Friday, December 29, 2006


The dictator has met his end, at the hands of the people he tormented for decades. He received more justice in a single day of his trial than he ever gave anyone during his reign of terror.

The New York Times gives its readers a blow-by-blow description of Saddam Hussein's final moments, which seems especially helpful now that the bootleg video of the execution has hit the viral network.

However, the tone of this piece is more suited to the valediction of a national hero than a genocidal dictator, and it makes the Times look as though they are mourning the loss of Saddam Here are a few of the relevant points in the prose:

Saddam Hussein never bowed his head, until his neck snapped...

His executioners wore black ski masks, but Mr. Hussein could still see their deep brown skin and hear their dialects, distinct to the Shiite southern part of the country, where he had so brutally repressed two separate uprisings...

When he rose to be led back to the execution room at 6 a.m., he looked strong, confident and calm. Whatever apprehension he may have had only minutes earlier had faded...

Mr. Hussein was led up to the gallows without a struggle. His hands were unbound, put behind his back, then fastened again. He showed no remorse. He held his head high.

And so on...

If you watch either video, this bears little resemblance to the images seen on television screens or computer monitors.

Saddam hardly marched in with his head held high; instead, he looked somewhat nonplussed and nervous, understandably so, as he approached the platform.

The entire piece reads like a radical Sunni insurgent history book, circa 2008, and the editors of the Times should have recognized it.

Saddam may have faced his execution without tears or begging, but any review of the video shows the descriptions here to be propaganda.

The dictator has met his end, at the hands of the people he tormented for decades. He received more justice in a single day of his trial than he ever gave anyone during his reign of terror.

Without a doubt, all sides will attempt to create their own legends and propaganda from Saddam's execution. It's too bad that the New York Times has decided to join in the effort.

I wish people wouldn't do things that warranted death but, if I start to feel bad I'll just remember the Iraqi who had his hands sawed off with no anesthesia, or the small Iraqi children imprisoned, raped and killed, or the picture I saw of the Kurdish women dead with her baby clutched in her arms, or perhaps even the fact that he raised monsters like Uday and Qusay who committed atrocities also, even some that surpassed their fathers.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

What Christmas Means To Me...

Christmas to me means family, love, caring and giving.

As a child, Christmas was always the most important day of the year. It meant being rewarded with gifts for good behavior, thanks Santa!

As a young man in the military, Christmas was a time of celebrating with other service members. A time of attempting to create a sense of normalcy in a strange place far from home and if I really wanted that RPG launcher, I'd better start calling my mom more often...

As I've grown older, Christmas is still my favorite time of the year.

It's a time to enjoy being with the ones I love, to share memories and make new ones, giving instead of receiving, doing what I can for my community and seeing my youth reflected in the eyes of my child.

As a Christian, Christmas has always meant celebrating the birth of one very special child in particular. The Christ child. A time for midnight mass, giving thanks to God for all that has been done for us and celebrating the true religion of peace.

I hope anyone reading this has a safe and happy holiday!

Merry Christmas!

Frivolous Fun: Elf Yourself - Star Wars Christmas - Simon Sez

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Let There Be Light...

Did we go overboard on the exterior Christmas decorations this year?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's The Thought That Counts...

It's that time of year again...Christmas is almost upon us and with it, all the pressures that come with it to get the perfect gift for everyone on your list. The truth is though that your friends and loved ones may not love the gifts you've chosen.

Sometimes they'll open the gift, it’s not exactly what they expected or even something they wanted and after they feign excitement for the obligatory amount of time, what do they do with it?

Well, if they're like most Americans, they regift or pass the less than stellar present on to someone else who might enjoy it more.

Wikipedia defines regifting as the act of taking a gift that has been received and giving it to somebody else in the guise of a new gift.

The term was coined on an episode of Seinfeld called "The Label Maker" in which Elaine calls someone a "regifter" after they give Jerry a label-maker that was originally given to them by her.

If you have ever watched "A Christmas Story" you know that Ralphie received one of the worst gifts a young boy could ever bunny rabbit pajamas. I wonder if they regifted it?

Which brings me to the question...Is it okay to regift?

Heres some tips in case you're stuck with a recyclable gift this year:

1. No Guilt Necessary

According the President of Ethics at Work, "There is no reason to feel guilty for regifting. The purpose of giving a gift is to give pleasure, to bring joy to someone's life. If for example you already own a copy of the 'Godfather' collection and you know that someone else would like to have it, what's the point in keeping it? It would be wasteful."

Once a gift is given, it's the recipient's to do with as they wish, whether it be returning it or regifting it. Another etiquette expert we spoke to said people are not required to keep something they don't need or like. Good etiquette doesn't require you to keep anything, just that you are grateful when you receive it.

2. Obligation To Regift

Not only is it okay to regift, some experts say there are times you are morally obligated to regift.

For example, if someone gives you an article of clothing or food that you don't want or don't need but that someone else could benefit from such as a homeless person or a shelter, it's not only a good thing to give it to the shelter, you ought to give it to the shelter. As a bonus, if you do give it to a charity, you may be eligible for a tax deduction.

3. Rules Of Regifting

If you plan on regifting, do it with a gift you recently received, in other words, the sooner the better. Otherwise you may forget who gave it to you in the first place and could end up giving the gift back to the original giver.

Also, make sure you give the gift to someone who won't possibly run into the first person. It would be terribly embarrassing if your mother-in-law saw the one of a kind, handmade sweater she gave you on another relative.

The gift should be in its original condition and do your best to remove the evidence by taking off all the original gift tags!

4. Consider The Recipient

Naturally, if you're regifting, be casual. You don't want to give the recipient the impression you bought the item, spent a lot of time looking for it, picking it out and ordering it.

If the guilt is too much, you may want to be honest with the person you are giving the gift to. You can say "I received this sweater, but am allergic to the fabric and I thought you might like it."

When you're giving the gift out of season for example, not during the holidays or not around one's birthday it is probably fair to tell the person you are regifting so you don't unfairly obligate them to give you a gift in return.

5. Accepting The Regift

A tip for the giftee: if you suspect you are being given a re-gift, never make mention of it.

If you receive something you're not thrilled with, consider donating it or passing it on to someone you really think would appreciate it or try selling it on eBay.

Merry Christmas and remember it's the thought that counts...

Frivolous Fun: Name That Christmas Song Quiz

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Something For The Ladies...

SNL rarely has anything worthwhile on it anymore, but on occasion there will be a host on that knocks it out of the park.

Natalie Portman comes to mind, but now we have this new video.

I dedicate this post to Season, Dylan and any other Justin Timberlake fans out there that can't afford tickets to his concert:

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Home For The Holidays...

Army Sgt. Pisay Tan's mother was a Cambodian refuge and as a way to repay this country for taking his family in during the Vietnam War he joined the United States Army.

Sgt. Tan served in Operation Enduring Freedom and even after losing both legs, hours of surgery and rehabilitation the twenty-five year old says he still believes no sacrifice is too big and describes his service as "the perfect opportunity."

Sgt. Tan is now officially a resident of Ridley, Pennsylvania thanks to what is likely the largest, best-decorated present anyone in the county will receive this year.

He joined his brother, Dara, and mother, Bo Mao, with hundreds of others for the official unveiling of his new home: a two-story single house built specifically to Tan’s needs by contractor The McKee Group and non-profit organization Homes For Our Troops.

Sgt. Tan, of the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment, lost both his legs to an improvised explosive device while serving his second tour of duty in Iraq last August, but as his Army buddy Todd Bussard, of Atlanta, said, Tan never showed any bitterness or anger.

He's has been an inspiration to all who speak of him, including The McKee Group President Frank McKee, who considers Tan his personal hero."He is a treasure, this young man," McKee told the group gathered under tents for the unveiling. "He served all of us and now we get the wonderful opportunity to serve and do something for somebody who did so much for us."

Groundbreaking took place on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and construction followed at a break-neck pace with help from hundreds of volunteers and organizations.

"It took unbelievably generous donations of time, labor, material and money from many subcontractors and charitable contributors to make this home a reality," said McKee. "I’m very proud to stand before you representing this group of people who would put their heart and soul into building a house for a young man who gave his heart and soul to defend his country.

Our goal and our hope is that people see this from around the country and other builders help out fellow veterans and take care of them the way we have for Pisey. That’s the best thing that could happen. It is our dream."(source)

Another great story demonstrating the true spirit of Christmas...

Special Christmas Wish...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Arlington National Cemetery...

A moment to remember those that won't be with us this Christmas...

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well.
Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
Peace, peace, and farewell...

Read the story of the wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery and about the poem here.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Top Five Favorite Christmas Songs...

