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National Championship Chuckwagon Races  
Tuesday, August 26, 2003 9:45:53 PM EDT

My friend Jim wants to go down to the National Championship Chuckwagon Races in Clinton, Arkansas (there's gotta be a joke there somewhere) tomorrow until labor day. He wants to take 3 mules (Cochise, Kate and Smoke) down with us, us being Jim, me and Joe, for the festivities. It sounds like a good time to me (we've never been) and I've got the perfect trailer for it. It sleeps 6 people and 4 horses and has all the luxuries of home and it'll be our home for the next several days.

It's a week long series of events for mules and horses, and it's a 1500 mile trip, but I think it'll be great fun. I'll get some pictures, don't worry.

Even though I'm taking my Apple Powerbook, we'll be in the middle of nowhere, so I won't have access to Simcat (meaning no blog for you until next week).

I am officially on hiatus until then. Woohoo! See you next week!

Posted by: Marc  

Train Songs  
Monday, August 25, 2003 03:42:46 AM EDT

Acidman is a musician and quite rightly feels that every musician should know at least five train songs. And even though I couldn't sing my way out of a wet paper bag, I do love train songs. I left several of my favorites in Rob's comments but for some reason I left out two of my top all time ever, gotta have it on any list of train songs favorites. So here's two more A-man, from Guy Clark and Michelle Shocked.

Texas 1947 - Guy Clark
Now bein' six years old, I had seen some trains before,
so it's hard to figure out what I'm at the depot for.

Trains are big and black and smokin' - steam screamin' at the wheels,
bigger than anything they is, at least that's the way she feels

Trains are big and black and smokin', louder'n July four,
but everybody's actin' like this might be somethin' more. . .

. . .than just pickin' up the mail, or the soldiers from the war.
This is somethin' that even old man Wileman never seen before.

And it's late afternoon on a hot Texas day.
somethin' strange is goin' on, and we's all in the way.

Well there's fifty or sixty people they're just sittin' on their cars,
and the old men left their dominos and they come down from the bars.

Everybody's checkin', old Jack Kittrel check his watch,
and us kids put our ears to the rails to hear 'em pop.

So we already knowed it, when they finally said 'train time'
you'd a-thought that Jesus Christ his-self was rollin' down the line.

'Cause things got real quiet, momma jerked me back,
But not before I'd got the chance to lay a nickel on the track.

Look out here she comes, she's comin',
Look out there she goes, she's gone,
screamin' straight through Texas
like a mad dog cyclone.

Big, red, and silver,
she don't make no smoke,
she's a fast-rollin' streamline
come to show the folks.

Look out here she comes, she's comin'
Look out there she goes, she's gone,
screamin' straight through Texas
like a mad dog cyclone.

. . .Lord, she never even stopped.

She left fifty or sixty people still sittin' on their cars,
and they're wonderin' what it's comin' to
and how it got this far.

Oh but me I got a nickel smashed flatter than a dime
by a mad dog, runaway red-silver streamline. . . train


If Love Was A Train - Michelle Shocked

If love was a train I think I would ride me a slow one
One that would ride through the night making every stop
If love was a train I would feel no pain and I would never get off
No sir, never get off

If love was a train I think I would ride me a long one
Hear me talking, talking fifty boxcars long
Aw what's the use most trains these days ain't got no engine
Much less no caboose
Woo woo

Oh, )look out here she comes
Look out there she goes
If love was a train I'd throw my body down on her tracks
If love was a train I'd throw my body right down on her tracks
If love was a train I would feel no pain as she rolled right down my back
Right down my back

But love ain't a train no, she's more like a broncin' bull
And the most you've got is 15 seconds in the saddle
And even if you manage to ride you are all broken up inside
And it's gonna be a long time,gonna be a long time
Gonna be a looooo oong time before you ride that bull again

If love was a train
But love ain't a train
No love ain't no train

Posted by: Marc  

Football in Columbus  
Friday, August 22, 2003 7:39:36 PM EDT

Buckeye fans here in Columbus can be an admittedly overzealous and obnoxious bunch to say the least sometimes, and today was a big day for us. We were told that we would hear the NCAA's decision regarding the Bucks star running back, Maurice Clarett's suspension. People waited around for the announcement all afternoon, each one offering their own armchair quarterback ideas of course...including myself.

The word finally came down at 4:30. Only it didn't, really. All we know now is it looks like it'll be a multi-game suspension, but that he will be allowed to resume practices. As SI reporter Stewart Mandel says though, I think the Bucks will be fine without Maurice Clarett. Especially in the start of the season. I was starting to think that us fans were putting far too much of the responsibility (and glory) on his shoulders anyway, so maybe it's a good thing all in all. The Buckeyes have been practicing without him for several weeks now, and there's plenty of powerful talent to step into his place in the interim.

We start our season August 30th (my birthday - woohoo!) against Washington. Football season is upon us once again - Yeeha!

UPDATE: If Mandel is right about his preseason predictions though, Ravenwood will get to see some REAL Buckeye heat. All up close and personal like.

Posted by: Marc  

Ahnold's Pizza Shop  
Friday, August 22, 2003 07:29:04 AM EDT

If Arnold were to be elected president of California and ran things the way he runs Arnold's Pizza Shop, that state just might have a chance.

Pepperoni and bullets please...

Posted by: Marc  

I SO need to keep my mouth shut  
Thursday, August 21, 2003 5:13:53 PM EDT

I told you about this....and now look what I get for it. Sheesh...the things I do for you people.

Posted by: Marc  

Joe's Trial By Fire  
Tuesday, August 19, 2003 7:05:22 PM EDT

The weather was beautiful here this weekend. Sunny, clear blue skies, not too hot (80ish) and not too humid. I was reminded of this fact Sunday morning in a phone call from my friend Jim. He said "Let's take the horses and mules out for a trail ride."

It only took him a minute or two to talk me into it, and we were also going to take our friend Joe who just started riding for the first time this summer. He likes Jim's mule Kate and that's who he's been riding. We decided to go to a nearby state park called Alum Creek, which is the main water reservoir for the city of Columbus. They've got 32 miles of bridal trails around the lake, most of which is heavily wooded and hilly. Jim and I had only been there once before and we liked the ride the last time, so we decided to go there again.

