Wednesday, August 31, 2005



I know it's lame posting a link, but at least it'll help you figure out how to help.

In the latest news, my cousin's in Tennessee, my goddaughter and her husband are in Arkansas, and my cousin's son is in Texas.



I've gotten this one a couple of times before, but I thought the timing was ironic; this one arrived in my in box, via Joe Confreda, on Monday, August 29th.

Subject: It will be four years on Sep. 11

almost 4 years and still going ?

Please don't break.....

This is why I always say I love YOU....

This has not been broken since 9/11/01, please keep it going...
This has been kept alive and moving since 9/11. In memory of all those who perished this morning; the passengers and the pilots on the United Air and AA flights, the workers in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and all the innocent bystanders. Our prayers go out to the friends and families of the deceased.


If I knew it would be the last time
That I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I could spare an extra minute
to stop and say "I love you,"
instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
Well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything just rig ht.

There will always be another day
to say "I love you,"
And certainly there's another chance
to say our "Anything I can do?"

But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day,

That you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today,
and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear

Take time to say "I'm sorry,"
"Please forgive me," "Thank you," or "It's okay."
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.

Send this to at least 10 people to show your support.


I'm not forwarding it, but it's perpetually on the Internet now. When you find this via Google, forward the heck out of it. Or not. I suspect you've already done the right thing when it comes to these sorts of things.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Bill Haber, AP
Residents walk through floodwaters Tuesday on Canal Street in New Orleans.
From America Online.


Spent the better part of yesterday and this morning ascertaining the whereabouts of my cousin Jack and his family, who live in Metairie. My Uncle Frank called at 9 this morning from Ballston, NY to ask if I'd heard, but I hadn't. A little later his wife June called to say they'd heard from my cousin, who had evacuated to Chattanooga, TN, where he has business interests and friends. Apparently his wife already wants to go back, but I wouldn't count on that happening soon.

Once more we're faced with our own fragile hold on our home planet. The photos I've seen so far look no different than the tsunami photographs from last year. The toll will be enormous, first in lives, then in lives ruined, as people begin to realize that everything they've saved and treasured has been destroyed. Insurance companies will go bankrupt, and those that don't will probably be unable to pay enough.

Soon we'll hear about how insane it is to live in a region that's situated below sea level, but let's not dwell on that. There are threats from nature to humans everywhere -- tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, mudslides. Which is why the entire concept of humans threatening other humans is so stupid.

I will hold out hope if you know of someone who lives in the area, especially if you still have no word about his or her safety. And please. Let's not hear any sniggering about whose deity may have done what to which area of what country. It's weather, for crying out loud.

I haven't wrapped my mind around the looters, yet. The only photos I've seen so far show people taking groceries, which has that Jean Valjean sound to it. The guys stealing whiskey and DVDs, however...

America Online coverage.

America Online looting coverage.

Monday, August 29, 2005



Major marketers are now looking to blogs to be used as any other marketing tool. The logic is that bloggers are read by people who value the person whose opinions are being published. Word-of-mouth is always stronger than advertising, just as a PR placement is stronger than advertising.

But, that said, to you, my devoted readers, here is my promise: If I hear from Ripple Effects, CooperKatz, MMW Group, Ketchum PR, or New Media Strategies about what I can do to promote their clients, and there's money involved, I am so helping out.

After all, if it works for the president, it should work for me, right?

That said, perhaps you should now take everything I post with a grain of salt. Which you should have been, anyway.

This post has not been sponsored, but I feel compelled to tell you that my deodorant is Old Spice.



There's nothing I can do with this story except send you to see it and have you submit your own joke.

John Cleese is selling portions of his soon-to-be-surgically-removed colon.

Manuel! Manuel!

Friday, August 26, 2005



So the London Zoo has humans -- in fig leaves -- on display this week. They even get games and music to occupy them.

The marketing guy in me loves this. This is weird and quirky and will get people to the zoo in droves to see exactly what's going on. (Although the Y chromosome in me notes that the only names I see connected to this are male, and consequently, I'm not as interested as I could be.)

The marketing guy in me also realizes this is why there's no web-cam for this little stunt. Why go to the zoo if you can sit home in your underwear and watch?

I love stunts like this. A couple of years ago in Japan two athletes were tethered to the side of a building and played soccer there.

But it makes me think. Wouldn't it be cool if we could put some other folks on display this way? I'd love to have a webcam in the Oval Office, for instance. Or maybe be able to look at the kitchen in restaurants -- particularly those restaurants where they purposely keep the lights so dim you can't be sure precisely what you're eating.

AOL story (source of photo, above).

Tuesday, August 23, 2005



When I was a boy, I must have missed the point of my Religious Instruction classes. (Religious Instruction in New York in the 1960s was when the Catholic kids were let out an hour early one day a week to go to the local Catholic school for inculcating. I always wondered if that was when the Protestant and Jewish kids were taught all the stuff I somehow never learned growing up.)

You see, I bought into all that stuff. You know. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." "Love thy neighbor." "Don't give little Timmy a swirly."

Apparently, either the Catholics are loony (well, for the sake of this post, let's assume they're not), or the difference between Protestants and Catholics is way larger than I thought.

You see, even though the Catholic and the King James bibles disagree on which number it is, I seem to recall one of the bigger commandments of the ten is "Thou shalt not kill."

And there wasn't anything conditional about it, either. There's no footnote that says "except for self-defense or in time of war or justifiable homicide or manslaughter or religious disagreement."

It's pretty straightforward, really. Don't kill.

And yet, today, as I'm logging on to check my email, here's a story saying that Pat Robertson thinks that maybe it's time to assassinate the president of Venezuela.

Now, I am thankful that I am now aware that the president of Venezuela may be as bad a person as, if not Osama bin Laden, perhaps Saddam Hussein. This is good information to know, just like it's good to know who the bad guys are anywhere.

But I would like to think that a Christian leader (as opposed to a leader who is Christian, if you grok the dichotomy) would tend to think that the word of God is more important than his own desire for murder.

It's enough to make me want to take the Lord's name in vain.

Thursday, August 18, 2005



I've been collecting forwarded email jokes for about 20 years now. They're in various files on various computers and disks.

My goal is to have them all on the Internet and easily accessible. A database of funny.

Of course, there'll be problems. Almost all of the forwards I get are uncredited. So my goal is to post the blog, and, I hope, learn from kindhearted folks who might actually be the author in question -- without getting sued.

In fact, the first person who threatens to sue me will cause me to shut down the blog.

But... until then... I just began posting to it five minutes ago. The first post is up, courtesy of Interlacker Will Harbaugh. To see it, go here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Friday, August 12, 2005



My longtime pal Mitch Martin, who has a real job working at a major financial magazine (not the one that used to employ me), is involved with the Burning Man festival. While you couldn't get me there unless it was in a stretch Hummer with its own bed, bathroom, maid, and butler, he and other friends of ours (one of whom is Kelly Lyles, a friend of my spouse's college roommate Cindy and of whom we are likewise fond) (check out her website, and particularly her car, "Leopard Bernstein") are. The festival comes up at the end of this month, and he recently sent me this email:

Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 19:01:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Mitchell Martin
Subject: I don't do this very often...

...but I'm asking all my friends and colleagues (and all those random people in my address book who are going to be surprised to read this) for a small donation.

Small, as in $5-$20.

I wish I could say it's for a good cause like saving the world or saving the whales or saving the world from whales, but it's less grandiose than that, although it *is* tax-deductible for those of you subject to U.S. taxes.

As many of you know, I've been associated with the Black Rock Gazette at Burning Man for the past several years. This year, the Burning Man organization decided not to fund the Gazette, except for one preliminary issue. In the scheme of things, a free and sometimes loopy newspaper at Burning Man might not seem like a big deal to many of you, but it's important in the context of providing interesting and reliable information to a community, which the professional journalism world seems increasingly unable or unwilling to do.

Saddened by the loss of our funding, a bunch of the core staff of the old Black Rock Gazette is creating a new newspaper, the Black Rock Beacon. Unlike the Gazette, we have to pay for all of this out of our own pocket, and the dozen or so of us involved have already pledged several thousand dollars of our own money to it. We're also spending a lot of time working on it ahead of Burning Man, which takes place at the end of August.

We're about $2,000 short of what we need. In case you're wondering, if you wanted to create a two-page newspaper in the middle of the desert with equipment you could buy on eBay for a temporary community of 40,000 people, it would cost about $7,000 the first year, and maybe $3,000 after that, since the capital equipment -- and the cool wooden shack one of your buddies bought -- could be reused.

Those of you who are journalists or Burners will probably understand this. The others will just have to take it on faith that this a good cause -- or not, but if I've sold you, please give parsimoniously.

We have a website:, with instructions on making donations. You can use PayPal or credit cards, and if you don't have a PayPal account, this is an excellent opportunity to open one, you'll need it someday. The website also has some interesting Burning Man links, and if you've ever wanted to have a dangerous vacation in the middle of a desert in the middle of nowhere, maybe you'll come along this year.


I told Mitch I'd send a few bucks his way, but I figure I can appeal to my fellow loonies out there, since we all share some sort of particular foible for our hobby. There is no obligation of course, but next time you see a story about Burning Man, you can know that you played some small part in the insanity.



I've been struck by Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside the Dumbya ranch. I'm impressed that she's made it difficult for the president's advisors to work out a win-win situation -- they will, eventually, you know... Karl Rove makes the nicest stuff grow out of the nastiest, don't you know? -- for at least a week now.

Sheehan, for those who have missed the coverage the past week, is the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq. She has posted herself on a public right-of-way near George W. Bush's home demanding that she get a face-to-face with him. He has refused, and only yesterday acknowledged her presence.

There are some issues even a liberal can take with Sheehan. I wonder about parents who are angry with the government for sending troops into dangerous places when they had no problem with their child's enlistment in the first place. I know: It was all for the college education, or it was two weeks a year and a weekend a month, but all the guns and boot camp should indicate there are other issues. These kids knew they were signing up for possible death, and despite the Madison Avenue campaigns to gloss that over, it's still different from how it was during Vietnam, when they could just send you a piece of mail because you happened to be born on the wrong day. Then you had to decide if you wanted to go, wanted to figure out how to go through the conscientious objector maze, or wanted to become Canadian. I am lucky; between 1975 and 1979, males turning 18 didn't even have to register for the draft, so anything the military has on me has been illegally or immorally obtained.

That said, until Bush actually sits down and has an audience with this woman, she has the upper hand and it grows stronger.

At her cyphering blog, Kelly Allen reprints the information Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Susan Paynter published this morning on how to support her effort.

You can assist Sheehan through Crawford Peace House (, by clicking on the donation link or sending checks to Crawford Peace House, P.O. Box 710218, Dallas, TX 75371-0218. The phone number is 254-486-0099.

Donations to support the Military Families Speak Out car caravan for Crawford can be sent to Arthur Ruger at P.O. Box 335, Bay Center, WA 98527. More information about the Northwest branch of that organization is available at

To the above, I'd add that even if you totally disagree with the war and those military over there who will tell you that we need to be there to use bombs and bullets to make Iraq over into a democracy, that there are still other places to investigate for making donations... the USO, veteran's groups, and many more. Of course, I personally would also recommend a donation to the DNC, but let's keep politics out of this.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


The above was forwarded to me by my cousin Joe recently, and I was struck by the absolute silliness of the point being made. Republicans are right because they're prettier than Democrats.

I could argue the statistical flaws of the argument (this sample is not a sample, but a biased selection made for purpose), but for the sake of causing additional trouble, I'll buy the argument. Democratic women are ugly. Republican women are good-looking.

It's an observation I've tended to make while driving and refraining from giving the finger to... um, jerks... driving expensive imported German and Japanese cars. These... um, jerks... tend to be very good-looking and tanned (because they're white, you know), and, when they're women, very good-looking and tanned and trim and blonde.

Research over the years has shown that good-looking people in general do better than less-than-good-looking people. They make more money, they have more friends, they perform better on the job, they win more elections, they aren't arrested for using their Scientologist beliefs to bed women barely old enough to have sex. When I was beginning my real estate career, I was told flat-out by one broker with whom I'd interviewed that I weighed too much to be successful.