Here are my top five favorite Christmas songs:

  1. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
  2. The Little Drummer Boy
  3. Chestnuts Roasting On A Open Fire
  4. Baby, It's Cold Outside
  5. All I Want For Christmas Is You

I really enjoy listening to folks like Harry Connick Jr., Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole and Burl Ives sing Christmas songs, but there is one Christmas album that touches my heart like no other:

The soothing sounds of Peter Lowenbrau Griffin...

I tag: Tracy, Mason, and Kevin...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

View On Wrapping Christmas Gifts...

This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Three Wise Men; Caspar, Balthasar and that other guy; went to see the baby Jesus and according to the Bible, "presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."

These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact...

There is no mention of wrapping paper!

If there had been wrapping paper Matthew would have also written:

"And lo, the gifts were inside six hundred square cubits of papyrus and the papyrus was festooned with festive pictures of angels blowing trumpets.

But these words do not appear in the Bible, which is undeniable evidence that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped.

This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics

  1. They were wise.
  2. They were men.

Men are not big gift wrappers. We do not understand the point of putting paper around a gift just so somebody else can tear it off.

Perhaps it's because they don't make wrapping paper that can hold a man's interest long enough for him to complete this tedious task.

That is why today I am presenting: Wrapping Paper For Men!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Year Without A Santa Claus?

Photo obtained from Santa Claus' MySpace account

The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that it was bringing a lawsuit against Santa Claus for violations of the civil rights of children.

An ACLU spokesman stated that: "Mr. Claus has been violating children's right to privacy and has been compiling information about children’s behavior in a vast database, many times without the parent’s knowledge or consent."

"This information is then used by Mr. Claus’ organization to determine which children are considered “naughty” or “nice” according to his own intrinsic belief system. It is obvious Mr. Claus has violated the children's rights, as we have alleged in our suit, as proof we have obtained memos and other company information."

Among the documents presented to the courts today was a copy of a mass e-mail threat sent out to children worldwide which reads:

  • You better watch out.
  • You better not cry.
  • You better not pout.
  • I'm telling you why.
  • Santa Claus is coming to town.

In addition the ACLU believes those threats to be Mr. Claus’ way of engaging in mind control experiments designed to curtail children’s free will.

The ACLU claims the document, which was obtained from a worker in the distribution department of Mr. Claus' organization,"Clearly shows a concerted attempt to restrict the rights of children to free expression and free thought. In addition, there are concerns about the security of the information. What would be the result if the information in his database was made available to other agencies around the world?"

Lawyers at the Justice Department also confirmed today that they were investigating the possibility that Mr. Claus was at the core of a vast conspiracy against children.

An anonymous source from inside Justice stated: "We believe a large number of parent, ministers and teachers are involved in this business of attempting to get children to behave and we expect several of them will testify for the State in return for a lighter sentence."

In addition, the same sources indicated a parallel investigation by the IRS and the FBI on possible charges of smuggling on the part of Mr. Claus: "Our records do not show Mr. Claus, or any one else in his organization paying any import duties or taxes on any items he has delivered. Since Mr. Claus has representatives in all of the States of the Union we believe he should have to pay state and local taxes on all of the goods he delivers also."

Lawyers for Mr. Claus stated, "The charges of the ACLU are absurd. Mr. Claus is a well known and highly respected figure. His supporters are from around the world and his message of love and respect can, in no way, be taken as a form of "mind control" or a violation of the civil rights of children."

The lawsuit is complicated by the fact that Mr. Claus is not a resident of the United States or any country which the United States currently has an extradition treaty.

It is unknown where Mr. Claus is at the moment, but it is believed he is hiding out at his North Pole estate.

In a brief statement, read by his lawyer, Mr. Claus said, "I find the charges of the ACLU absurd and I am confident they will be rejected by the courts. As for any criminal charges, I believe the Justice Department will discover they have no basis."

Experts are uncertain what effect the suit or possible pending charges might have on Mr. Claus' Christmas travels this year.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Season's Office Christmas Party...

Well, just as I predicted Season won two hundred dollars for first prize in the karaoke contest, with her singing partner Yvonne, at her company's Christmas party last night. Great job ladies!

We had a great time and I really enjoyed meeting more of the people she works for and with.

Since we didn't win any of the prizes they gave away the best thing about the party can probably be summed up with three little words:


I'm glad we went since it's highly doubtful I will be attending my company's Christmas party in NYC.

After the party our table wanted to head to a local night club, but Season and I decided to come home and snuggle together.

A perfect ending to a wonderful night.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Humdinger Friday...

Last night we got together at our friends Kevin and Taryn's house for some drinking, cards and....Karaoke From Hell!

