs on MSNBC entertaining a man who was advancing the ridiculous theory that the far right republicans are championing concerning President Barack Obama's American citizenship.

Enough already! His birth certificate showed up the other day and it states that he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Now, there are clowns asking to see "the long form" or detailed birth certificate. My question is, "Why?" What do they hope to learn from it? Do you think it's going to say that he was born in the Philippines or in Guam or in Kenya?

Come on, would you idiots accept the fact that the President of the United States (yours as much as mine) is the child of a Kenyan father and white American woman from Kansas. He is a mixed race child who is not 100% white, as you all would like him to be, and yes, he is part black. Now, deal with it! What will you be saying next? That he was at the grassy knoll. That he is Osama Bin Laden's cousin?

It's bad enough and pathetic that the grand old party is entertaining the nut fringe. It's even sadder that major television networks like CNN and MSNBC are entertaining them too. I see people emailing on some of the new sites asking, "Why won't he come forth with the long form birth certificate... HAH?" I wonder if I asked some of these writers to produce the long form version of their birth certificates, if they could do so?

It must really be a slow news month. I mean on another news station, they are still giving us Michael Jackson's death watch all night ad nauseum. At least that's somewhat entertaining and enlightening (for the truly brain dead). I mean these poor folks with obviously too much time on their hands are spinning around these ridiculous theories about President Obama and are giving the tabloids a run for their money. I often wonder if they really believe some of the foolishness that they write and say, or if this is really just a flight from reality. The reality that... yes, Virginia... there is a black man in the White House!

Their hope is that someday they'll find a document that says President Obama was born in some foreign country and therefore, cannot be the rightful President of the United States. And, with that being said, John McCain and Sarah Palin can take their rightful places in the White House. Or, better still, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck! I call this, the theory of low expectations.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What I've Learned

1. Forgiveness is a two way street. You have to forgive others and be able to forgive yourself as well. It took me a while to learn that!

2. I was never wild and loose with other people's money but, at times, I was sure crazy with my own!

3. My Grandfather told me stories as a child and I think I inherited his storytelling ability.

4. As a child I loved to sit at the end of a movie or a television show and read all of the credits. I had to know who was in it, who directed it, and who produced it. I was (and still am) the same way about music. I got to know all of the musicians, who wrote what song, who produced it, etc. One of my uncles asked me once if I was looking for a relative in the credits.-lol :)

5. I was so broke one time, I couldn't afford a Coke. I don't even drink soda anymore but, right now, I could buy a case of Coke if I wanted to. (How ya like me now?)

6. Tuesday is probably my least favorite day of the week. I don't know whether to mourn the weekend that just passed or to look forward to the one that is coming.

7. Women want to vent. They don't really want or need your advice. They usually know what they are going to do already but, they need to know a sympathetic ear is there to listen and bounce ideas off of, as well as be supportive.

8. Good guys don't always win but, determined and patient guys seldom lose!

9. Live long enough and you become what you despise.

10. Sometimes you have to lose a little battle before you win a big war!

11. I don't like riding on a bus for a long time. Pretty soon, I'm having conversations with long dead relatives, re-living arguments with old girlfriends, and then, I'm falling asleep!

12. We are all here by grace and mercy... not because of anything great we think we've done!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Life Musings

It's early morning as I write this. It's raining and I'm thinking this would be a great time to finish reading the three novels I started this summer. I was looking out of the window and thinking about my life up to this point. (I was originally going to put this on Facebook but, this thought was a little too long for a Facebook posting.)

In my time here in this life, I have been taken advantage of, been hurt, had my heart broken, and suffered many set backs. But, after each one, I always said... "Okay, that won't happen next time because I'll see it coming and navigate around it." Sometimes, I made the same damn mistake again but, it definitely didn't happen a third time.

I can also say that there were times when I had great triumphs and reached crazy and incredible milestones. After those times I would say... "Wow, this is how you do it! I'm going to remember this... tell my daughter this... tell my grandchildren this." You know... save the good experiences for prosperity, that kind of thing.

The important thing is, you have to live this life. You can't be afraid to try, can't be afraid to make a mistake, and can't be afraid of being hurt, rejected, or looking like a complete idiot. This is life. This is what happens. This is how you learn.

Muhammad Ali said in his autobiography that he learned a very important lesson after he lost his first fight to Joe Frazier and after he dropped another one to Ken Norton. He said that in defeat, he learned how to win! Now, think about that for a minute. If you win all the time and you never have a setback, you start expecting everything to be rosy and when you do lose (and believe me, you will because nobody stays on top forever), you have no idea what has just happened to you.

When life knocks you on your butt, stay down for a minute, think about what just happened, and think about how you'll avoid that punch the next time and stay up. The important thing is, you have to participate, take the bitter with the sweat, rejoice with the ups, and keep your head and your wits about you when it's all falling down. I have been fortunate that I had people to teach me that at a young age and it has stayed with me.

Sorry Facebook, this is one that just had to be for Blogger. Live your life people!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New Blogger In The House

My wife has started a blog of her very own. Stop by and check it out!


"Mommy, can I go to Timmy's blog and play?"

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading