Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Reznor/Nine Inch Nails Pull-Out of MTV Pablum Awards

MTV is a piece of crap!

In their ongoing quest of celebrating the mediocrity of television culture (Madonna, Michael Jackson, David Bowie at the start, now reality TV shows and awards ceremonies at the end), MTV has told Trent Reznor he may not perform his song The Hand That Feeds as he has planned.

The Nine Inch Nails show features a full stage backdrop picture of the current American president, completely unmolested in any way. It is simply a mural of the president. MTV says they fear that broadcasting a partisan message is not in the spirit of the trophies they award to the most tedious, mediocre, boring films of the previous year.

In the wake of the Mike Wallace and Newsweek scandals, MTV is squeamish about intimidating the corporate fundamentalists controlling the United State White House. They fail to state, like all of the American media, that Wallace's information was correct and the Newsweek article was accurate, but both were bullied into retracting their stories. MTV should be standing-up and saying: "We can't be pushed around by those who disagree with us!"

Since MTV refuses to stand-up against censorship, they clearly support it. There is no middle ground: you either fight against censorship, or you do not! MTV's censorship of Reznor, and their inability to take a moral position against censorship in general is direct proof that they prefer the new corporate fundamentalist approach to broadcasting. This makes them totally useless!

I really have no use for Nine Inch Nails, or Trent Reznor. I think he and they are dull and I've already had to suffer through one tedious live performance. But, no matter what I think of them, I support their Constitutional right to express their opinion.

MTV has always been an embarrassment to Western Civilization, and now they prove to be spineless unAmerican anti-constitution corporate fundamentalists more interested in profit than their civic duty to protect the media's right to free speech.

Personally, I never allow my television to broadcast MTV and if you do, I hope you will now consider blocking it on your cable box. If you continue to support MTV you are helping to erode what is left of the Bill of Rights.

Reznor's NiN act will be replaced by Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters, a politically active, partisan band who actively campaigned for John Kerry during the last presidential purchase, er election. Let's hope that Grohl grows a testicle and speaks out during the broadcast. Let's hope that Grohl's performance is so rife with political statements that MTV has to cut his performance from the broadcast, or censor his vocals. That will further expose MTV's uselessness!

Artists and media who refuse to speak-out against the corporate fundamentalists deserve no voice! Bravo, Trent Reznor, for speaking-out!

A Yahoo! Article

Reznor's Statement of 5_26_2005 can be seen on his personal message board

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Monday, May 30, 2005

NYC MTA Abandons Photo Ban in Subway

Last year, Straphagers Campaign warned of the pending ban on subway photos in this report.

Many bloggers around New York and throughout the world, joined Straphangers to fight the MTA, and the corporate fundamentalists working to eliminate public services, by publicizing the issue and writing letters to the Authority. My article is here.

Finally, the MTA has backed-down and there will be no policemen arresting tourists and residents shooting snapshots of their families on the Flushing Line! Hopefully, the government can spend some resources imprisoning fundamentalist criminals and taxpayer rapists like Henry Kissinger, Adolph Giuliani, and Donald Trump, before they waste money imprisoning tourists!


The Gothamist

The Daily News

The First Amendment Center

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Ask David Asks

At David Bowie's website there was a feature where fans could ask David Bowie questions and he, in turn, asked his fans questions. It was an amusing feature while it lasted.

Since the feature was abandoned, one of the thin white duke's fans has created her own version. Click the link and the rock god will answer your question!

Ask DB Ask DB Ask

Thanks to Jazzfyr for sending this along!

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Joke - One Venti Viagra Irish Creme Decaf Soy Latte, Please

A Dublin woman of a certain age visited her physician to ask his help in reviving her husband's libido.

"What about trying Viagra?" asks the doctor.

"Not a chance," she said. "He won't even take an aspirin."

"Not a problem," replied the doctor. "Drop it into his coffee he won't even taste it. Give it a try and call me in a week to let me know how things went."

It wasn't a week later that she called the doctor, who directly enquired as to progress. The poor dear exclaimed, "Oh, faith, bejaysus and begorrah! 'Twas horrid. Just terrible, doctor."