The ladies were definitely in rare form last night. Season, Taryn and Yvonne sang Eve and Gwen Stefani's "Let Me Blow Your Mind", "Summer Lovin" from the Grease Soundtrack, Destiny's Child "Bootylicious", The Judds "Grandpa" and many, many, many others.

On a side note: I was the big winner of the Texas Hold 'Em pot!

My poker face reined supreme!

Well, tonight is Season's company Christmas party. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. There's going to be good food, lots of prizes given away and lucky me...a karaoke contest! Nooooooooo! Not again!

I have entered the Ninth Circle Of Hell...Where they keep the karaoke singers on ice until the Apocalypse and the end of days.

I kid, I'm a kidder...

Season's going to be in the contest, she actually can sing pretty well and she's been practicing a lot. She's certainly got guts to want to get up in front of her bosses and co-workers and sing. She'll probably win.

Wish her luck!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Remembering Pearl Harbor

On Dec. 7, 1941 - sixty-five years ago today, pilots from a Japanese carrier force bombed Pearl Harbor. They killed two thousand, four hundred and three Americans, most of them service personnel, while destroying much of the American naval fleet and air planes stationed in Hawaii.

Our citizens reacted to the attack with firm determination to defeat tyranny and secure our Nation. This enterprise required the commitment and effort of our entire country. At the height of the conflict, the United States had ships on every ocean and troops on five continents. In all, more than sixteen million Americans wore the uniform of our Nation. They came from all walks of life. They served honorably and fought fiercely. At home, millions more contributed to the war effort, laboring for victory in our factories, on farms, and across America.

In the decades since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, countless survivors have made the long journey back to Hawaii every five years to remember comrades who were lost and to catch up with those who lived but later went their separate ways, but this year's reunion holds an urgency that hasn't been part of gatherings past. Most Pearl Harbor survivors are nearing their 90s or even older say this may be their final trip back to this place that changed the course of their lives and their nation forever.

Today, we honor those who fought and died at Pearl Harbor, and we pay special tribute to the veterans of World War II. These heroes hold a cherished place in our history. Through their courage, sacrifice, and selfless dedication, they saved our country and preserved freedom. As we fight the war on terror, their patriotism continues to inspire a new generation of Americans who have been called to defend the blessings of liberty.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Real As It Seems...It Was Only In My Dreams

The past few nights I have been having some bizarre dreams…

The first night was set in “The Windy City" of Chicago and featured Kayako Saeki from the Grudge. She would always emerge from a nearby clothes dryer intent on doing me harm and no matter how much I kicked or punched her she was relentless in her chase.

Now, if that wasn’t odd enough the entire city was inhabited solely by Native Americans who rode around on giant rabbits. The Natives and I couldn’t communicate as we didn’t speak each others language, leaving me alone in my battles against Kayako.

On the second night I dreamt that Utah seceded from the United States, raised an Army of Mormonites and began a holy war of conquest. Utah was joined by Idaho and together attacked Arizona and Nevada, their goal was to either convert the inhabitants of those nearby states by force or destroy everything completely.

Last nights dream was all about covert operatives, secret coded messages, espionage and intrigue. Sounds cool huh?

Well, instead of casting 007 along with some beautiful, scantily clad, exotic accented, female in distress or even Austin Powers my warped imagination gives me...

Randy “The Macho Man” Savage, Big Bird and Marisa Tomei (No, that doesn’t count as an exotic accent when she stared in “My Cousin Vinny”) as the good secret agents and Alex DeLarge from “The Clockwork Orange”, Tyra Banks and a potted plant named Mrs. Llewellyn Tibbets as the bad guys.

I can’t recall exactly what mission was, but I believe it centered on finding the location of a black Mayan obelisk that could cause catastrophic destruction before the bad guys did. Apparently it was this same device that brought about the demise of the Mayan civilization.

I’ve woken up well rested and amused by these dreams, but also a little confused since I can’t seem to discover any intrinsic meaning to what I remembered upon waking.

Can anyone interpret dreams and make any sense out of these or should I just make sure I don't have any more snacks before bedtime?

Monday, December 04, 2006

From Russia With Love...

Alexander Litvinenko, a vociferous critic of the Russian government, suffered heart failure after days in intensive care at London's University College Hospital battling a poison that had attacked his bone marrow and destroyed his immune system.

A former KGB agent turned Kremlin critic blamed a "barbaric and ruthless" Russian President Vladimir Putin for his fatal poisoning by a toxic radioactive substance, polonium-210.

In a statement dictated from his deathbed, Alexander Litvinenko accused the Russian leader of having "No respect for life, liberty or any civilized value."

The former spy said: "You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed." "The howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr. Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life."

Anna Politkovskaya, another critic of Putin, who's death Litvinenko was researching was herself shot dead following a suspected poisoning attempt.

The British intelligence services have concluded that the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko must have been an operation of the FSB, the successor agency to the KGB.

This points the finger directly at Vladimir Putin in the midst of several suspicious deaths of Putin critics.

One of the big concerns when Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia was that he was a former KGB man, so it shouldn't be too surprising that they have returned to their old cloak and dagger tactics.

Intelligence services in Britain are convinced that the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko was authorised by the Russian Federal Security Service.

Security sources have told The Times that the FSB orchestrated a “highly sophisticated plot” and was likely to have used some of its former agents to carry out the operation on the streets of London.

“We know how the FSB operates abroad and, based on the circumstances behind the death of Mr Litvinenko, the FSB has to be the prime suspect,” a source said yesterday.

The involvement of a former FSB officer made it easier to lure Litvinenko to meetings at various locations and to distance its bosses in the Kremlin from being directly implicated in the plot.

Intelligence officials say that only officials such as FSB agents would have been able to obtain sufficent amounts of polonium-210, the radioactive substance used to fatally poison Mr Litvinenko only weeks after he was given British citizenship.

Some have speculated that the obvious nature of a polonium poisoning pointed away from Putin. Such a blatant use of a closely controlled substance would immediately implicate the Russian government, the argument goes, and therefore would never have been used by real FSB agents. However, the British say that the assassination was meant to send a clear message to Putin's critics and anyone tempted to offer information to Western nations about the activities of the Putin regime.

The Russians are not happy about the direction of the investigation. They're threatening the UK by suggesting that the probe has damaged diplomatic relations.

The British ought to point out that conducting assassinations in their country damages diplomatic relations as well.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Caption This...

It's "Caption This" Sunday again!
OK, it's said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Test your wit and come up with a funny caption for this photo.
Here are a few to get you started...
  1. Oh, no! Ponch is gonna kill me!
  2. Yes, I believe you already...something got in your eye and that's not whiskey I smell on your breath.
  3. Awww, it'll be okay...let's wipe away those tears and go get your favorite...Dunkin' Donuts Boston Kremes. Will that cheer you up?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Statute Of Limitations...

A statute of limitations is a statute in the common law legal system that sets forth the maximum period of time after a crime is commited that legal proceedings based on those events may be initiated.

I was watching A&E's "Cold Case Files" and the show involved a serial rapist that wasn't already in CODIS (the FBI's Combined DNA Index System), so to avoid the perpetrator dodging charges due to an expiring statute of limitations, the prosecutor succeeded in having a warrant issued against the DNA of the rapist.

Generally, the time limit starts to run on the date the offense was committed, not from the time the crime was discovered or the accused was identified.

A majority of states have a statute of limitations for all crimes except murder, but while watching the show I couldn't help but wonder why there was a statute of limitations on rape.

Wikipedia's explanation: One reason for statutes of limitations is fairness; that is, over time memories fade, evidence is lost or never found, and people prefer to get on with their lives without legal intrusions from the past.

Well, I sure wouldn't want to inconvenience a criminal or anything.

I know if I got away with a crime, I certainly wouldn't want someone coming around years later and calling me on it.

I can kind of the see the protection it offers individuals in civil court, but the idea of a limit on the time someone can be prosecuted for a serious crime seems wrong to me. Especially when it concerns rape and/or molestation. That seems to protect no one but the abuser.

Texas is one of several states that have recently extended the statute of limitations in cases involving DNA identification of suspects. Under the Texas criminal statute of limitations laws, the statute of limitations for sexual assault or rape is now ten years. Most other felonies have a statute of limitations of three years.

The statute of limitations for some sex offenses against a minor is ten years after the minor reaches the age of eighteen.

DNA testing is the newest weapon in the state’s arsenal of crime-fighting techniques. Prosecutors and police may use DNA testing to exonerate the wrongly convicted and to convict those who have eluded law enforcement for years. DNA testing is the fingerprinting of the new millennium.

A century ago, the technique of matching a fingerprint to crime-scene evidence revolutionized crime solving. At the beginning of a new century, DNA profiling is extending the investigative capabilities of police officers, who can use the process to identify suspects and obtain convictions.