Consequently, I believe this general trend in human affairs would mean that these successful pretty people would achieve success and then would rationalize their success by saying it came from working hard and that working hard should make it easy for everyone to succeed. They will then add the corollary that if you aren't succeeding, you aren't working hard enough.

There are many people in this country who see the fallacy of this argument. Among them are the dark-skinned, the over-50, and the overweight. Add to this the fetish for dismissing the value of having or seeking intelligence, and the entire issue becomes hugely depressing.

I would contend that, if we buy the above argument that women who have achieved great success are unattractive (and, gosh darn it, maybe it's the Democrat in me, but I had a crush on Hillary Rodham Clinton from the moment I first saw her, despite those legs), I would suggest that we pay even more heed to them, because they have clearly achieved recognition from intelligence and hard work exclusively, and not because somebody thought they had a nice smile, a taut tush, smoldering eyes, or killer abs.

Here's a story from my own life that my spouse (whose own attractiveness is not up for debate, although there are pictures that would have the Republicans calling her to sign her up) knows. In my early 20s I had lost a bunch of weight and begun to run, and all of a sudden I had the ability to call up attractive women and actually have them agree to share a meal or a movie with me. In the time before I began to date my wife, I knew this one woman whom I thought was stunningly attractive. Out we went.

Let me tell you now, I would date Bella Abzug's corpse before I would date this woman again. There was no spirited conversation, no awareness of the world beyond her limited viewpoint, no interest in anything other than herself. It was the most eye-opening of my experiences with the opposite sex. Despite a pretty enthusiastic end of date experience which seemed to indicate a real interest, I never pursued the relationship.

Of course, 25 years later I have no idea whether this woman is a Republican or a Democrat. But I can tell you that I would much rather spend any amount of time with an "unattractive" woman who can think, who is open, and who is able to think or do interesting things versus a beautiful woman who can't think for herself and doesn't understand the world enough to be at least aware of the possibility that her success may be tainted.

Sure, I wouldn't have paid to see Andrea Dworkin as a Playboy centerfold. But she'd have made a better anything than any of the women on the Republican side of the graphic above.

Monday, August 01, 2005



I am distracted by too many important things in my life right now, but I did note the great contrast of yesterday's Hall of Fame induction and the announcement that Rafael Palmeiro has been suspended by Major League Baseball for steroid use.

Ryne Sandberg is a columnist for Yahoo! Sports, which published his induction speech online today. It was a wonderful speech, and it spoke directly to all players who have taken shortcuts to money at the expense of the integrity of the game, whether steroid user or gambler on baseball games. If you're a baseball fan, I urge you to read it.

As for Palmeiro, just two weeks ago I was sitting in the stands at Safeco Field in Seattle hoping to watch him stroke his 3,000th basehit. I saw only his #2,999 (as well as, over the years, probably two dozen more, and probably at least a half-dozen home runs that sank the Mariners).

I had a hard time dealing with Palmeiro's commercials for Viagra, but this obviously is a new problem for baseball. Palmeiro is easily the biggest slugger to be suspended for cheating. Without listening to the baseball talking heads on Fox Sports and ESPN, I'd bet any amount of money that Palmeiro, despite his accomplishments, has at the very least put his seemingly probable election to the Hall of Fame back to the second ballot.

Draw, if you will, a contrast in memory to Palmeiro's refutation of charges during his testimony before Congress last winter and President Bill Clinton's outright lie when refuting charges of adultery. Even though I felt Clinton didn't deserve the scorn he received for what should have been a private matter, many feel otherwise. If Palmeiro is indeed a steroid user, then I will actually feel more betrayed, because what Palmeiro would have done to cheat is directly related to his job.

The timing of the announcement is amazing, too, because Palmeiro did just mark a major baseball achievement; he is now one of just four players with more than 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, in all 130 years of major league baseball. But now we must ask, how many of his 569 home runs were chemically aided? How many of those doubles in the gap would have been singles or pop outs?

Don't know. And maybe we'll even see that he hasn't cheated.

But -- as Randy Newman sings in the opening credits of the television show, Monk -- I don't think so.



This wonderful blog was forwarded to me by Harry Broertjes, who figures it's 95% certain it's a very funny fake.