We took Jim's mules Kate and Cochise and one of his horses, Miles who is the teammate of one of my horses. I was to ride him that day. The animals were excited to go, as they are usually eager to get out of the pasture for that sort of thing and they practically dragged us into the trailer...all saddled up and ready. Um no, we had to actually put the equipment on them first ourselves. They're willing and eager, but they aren't THAT good yet.

Alum Creek has a nice horseman's camp where you can park your rig and can use it as a base camp. It was empty except for one other trailer, so we knew we'd have the trails pretty much to ourselves. There are two trailheads that lead out of the camp. Jim and I had already ridden the one, so we decided to take the other one this time.

That idea might have been a mistake. Keep in mind that we've been having frog drowning rains around here all spring and summer and then read this description of Alum Creek's trails from the Ohio Department of Natural Resouces:
"In central Ohio, Alum Creek State Park’s 32 miles of trails are strictly for advanced riders and trail-savvy horses, Matthews said. They are frequently steep and winding, crossing deep ravines and a series of wooden bridges. Virtually all trails require single-file riding and can be treacherous when muddy."
So, yeah. We quickly discovered that we had taken the toughest trail and that it wasn't even close to being dry. It was a muddy mess.

But like I said, it was a beautiful day to ride and the animals were eager. As were we. But the animals (who are very trail savvy by the way) really didn't care much for all the mud. Especially Miles, the horse I was riding. As we'd start down a muddy slope, he'd get kind of nervous and try to head up for dry ground (which means into the trees and bad for my knees) and want to move a little more quickly than he should. I had to work with him some on the really tough spots to calm him down first, but he's smart and has a lot of heart and didn't try anything too stupid with me. We were doing fine.

To be honest, I was more concerned about Joe though. He'd only recently started riding and I didn't know how he felt about some of those precarious ravines we were riding in. They weren't for the squimish novice. Joe didn't seem to have any qualms about riding those trails though, as he's had plenty of motocross experience. He's already learned to trust Kate, whose a very calm, confident and sure footed mule. But horses and mules are somewhat less predictable than motorcycles. Especially in those conditions.

After a couple of hours of nothing but non stop up and down through steep muddy ravines though, we ALL started getting kind of tired of that and realized we had to go back through them all once again just to get back, so we decided to turn around and head out on the other trail, which we'd finally figured out would be better.

Kate was doing extremely well given the circumstances (they all were), and Joe was relaxed and enjoying the ride up until about that time. Just after we turned around, we started back into a ravine we'd just come out of. Kate decided that she was going to have to make a medium run for it to get them both back up the other side (she was right) but failed to give Joe the proper warning signal. Well, that or he just missed it. At any rate, she bounced once and Joe's butt popped up slightly over the cantle (back support of the saddle) and she took off up the other side...leaving him of course sliding right off her ass, holding nothing but reins and he quickly found himself at the bottom of the ravine. Ouch...that had to hurt. Kate ran up to the rest of us without Joe. But he made one hell of an exit. Somehow me manged to land without injury and surprisingly, with very little additional mud. He actually seemed to have enjoyed the thrill. He realized what had happened and was ready for more.

We had taken along a few beers in our saddlebags (yeah I know ODNR, they're illegal in the park, but we only brought a couple and we carried out our empties) and Jim called a beer break. We had to regroup briefly and make sure Joe was really ok. He was just fine. As we stood there laughing about what had just happened, we started talking about saddles and I explained that that was one reason I had bought my saddle. Because it has a high cantle and is extremely comfortable, especially going up hills.

Joe wanted to try it out. But of course it was already strapped to Miles and I asked Joe if he wanted to just trade animals. He said "sure".

Mistake number two. My bad.

Miles has a lot of trail experience and has a heart of gold, but like I said, the conditions had him slightly on edge. Everything was fine for a while. We all went through several more ravines successfully and then came up to one that I'd had a little trouble with Miles on the first time through. It was a narrow bridge over a creek, covered in wet mud at the very bottom of a steep ravine with a curve up AND out of it. I was me and Kate were in front of Miles and Joe and Kate realized once again that she'd have to make a run to the top (as Jim and Cochise had just done) and I manuevered her across the bridge slowly first, then let her go. Unfortunately, I suspect that that triggered the same reaction in Miles, who was in no position to be taking off on a run. He was on the wrong side of the bridge to do that.

Miles took off, about the same time Kate did I think. I'll never know for sure I guess, as the whole thing unfolded as Kate and I were hauling ass (literally) up the hill. All I knew about the situation was the sound of Jim's yells (who was already at the top of the hill with Cochise) of "Goddammit, Goddammit!". When I finally turned around I saw Miles running up the hill towards us, minus Joe, who was climbing out of the creek at the bottom of the ravine.

"Damn.", I thought. "not again. he's already been through enough."

Joe climbed out of that ravine, once more unscathed, injury free. He was covered in mud this time though. Apparently, Miles slipped on his turn coming across the bridge on a run and fell down in the middle of it. Once again, Joe made a miraculous exit, but unfortunately went off one side of the bridge and into the creek. Miles nearly went off the other side, but somehow saved himself and got upright again and ran up to us at the top of the hill.

Joe still had the same attitude as the first time. He wanted more.

Damn...the Dude has attitude. But he wanted Kate back this time. That was fine with me...she WAS the more trustworthy mount that day.

We went back to the trailer and rested for a little bit before heading out on the "somewhat" drier trail. It was uneventful for the rest of the day really, after 4-5 hours the animals went into slow motion. They were pretty well wore out and probably thankful for having a fairly easy time of it on the second trail. All in all I think everyone had a great time...even poor 'ol Joe.

Here's a picture from the horesman's camp ( me in front with Cochise with Joe and Kate behind us and Mile's big Palimino ass in the background.) Click the image for a larger version

Posted by: Marc  

Blogger Blackout  
Monday, August 18, 2003 7:34:29 PM EDT

Yeah I know. I haven't updated in several days. I've been hiding out every since last Thursday afternoon's blackout.

You see, I was resetting a finicky router at work last Thursday and all of a sudden sparks flew out the back of it. The next thing I know, the power went out all across the Northeastern US and parts of Canada. Ruhrow!

You've heard by now that Ohio is where it all originated right? Well, guess where I live and work? Yeah, I thought it was me that caused that blackout. I know that Matthew from Defective Yeti thought it was him, but I was pretty sure it was me that gave millions of people an early afternoon off. Even if I did ruin all their perishables that wasn't so terrible was it?

So anyway, I've been hiding out in a van down by the river eating government cheese ever since. But then I realised that maybe, just maybe it wasn't entirely my fault. I mean it was only a router right? I turned on the radio yesterday and they said it was First Energy's fault. Woohoo! I was off the hook! Na na na na na!

Actually I jest...but then of course you knew that. Truth is, I got an unexpected day off on Friday (thanks largely to the outage) and we had great weather over the weekend, so I decided to take advantage of that rather than blog since we've had so little of it this summer. I had a great weekend too. More on that later.

Posted by: Marc  

Sure Enough  
Wednesday, August 13, 2003 6:50:58 PM EDT

Kim du Toit ponders the inevitable:
"In France, there's a heat wave which is killing people, and a drought which is causing river levels to sink so low that nuclear power plants are running the risk of overheating*, and forest fires are breaking out all over..."

"Somehow, you all just know that this is all the fault of the United States, and our refusal to ratify the Kyoto Accord..."
Ummmm...yep, looks like that'll be the next logical conclusion in the global warming debate. I'm sure we'll be blamed eventually for Europe's summer heat wave.

In my neck of the woods though, we're experiencing the coolest and wettest summer I can even remember in 40 odd years. That, after one of our colder winters too. Global warming my ass.

Posted by: Marc  

The buzzards get a clue...  
Tuesday, August 12, 2003 7:34:59 PM EDT

Seems the buzzards finally figured out that there was a delicious (to a buzzard), fresh meal 'o possum sitting in an open air cafe in front of my house just begging to be consumed by somebody. In two days, they've reduced it to a shiny white spine and a small pile of hair.

Thanks guys. I knew I could count on you.

Posted by: Marc  

Hackers...who needs 'em?  
Monday, August 11, 2003 8:02:41 PM EDT

I spent most of my day watching an interesting hack unfold on one of the web servers I have at work. I actually noticed it starting on Friday and was able to quickly determine that that it was the RPC buffer overflow exploit that Microsoft has been harping about for the past few weeks. I blocked the network address block (from Korea) that originated the attack on me, but didn't patch the server because I've been burned worse by patches than the hacks themselves before. I figured I'd just keep an eye on the server since the exploit wasn't doing anything real malicious. It would just hang the server, which is no big deal on a weekend. But this morning when I woke up, I checked the server and it was hung again, so I restarted it, which I can do from home and got ready for work. It was still fine when I got there, but I noticed a ton of activity in my logs. All attempting some variation of the same exploit and now the attacks were coming from servers in my own network space. The attacks were coming fast and furious too. Finally, the thing I most feared happened. One of the attacks was successful and it planted a worm. This is what everyone's been fearing from this latest exploit. A worm that goes on to attack other systems. NOT GOOD. I found it quickly enough and chopped its little head off. I put a read only bogus stub in its place so that it couldn't reload itself and went ahead and patched the server before resetting it. I kept my fingers crossed that it would reboot without incident. Fortunately it did. But I've read reports that the Windows 2000 patch isn't completely reliable so I also blocked all RPC port (135) transmission in or out of the firewall for added security. That did the trick. The firewall was blocking attacks all day and doing a fine job of it too. But damnit, why the hell should I even have to worry about crap like this?

Hackers have WAY too much time on their hands if you ask me. It's just too bad all that talent is going to waste.

UPDATE: The specific worm that hit me was this one called MSBLAST, which apparently really made the rounds yesterday.

Posted by: Marc  

Dumb Ass Buzzards  
Sunday, August 10, 2003 12:29:20 PM EDT

Somebody hit a possum in front of my house yesterday. I noticed it on the road while I was cutting the front lawn field. I also witnessed several people hitting the thing directly (idiots) and wincing once they realized what they'd done. I got tired of seeing that lifeless carcass lying out there being ever more flattened with each passing vehicle. By the end of the afternoon, some buzzards noticed it too. They were doing the circling thing overhead.

But it's hard for a buzzard to clean up a road kill if it's still in the road. They have to fly away every time a car comes along. So I figured I'd help 'em out. I took a shovel and went and scraped that nasty critter up off the road and put it in plain sight right in my front yard field. Today I noticed a boat load of buzzards circling my house. "Cool", I thought, they're gonna clean it up.

But noooooo, they were circling my house over a stupid snake that I killed accidently while cutting the back yard field yesterday.


Now I gotta figure out what to do with that damned rotting possum. My dogs are gonna be all over that thing real soon if the retarded buzzards don't get a clue...and fast.

Posted by: Marc  

3 Blogs In - 3 Blogs Out  
Saturday, August  9, 2003 09:01:39 AM EDT

I've been doing a little blog roll surfing and noticed that a few of the blogs that I used to like have suddenly vanished. Oh well, occasionally you have to pull out the loppers and prune out the deadwood I guess.

But I've also noticed a few newcomers in my referrals and after visiting their sites have determined that I can easily replace the deadwood with some fine fresh sprigs. I'd like to welcome 3 new blogs to the blogroll. Please do yourself a favor and go visit Aimless, Eagle Eye View and caughtintheXfire, you won't be wasting your time. Trust me on that.

Posted by: Marc  

Funny Friday search queries  
Friday, August  8, 2003 3:20:54 PM EDT

big shooting rage vacation usa - sounds like one of my friends. Probably the one that works at the post office.

ouday qusay growing years - ah yes...the fabulous wonder years growing up under the tutelage of a madman.

texas congresswoman hurricane weather service racist - You've come to the right place!

judge judy thank you - What's your guess, plaintiff or defendant?

Kobe Obrien accuser - I dunno...who the hell is Kobe Obrien?

amatuer exotic girl sites - you didn't say please

I quit - you big baby

six "interesting facts" about monkeys - that's a tough one...ok
1. They like to sling shit at each other, not to mention people
2. They once had a very popular band and a TV show
3. Contrary to popular belief, if you put 100 monkeys in a room with 100 typewriters you'll just end up with a bunch of broken typewriters....with shit all over them.
4. Bob Dylan sings about monkeys
5. Frank says monkeys are funny and can cure your depression.
6. Monkeys make excellent safety options for your automobile. Here's a video of the proper use of a Trunk Monkey for example.

Posted by: Marc  

Just wait  
Thursday, August  7, 2003 10:37:44 PM EDT

Before too long, this guy's truck will be sporting a set of these.

Posted by: Marc  

It was inevitable  
Thursday, August  7, 2003 9:59:29 PM EDT

Imoby, over at Occam's Toothbrush points out an anomoly that seems like it should have been utterly predictable, yet I hadn't thought about it. The Nigerian 419 scam, now brought to you by Iraq.

Posted by: Marc  

Rodeo as Religion  
Thursday, August  7, 2003 9:05:15 PM EDT

I've mentioned my brief participation in the sport of rodeo before, and I still enjoy all things related. I also happen to enjoy reading Colby Cosh, so it was with great pleasure to discover his terrific disection "The smells and bells of the Western rodeo" in the National Post.

I believe he hit that nail squarely on the head.

Posted by: Marc  

Hilarity Clinton  
Thursday, August  7, 2003 8:20:03 PM EDT

Seems Hillary's taking a cue from Howard Dean's wildly succesful use of the internet. She's apparently testing a new technique to entice supporters in her bid to extinguish the vast right wing conspiracy. I gotta give her credit, sending them to porn sites just might arouse people.

[link via Gawker]

Posted by: Marc  

Wake Up Call  
Thursday, August  7, 2003 8:01:04 PM EDT

You know, everyone always says to wear clean underwear because you never know when you're going to be carried off in an ambulance. Fortunately, Jane from the Bitch-Sessions wasn't injured, well except for possibly her pride, but she did find herself in a similar and perhaps even more embarrassing situation. She discovered herself to be surrounded by a swarm of firemen while she was Naked in New Jersey and completely unaware that her building was on fire.

Posted by: Marc  

For Example  
Thursday, August  7, 2003 4:57:26 PM EDT

This is the sort of stuff Mom gets pissed about in the post below "Mom Unloads":
"Veteran black activist Al Sharpton contended Wednesday that the news media are dismissive of his presidential campaign because newsrooms are overwhelmingly white.

"I think when you look at the lack of diversity in the newsrooms, when you look at the lack of diversity from the editors and those in power, then you see them as automatically dismissive of anything that is not like them, which is white males," said Sharpton.

"I think we've seen some very blatant racial insensitivity in the coverage of this race so far," said Sharpton, in an interview with The Associated Press.
I'd say Al's the one being racially insensitive here with comments like that. But then again, it doesn't surprise me coming from Al. To him, it seems it's always a white problem.

He's been on quite a roll this week. In an attempt to suck up to organized labor leaders along with other democratic presidential contenders in Chicago on Tuesday, Mr. Sharpton who showed up late, offered the excuse "I had a nonunion cab driver". Oh man, you're killin' me here Al!

Posted by: Marc  

Mom Unloads  
Sunday, August  3, 2003 9:58:02 PM EDT

Gawd I love her....

OK, enough is enough! I just heard that a black congresswoman is incensed because there haven’t been any “African-American” names used to name hurricanes! Who in the hell wants to have a hurricane named Jamal Kutinkay Thomas Jefferson Brown anyway? How about naming one Jesse Jackson….he’s a big blowhard! I’ve had it with the endless whining and attempted extortion by “people of color” in the U.S.! I used to be sympathetic to their cause. That was during the Martin Luther King era, and his “dream” has long since been transformed into a Frankenstein! I think even he would be dismayed and appalled by the current representations of his ideals. Call me a racist, call me intolerant, but the following are a few suggestions for those black Americans who feel they are not being treated equitably.

If you are black and you were born in the United States of America, you’re an AMERICAN, damit! Stop already with the African-American B.S.! I’m proud of my heritage too, but I don’t call myself a Dutch-French-English-American. I’m an American. Period. Unless you were born in Africa, and are a naturalized citizen of the U.S., your affectation of African heritage is bogus, artificial crap!

Whatever happened to desegregation anyway? First you wanted to go to the same places as whites, and be treated like the whites, and once you achieved that then you want to go back to being segregated again. You know, black proms, black graduations, black schools, etc. Make up your minds! I would like to suggest to the government, the education lobby, and Hallmark that they institute a “White History” month. Seems fair, doesn’t it? We are bombarded with black history month, black history week, black studies classes, black art appreciation, Kwaanza, etc., etc., ad nauseum. It’s time for whites to stand up and demand equal attention to our history, culture, and art! Blacks are trying to rewrite our children’s history books. American history, as being taught in our schools, has been revised radically in the last twenty years. Even George Washington has been removed from some textbooks!

Speaking of education, throwing more dollars at inner-city schools is NOT the answer! City schools in Washington, D.C. spend $13,000 per student, and they still do miserably on achievement tests! Until the black community starts demanding accountability of their schools and teachers, (how about it NEA?) and providing a safe environment for its students, the kids will continue to do poorly in school. The fault lies with the sense of pride (or lack thereof) in the black community. Don’t expect the “rich white folks” to continue to contribute their hard-earned tax dollars to your schools if you have no control over what happens in your own homes and communities. The inner-city schools are the responsibility of every black parent who sends a child off to school. Stop trying to make us feel guilty because you have problems with drugs, truancy, and failing grades in the schools. The dollars are there for your child to be able to get a good education. Stop your whining and do something about the negatives that are preventing your child’s ability to learn…..and it isn’t what we are or are not doing!

As long as black children look up to the examples of black manhood represented by men like Shaq, Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant, etc. there is not much hope for a normal family life for these kids. Shaq is very proud of the fact that he has fathered a number of children with different women without getting married. Mike Tyson, the same, with the added dimension of physical violence toward the women with whom he has a relationship. And now, Kobe Bryant. Although it’s yet to be proved that he raped his accuser, without a doubt he was unfaithful to his wife, and was physically violent with a 19-year old girl. Some fine black men there! It’s too bad that these wretched individuals make the money they do so that they are so appealing to the kids that look up to them. When you glorify irresponsible behavior, the result is more of the same in the young. Good, strong fathers are needed to raise up a child. Being a father is a whole lot more than a “roll in the hay”! The dad that contributes to forming and preserving a family is the real stud! When will the black community start revering intelligence, learning, sobriety, and personal responsibility? There are plenty of examples of black men and women that have attained success, money, and fame without sacrificing those qualities that make us good, decent human beings. Ward Connerly, Toni Morrison, Armstrong Williams, Larry Elder, Condi Rice, and Colin Powell come to mind, to name just a few. Now those are people to look up to!

Notice in the last paragraph I didn’t mention Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, or the leader of the NAACP (whose “African” name I can’t pronounce or spell!)? These men are crooks and scam artists and how they get away with the extortion that they visit upon U.S. businesses and organizations is truly amazing! And a sad commentary about how “politically correct” we’ve become! Start calling a spade a spade (forgive me!) and start bringing charges against these criminals for crying out loud! If whites tried the tactics that these creeps get away with they would be arrested and thrown in jail! Jesse Jackson is a far cry from Martin Luther King, and the “Reverend” moniker is a joke!

I have a suggestion for those American blacks that want our government to send troops to Liberia to straighten out that country’s government. Get your African-American behinds over there and help your black brothers yourselves! The same goes for the slave trade your relatives engage in in the Sudan. They sell their own for a few dollars. Preach to them about the evils of slavery! Why don’t you go to Africa and work your reforms over there? That continent really needs your help, including slowing an AIDS epidemic. You all seem to feel that you can make your demands on the white tax-payers without the work of equal participation by your people in the solution

I’m tired of being made to feel responsible for the poor performance of black children in schools, of drug dealers on street corners, of slavery 150 years ago, of the high percentage of blacks in prison, of not paying enough taxes to support a black woman’s illegitimate children, etc. You know what? You’ve pushed me too far! I don’t CARE anymore about what you don’t have! I resent the hell out of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the University of Michigan’s admission policy, where the color of your skin is more important than scholastic achievement or financial need! Never mind the Constitution’s “Equality” amendment! Hit the books like the rest of the population and EARN your admittance! You aren’t better than us, just less prepared for the hard work that’s necessary to achieve success!

Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech resonated with this nation of people who are basically good, compassionate people who are interested in achieving equality for all. I found his words to be a stirring picture of what I would like to see in America, but which unfortunately is becoming less and less possible because of the militancy of the current black leadership. He said, “When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" Martin, we wish you were here!

Posted by: Marc's Mom  

Bottled or Tap?  
Friday, August  1, 2003 7:51:53 PM EDT

Acidman will tell you that drinking bottled water is "yuppified, pussifed bullshit." and he just might be right. That stuff is just about the most expensive liquid on the planet, yet everyone bitches about the price of a gallon of gasoline, which doesn't even come close when you consider the cost per gallon of either. I too drink tap water, and it's never bothered me. I only buy the bottled stuff if there's nothing else available, like at a sporting event or something. Here at home, I do have a water filter system on my kitchen tap, but I'll drink the water from any of them.

But damn, just damn! I can't imagine how pissed I would have been had I been one of these victims of a water department's blonde moment. I'd probably be thinking about how good bottled water sounded about now.

Oh and Aman, you really might want to pay close attention to that above link since you like your tap water, because it apparently could very possibly happen in your neck of the woods quite soon too.

Posted by: Marc  

Backwards Blogging Hiatus  
Friday, August  1, 2003 7:12:19 PM EDT

I apologize to any readers that have been visiting for the past...oh let's see here...week?!! Can that be right?? Holy moly! Not a single post since last Friday, and not even a blurb about why I would be leaving it for so long.

Truth be told, I didn't mean to let the blog go dormant for so long. I actually had one of the crazier weeks of my life this past week though. You see, I've just been assigned to do a major overhaul on our IT infrastructure at the place of my employment. I'm really thrilled that we're doing this, because we really could use it, but the downside is that I've been given an impossible deadline by which to do it. How did that tune go from Smoky and The Bandit? "We got a long way to go and a short time to get there...we gonna do what they say can't be done." To be honest, I don't think I'll be able to meet my deadline, but I'm going to give it my best shot. This past week, I formulated my plan and selected a team to assist me with the project. During the evening, when I'd usually be blogging, I've been testing scenarios on the computer instead. To be honest, I didn't even really think about the blog much. I kept thinking, "Oh, I'll put something in there tonight" and just never got around to it.

So, I do apologize if you've been coming to read the same ol' thing over and over. I broke one of the blogging rules on that one, again. I also still haven't finished my photo set up for 26 Things scavenger hunt and don't even know if I can since the deadline was today. What is it about me and my inability to meet a deadline? Anyway, I'm going to try not to let this happen again, but I'm also not sure how much of my normal blog time will be consumed by my new assignment for the next several weeks. My job does have to take priority. Still, I thoroughly enjoy blogging and have no intention of giving up on it, even if the quantity (or quality) of my posts suffers from time to time. So don't give up on me just yet...I'm still here and I definately appreciate your visits. I really do.

Posted by: Marc  

Don't let the trial lawyers see this  
Friday, July 11, 2003 3:10:24 PM EDT

...or they will most assuredly use it to justify somebody's claim that McDonald's food is addictive and causes people to become hideously obese. These two boys are just 5 years old and you just know that girth was caused by all those Big Macs they couldn't stop eating.

Posted by: Marc  

Eyes on The War  
Thursday, July 10, 2003 8:36:31 PM EDT

There is a fantastic collection of photos from the war at The Washington Post called "Eyes on The War", featuring photos from 12 photojournalists who were assigned to the conflict. Each series of photos includes a voiceover from the photographer that took it on their thoughts while they were there. It's a very moving display. I highly recommend that you check it out.

[via Walker New York: Photo]

Posted by: Marc  

Things that make you say hmmm....  
Thursday, July 10, 2003 06:56:00 AM EDT

Mr. Kim du Toit, known in the blogosphere as the "go to guy" when it comes to firearm knowledge and expertise also happens to be a native African, but has been a US citizen since 1989. In his own words he calls himself "a White African-American with a girl's first name and a French last name". But don't let the name fool ya, he's my kind of American.

While he loves to talk guns, and knows more about them than all of the rest of us bloggers combined will ever know, he also knows a thing or two about the real humanitarian quagmires in Africa. In this post he (politically incorrectly) talks about the fact that although AIDS is a big killer in his homeland, the real problem is Malaria, which in 2000 killed more than 1 million people and "according to Professor Wen Kilama of the African Malaria Vaccine Testing Network in Tanzania, ' is equivalent to crashing seven jumbo jets filled with children every day'." Ironically, we already have a cure for this disease. It's called DDT or Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, a tremendously potent insecticide, long banned in the US.

But DDT is a dirty word to environmentalists, and consequently politicians, around the globe, thanks largely to Rachel Carson's 1962 book "Silent Spring". A book which "eloquently questioned humanity's faith in technological progress and helped set the stage for the environmental movement". The "environmentalist movement" found a truckload of ammunition against the use DDT within its' pages and used it to effectively completely eliminate the use of it, in spite of its' benefits. So, as a result of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, we have a problem far more serious than those on the agendas of "humanitarians" everywhere.

I didn't know that. Did you?

Update: 100 things you should know about DDT

Posted by: Marc  

Wednesday, July  9, 2003 8:48:04 PM EDT

It apparently originated in Italy. Now you know why they call them catfish.

(disclaimer: No kittens were harmed during the filming of this blog post)

Posted by: Marc  

Welcome to the Blogosphere  
Tuesday, July  8, 2003 5:15:11 PM EDT

USA Today had an interesting article in the print version of their newspaper ("Life" section) today. Of course, they went to "the go to guy" for an interview, along with several other people who I hadn't heard of before. Not that that surprised me.
Blogs started appearing in the late 1990s, but "in a way, blogs are very old-fashioned," says Glenn Reynolds of Knoxville, Tenn., who hosts InstaPundit, a popular current events and opinion blog. "Blogs are reproducing something people thought for a long time we had lost, the discussion in the public sphere by the ordinary people."
Nice to see blogs getting all this mainstream media attention eh?

Posted by: Marc  

This is tragic  
Tuesday, July  8, 2003 1:53:11 PM EDT

Sadly, the two conjoined Iranian twin sisters, Laleh and Ladan Bijani, have died following an unsuccessful attempt to seperate them in a complicated and risky surgical procedure.

Read the letter they wrote to all of their supporters last week.

Posted by: Marc  

Sports Photographer Wannabe  
Monday, July  7, 2003 9:00:42 PM EDT

Warning: If you aren't into photography, this post may bore you to tears.

A good friend of mine called me the other day to ask if I wouldn't mind bringing my camera gear to photograph his 15 year old son Dan, who was pitching in a city championship baseball tournament yesterday. I've photographed Dan pitching before, when he was much younger and was playing in the little leagues. I took it from our conversation that this game was a pretty big deal in Dan's baseball career, as it was being held at the new Ohio State baseball facility, Bill Davis Stadium. A sweet venue for kids that age to play ball in, trust me.

He thought he'd add some extra incentive by saying that if I took pictures of all of the kids (or as many as I could), that he was sure their parents would buy pictures from me. Something that in this case, really didn't matter for me to make my decision to say "sure".

Typically, I don't shoot too much in the way of sports and to be honest, my digital camera is known to be more at home as a studio camera and not so hot for fast action, unless you focus for yourself, which I had to do all day. My best telephoto lens is also only 200mm, which I thought might be kind of weak for getting "up close and personal" in a stadium of that size, so I equipped it with 1.4x extender. The combination gave me the focal length I needed, but adding the extender slows the camera down (even more) by two F stops, so I was sort of walking a fine line as far as capturing good, crisp action, and I knew it. I was shooting at 750th sec most of the day at F4, which is wide open when using the extender, and even with a monopod, it's too slow for baseball I've discovered. But the great thing about my camera is that it can hold about 750 images on its' 1Gig MicroDrive and the batteries will last through it all, so I had no shortage of shots to practice with. I ended up shooting 345 images and was actually pretty happy overall. Some were flat out unusably soft and others were fantastically sharp, but boring because I had anticipated action that didn't occur when I tripped the shutter (ie. a batter doesn't swing). Still, there were some good sharp action shots too.

The important thing though is that I did get several nice shots of Dan, (as well as several other kids) and really that was all that mattered. Next time though, I'm going to make a few minor adjustments to my gear beforehand.

Click the photo above if you want to see the larger version of it. I've cropped it quite a bit to save bandwidth, but you can see the softness that I'm talking about. Even this one is usable though...Photoshop is an amazing tool for amatuer photographers!

Posted by: Marc  

Happy 4th of July!  
Friday, July  4, 2003 10:49:21 AM EDT

Ok I suck. I know I said I'd have my first photo essay started by yesterday, but to be honest I'm still not happy with my layout, so I it will be somewhat delayed. This weekend perhaps?

In the meantime, I hope everyone out there has a safe and fun-filled 4th of July weekend!

(I shot the photo at Columbus' "Red White and Boom" display a few years ago)

Posted by: Marc  

There Goes The Neighborhood  
Wednesday, July  2, 2003 5:47:33 PM EDT

I am fortunate in that I live only five minutes from my office. Consequently, I tend to eat lunch at home on most days. Today was one of those days and shortly after I came home during my lunch hour, I started hearing sirens going past my house. This was somewhat unusual, especially since there were several sirens, as I live in the country and tend to hear only an occasional police car going by if anything. Today there were at least five in a row that went by and I went out on the front porch to see what all the fuss was about. I could see that they were fire trucks and that they were stopping at a house just two doors down from me!

I couldn't immediately see the fire, but I could see that the firemen were unrolling hoses and hauling them up to the house, which to me meant that there was a fire somewhere. I grabbed my camera and went to the neighbor's house between me and the one that was on fire and took a few pictures. My neighbor told me that she had heard two explosions just prior to the fire starting, which by this point had engulfed most of the house.

Fortunately, the house had long been unoccupied due to damage that it suffered from a previous fire a couple of years ago. Frankly, I always thought it was an eyesore anyway and that the owner should have torn it down long ago.

We can only speculate what caused the explosions, which according to my neighbor were "loud and scary". Even though the house had been condemned, it apparently still had electricity, which seems odd. I'm wondering if it still had gas too?

Oh well, I just hope the owner cleans up what's left of it this time (which isn't much), otherwise it's going to be an even worse eyesore than it was before.

Posted by: Marc  

Back to work  
Tuesday, July  1, 2003 8:00:48 PM EDT

I took a week of vacation from work last week and it ended yesterday. I didn't go to some exotic locale, but instead opted to stay near home and catch up on some things I'd been meaning to for a while. I also forced myself to step away from the computer as much as possible and spend as much time outside as I could, since it was the first really beautiful week we've had so far this year. It only rained once, and that was at night.

One of the things I thought I'd do, which I've been meaning to do ever since I started this blog was to start compiling scans of my rather large and unorganized collection of photographs I've accumulated over the years. That was the original idea behind the currently barren Quit That Photo page. I dove into my collection of slides negatives and prints and realized what a daunting task I was facing. I guess I've known that all along though, which is why I've procrastinated as long as I have. But the time has now come.

I want the photo page to be series of essays rather than just a run of the mill photo gallery. A large proportion of my collection were taken with a specific goal in mind, which will become apparent as the page progresses. But since it will take some time to compile these essays, I thought the best way to do it is as it happens. In other words, rather than make you wait until an individual essay is completed, I'll let you see it as I post it. You know, kind of like a blog. In that respect the idea to do it this way seemed appropriate. Besides, some of them are going to be rather large. Especially my first one, a month long camping vacation I took with my brother during the summer of 1993. Perhaps my most cherished vacation ever. I've got a ton of shots from that trip and some good stories to go along with them.

Thinking about the photo page got me to playing around more with my camera gear during my holiday too. I sort of became reinvigorated to put more effort into my photography hobby, which I've really neglected over the past several months. That's a good thing. In fact, I'm even thinking about taking part in the 26 Things photography scavenger hunt which starts today and lasts until August 1st. I used to enjoy taking the weekly assignments over at Fred Miranda's excellent and very popular photo site. I even managed to make the finalist's cut on a couple of occasions with my photos. Maybe I'll enjoy doing the 26 things project just as much.

At any rate, I'm going to make my '93 vacation photo essay the priority over that, but will still procure new photos over the coming month for the scavenger hunt, starting today. Look for the beginning of it here tomorrow.

Posted by: Marc  

An Email From Mom  
Friday, June 27, 2003 09:40:47 AM EDT

I'm posting this email I got from my Mom today, because I'm actually on vacation number one and as many people have certainly noticed by now, terribly deficient in the blogging department. But my Mom seems to be in a fired up rage against a Catholic Nun! Now that's worthy of a blog post! (Thanks mom!) Here, she tells of a sister's rant against our recent actions in Iraq and her own response to it. Read in its' entirety and you'll understand just one reason why I love my mom.

Mom's email message (body) to me this AM:
Hi Marc,

This is long, but I thought you might appreciate the arguments I posed in response to an article forwarded to me from a friend of Mother and Daddy's (ed note: her parents, my grandparents). The author is a Catholic sister, and the article appeared in the
National Catholic Reporter. My response to her follows. Also including my latest picture!

Here is the article she mentions:
"Is there anything left that matters?
By Joan Chittister,OSB

This is what I don't understand: All of a sudden nothing seems to matter. First, they said they wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive." But they didn't get him. So now they tell us that it doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man.

Then they said they wanted Saddam Hussein, "dead or alive." He's apparently alive but we haven't got him yet, either. However, President Bush told reporters recently, "It doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man."

Finally, they told us that we were invading Iraq to destroy their weapons of mass destruction. Now they say those weapons probably don't exist. Maybe never existed. Apparently that doesn't matter either.

Except that it does matter.

I know we're not supposed to say that. I know it's called "unpatriotic." But it's also called honesty. And dishonesty matters.

It matters that the infrastructure of a foreign nation that couldn't defend itself against us has been destroyed on the grounds that it was a military threat to the world.

It matters that it was destroyed by us under a new doctrine of "pre-emptive war" when there was apparently nothing worth pre-empting.

It surely matters to the families here whose sons went to war to make the world safe from weapons of mass destruction and will never come home.

It matters to families in the United States whose life support programs were ended, whose medical insurance ran out, whose food stamps were cut off, whose day care programs were eliminated so we could spend the money on sending an army to do what did not need to be done.

It matters to the Iraqi girl whose face was burned by a lamp that toppled over as a result of a U.S. bombing run.

It matters to Ali, the Iraqi boy who lost his family — and both his arms — in a U.S. air attack.

It matters to the people in Baghdad whose water supply is now fetid, whose electricity is gone, whose streets are unsafe, whose 158 government ministries' buildings and all their records have been destroyed, whose cultural heritage and social system has been looted and whose cities teem with anti-American protests.

It matters that the people we say we "liberated" do not feel liberated in the midst of the lawlessness, destruction and wholesale social suffering that so-called liberation created.

It matters to the United Nations whose integrity was impugned, whose authority was denied, whose inspection teams are even now still being overlooked in the process of technical evaluation and disarmament.

It matters to the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the world, both now and for decades to come, perhaps.

And surely it matters to the integrity of this nation whether or not its intelligence gathering agencies have any real intelligence or not before we launch a military armada on its say-so.

And it should matter whether or not our government is either incompetent and didn't know what they were doing or were dishonest and refused to say.

The unspoken truth is that either as a people we were misled, or we were lied to, about the real reason for this war. Either we made a huge — and unforgivable — mistake, an arrogant or ignorant mistake, or we are swaggering around the world like a blind giant, flailing in all directions while the rest of the world watches in horror or in ridicule.

If Bill Clinton's definition of "is" matters, surely this matters. If a president's sex life matters, surely a president's use of global force against some of the weakest people in the world matters. If a president's word in a court of law about a private indiscretion matters, surely a president's word to the community of nations and the security of millions of people matters.

And if not, why not? If not, surely there is something as wrong with us as citizens, as thinkers, as Christians as there must be with some facet of the government. If wars that the public says are wrong yesterday — as over 70% of U.S. citizens did before the attack on Iraq — suddenly become "right" the minute the first bombs drop, what kind of national morality is that?

Of what are we really capable as a nation if the considered judgment of politicians and people around the world means nothing to us as a people?

What is the depth of the American soul if we can allow destruction to be done in our name and the name of "liberation" and never even demand an accounting of its costs, both personal and public, when it is over?

We like to take comfort in the notion that people make a distinction between our government and ourselves. We like to say that the people of the world love Americans, they simply mistrust our government. But excoriating a distant and anonymous "government" for wreaking rubble on a nation in pretense of good requires very little of either character or intelligence.

What may count most, however, is that we may well be the ones Proverbs warns when it reminds us: "Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks the truth." The point is clear: If the people speak and the king doesn't listen, there is something wrong with the king. If the king acts precipitously and the people say nothing, something is wrong with the people.

It may be time for us to realize that in a country that prides itself on being democratic, we are our government. And the rest of the world is figuring that out very quickly.

From where I stand, that matters."
Mom's perfect response:
"Dear Sister Joan,

Having just read your May 27th article in the National Catholic Reporter titled "Is there anything left that matters?", I feel compelled to respond.

Yes, it does matter! It matters to the women of Afghanistan that they can leave their homes now without fear of being accused of some "horrible" crime and stoned to death in the soccer stadium. That they can, if they choose, forego the "veil" for less restrictive dress. That their little girls can now go to school. That they can get a job for which they were trained before the Taliban took over that country. All this matters, to them.

Ask the Iraqis with relatives whose bodies were unearthed from mass graves if it matters that we Americans were there. Be sure to ask them when those relatives disappeared if they felt sure that Saddam would take good care of their loved ones. If you could, it would be enlightening to ask the young girls that Ouday Hussein kidnapped and tortured, raped for days, and finally killed, if they felt that the U.S. "pre-emptive" strike mattered. If it were possible, it would be interesting to listen to the Kurds who were gassed by Saddam to see if they would condemn the American government's intervention in their country. I seriously doubt it.

Weapons of mass destruction? Yes, it matters that in October of 2002, ALL of the nations of the Security Council of the U.N. agreed that Saddam possessed them. I don't believe that anyone has said that they probably don't exist. We've been in Baghdad less that three months and already the "peace and love" folks are screaming because our search teams haven't found them ….yet. These are the same people who wanted to give the U.N. inspectors as long as a year to find them, so maybe, just maybe, that matters too.

Yes, it matters that some of the infrastructure of Iraq was destroyed, and we are working very hard to repair and restore full functionality to the country. And by the way, it has been reported that most of the antiquities that were supposed to have been stolen, were in fact hidden by the museum curators for safekeeping. Most of the Iraqis who are chanting the anti-American slogans are either Saddam loyalists (and yes, I'd be anti-American in that case too!), or are Iranian fomenters of war.

In the 1500's St. Augustine wrote a theory about a "just war". Papal biographer George Weigel summarized St. Augustine's theory this way: "military action is justified as a last resort under certain circumstances: when there is a reasonable chance of success and the good likely to be achieved outweighs the harm that will result if nothing is
done. It also demands civilian immunity and the use of no more force than necessary." It seems to me that pretty much is what our American government's plan of action followed. We spent more than six months trying diplomatic solutions, U.N. resolutions, negotiations, and inspections, so we were down to the last resorts. And WMDs or not, the good that we are doing there likely will far outweigh the harm that was done. Yes, it matters that there were some civilian casualties and injuries, but our military zealously tried to avoid the civilian populations, often at great risks to their own lives.

Yes, it matters that the citizens of this country of ours are being asked to sacrifice. After 9/11, how many U.S. taxpayers would say, "Keep my neighborhood safe, but don't expect me to pay for it!"? In the dark and immoral world of terrorism, pre-emption and strength are the only qualities that will keep us safe from harm. There is a price to pay for that, and it matters to most Americans. When you attack Americans on American soil you can darn well expect there will be retribution. And we'll pay for it.

Yes, it matters that most of the "new European" countries are now our allies and agree 100% with our policy of pre-emption. They know what dictatorships and repression can do to a people. And no, it DOES NOT matter that our "reputation" is on the rocks with the French, who are an ungrateful nation where 56,000 of our liberating U.S. forces are buried. And we should care what they think? I think not!

Unlike the previous administration, this president tells it like it is, and the majority of American people trust him. Believe it or not, it does matter when you lie to a grand jury, regardless that it's a question about "private indiscretions". To me, it matters that Bill Clinton sold classified information to China for campaign contributions. It matters that he schmoozed North Korea and thought they would not engage in nuclear proliferation because he was so charming and asked them not to. Looks like they laughed all the way to the reactor! It matters that he launched a pre-emptive strike against an Iraqi aspirin factory to deflect attention away from his "Monica problem". It matters that he gave last-minute presidential pardons to convicted drug dealers, thieves and fugitives. It matters that he and his wife took gifts intended for the White House when they left, and trashed the image of the office of the president in the eight years they were in the White House. It mattered.

And lastly, it matters that never before in the history of the world, has a country with the awesome power and might of the United States of America been used for so much good in the world. We are a nation of compassionate people, and we care about our neighbors, both those who live next door, and those who live across the seas. We open our hearts and our wallets to help someone in need. We donate food for famine-stricken people, and send relief workers to help with victims of floods and earthquakes. We send our young people to Third World countries to teach other people's children how to read and write. We adopt the orphans of war from foreign lands.

And it still matters that we believe in God. This country was founded by men who prayed to and believed in a Power greater than themselves. And, I'm pretty sure if you could ask them if they believed, like St. Augustine, in a "just war", they would answer YES! Because it matters for the survival of a civilized world.


Jackie (Ed note: proud Marc's Mother)
Columbus, OH"

Posted by: Marc's Mom  

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