"Really? What happened?" asked the doctor.

"Well, I did as you advised and slipped it in his coffee, didn't I? The effect was almost immediate. He jumped his self straight up, with a twinkle in his eye, and with his pants a-bulging fiercely! With one swoop of his arm, he sent the cups and tablecloth flying, ripped me clothes to tatters and took me then and there, making wild, mad, passionate love to me on the tabletop! It was a nightmare, I tell ye, an absolute nightmare!"

"Why so terrible?", asked the doctor. "Do you mean the sex your husband provided was not good?"

"No, no, no, doctor. The sex was fine. Indeed, 'twas the best sex I've had in 25 years. But, sure as I'm sittin' here, I'll never be able to show me face in Starbucks again."

Thanks to Dave for sending this along

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"Consult not your fears . . . " John XXIII

During World War II, my mother was a student at a Catholic school in Boston. The nuns taught her that the plight of the Jews in Europe was not the concern of Catholics. The duty of a good Catholic was following the teachings of Christ as taught by the Vatican.

Sadly, the Vatican was controlled by a pro-Nazi Italian who signed peace treaties (concordant) with the fascist governments of Germany and Italy. Catholic school teachings about the role of Catholics in stopping the Nazi atrocities reflected this evil man's personal opinions about Jews and his business plan to align himself with those he presumed would be victorious.

After World War II, when Pius XII's allies in Germany and Italy had been defeated, the Vatican was not in any position to negotiate a role in collecting the spoils. The Vatican was not terribly active in the process of relocating displaced persons (primarily Jews), nor providing any of their riches for making the post-war world a better place. Pius had not opposed Hitler, nor Hitler's final solution, so his participation in rebuilding the world would have been hypocritical at best.

Many European Catholics, including many within the Vatican, had contradicted Pius XII and worked diligently to save and rescue their Jewish brethren. Most Catholics (trusting the teachings of Christ) did not support Hitler's atrocities.

Finally, in 1958, a post-war intelligent thinking liberal was enthroned at the Vatican. John XXIII was crowned prince of the Church when Pius XII's long, horrible 19-year reign finally came to an end. A compassionate, thinking man, a Catholic in the catholic sense of the word, John XXIII raised the spiritual bar of Catholicism to include the betterment of all of the world. For five years, John XXIII challenged Catholics to better themselves and the world with the simple tenets that are the foundation for any spiritual life: trust God, take stock of oneself, and serve humanity. One of the most wonderful quotes from this great man is:

Consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do.

These are words of wisdom!

John XXIII was followed by Paul VI who continued his predecessor's work and made the church more accessible to more people, especially in the hedonistic United States where spirituality was being replaced by profiteering (and has now become irredeemable). During Paul VI's reign, I learned about community activism by watching priests and nuns work to change the world. These efforts were directly rooted in John XXIII's institution of the Second Vatican Council and his promotion of the Church's unofficial stances on the elimination of poverty and war, and his promotion of community activism.

Sadly, the wonderful work of these two men was eradicated by John Paul II, and the church has been brought into a corporate fundamentalism, guided by criminal Cardinals from around the world (most notably a couple of rogue Americans who fled to Rome to avoid questioning and/or prosecution for crimes committed in Chicago and Boston), whose only interest is tricking Americans into becoming the voice of a single-issue political agenda while feeding vulgar profits to The Vatican.

The greatness of John XXIII will never be diminished by John Paul II or others wishing to erase his memory; and it is the duty of every Catholic to raise their voices in reason and sanity to help everyone around them and make the world a better place.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Arsenal Win FA Cup

Arsenal are the holders of the FA Cup! Arsenal are the winners. Arsenal beat their opponents to claim their fourth FA Cup trophy in the past 10 years!

Congratulations, boys! You make me proud to be a supporter. Sure, you had a shit day, but you won! I'll take it!

For 120 minutes the Evil Manchester United completely out-played my beloved Arsenal. Then the new ManUre showed themselves for what they really are: A has-been squad with no future and a bunch of sociopathic talent led by a puffy-faced control freak. We have been listening to pundits go on and on about this hideous organization for years, and even moreso lately since they have become just another plaything for an American billionaire.

What is the truth about Arsenal's added-time FA Cup final? ManUre played their hearts out, and just like their entire season, they were unable to score when needed! Arsenal, on the other hand, played like a crap squad and lifted the FA Cup trophy high in the air.

How did this happen? Penalty kicks!

Sadly, the winner of one of the world's most venerated trophies was decided by a series of penalty shots. This is ludicrous, of course, but it is what it is.

No major trophy should ever be awarded after a penalty shoot-out; the teams should play until 'sudden-death' or 'golden-goal.' These millionaires should be forced to continue playing until one of them scores a damned goal! Who cares if they're tired? This is what they do! This is what they are paid to do!

Still, my team won, and for that I am grateful!

England is filthy with ManUre apologists posing as journalists. Kevin McCarra, in the Guardian, implying that my beloved Arsenal intentionally played poorly so that the tedious Roy Carroll would be out-of-sorts and not sharp enough to stop the penalties!
The stalemate was not wholly accidental either, with Arsenal's system taking some of the blame for the fact that Roy Carroll did not have to make a single real save in open play. The goalkeeper was probably out of practice by the time the shoot-out started.
Kevin McCarra, in the Guardian

Please! Take your head out of your anus, man!

Even in the USA, Fox Sports Channel reports primarily about the greatness of losers Ronaldo and Rooney, making excuses for them.

Wayne Rooney is a sociopath with no manners and if he wasn't a white sports star, he would probably be imprisoned for his behavior at work. He is a horrible role-model, a terrible sportsman, and an evil young man who spends more time swearing at officials than scoring goals. The fact that a boatload of star-sucking English hacks, Scottish commentators, and Welsh thugs want to turn this evil scum into a national hero points to the English insanity around this horrible (now American) organization. Rooney is a horrible person and I look forward to his being dismissed from the sport in disgrace!

Enough about them!

What is ahead for Arsenal?

Next season is their last at Highbury. They will move to a new stadium at Ashburton Grove.

Manager Arsene Wenger has been offered a lifetime contract. It would be wonderful if he took it; but I suspect he will eventually move on to manage the France national team and try to add a World Cup to his collection.

Denis Bergkamp will be offered a final one-year contract and be honored in 2006 with a testimonial match (could Ian Wright be there?)!

Ashley Cole will demand more money than he is worth, will depart Highbury for Stamford Bridge, and become a part-time player for Jose Morinho's most-boring Chelsea side. He will become even more sullen and angry, then probably take a job in Spain where he will be even more miserable! Good luck, Ashley. You will make a mistake by leaving and I don't even care anymore.

Edu is gone. Fool.

Jose Antonio Reyes wants to go back to Spain. I guess he misses having his penis bitten by teammates during goal celebrations. English teams don't really kiss that much, and penis-nibbling, though totally amusing, is not a very English event on the pitch.

Could we get Michael Owen from Madrid for Reyes and cash?

Will Lauren leave?

The core will remain: Robert Pires, Gilberto Silva, Patrick Vieira, Fredrik Ljungberg, and Thierry Henry. They will be enhanced by this year's wonderful crop of young studs: Robin vanPersie, Cesc Fabregas, Phillipe Senderos, and Jeremie Aliadiare.

Who will be signed? A top-flight goalkeeper? A replacement for Cole? The summer will be fun!

Thank you, Arsenal!

Better coverage of the FA Cup penalty shoot-out is provided in the 21 May article written by the always-amusing Brooklyn Gooner.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

How To Argue Effectively, By Stuart J. Williams, Attorney at Law

I don't know who this guy is, or if he really wrote this, but I have found references to this article on the internet dating back to 1998 (so it must be true). Nonetheless, it made me laugh, because it is so familiar to me!

I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me. You too can win arguments. Simply follow these rules:

Drink liquor.

Suppose you are at a party and some hotshot intellectual is expounding on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothing about. If you're drinking some health-fanatic drink like grapefruit juice, you'll hang back, afraid to display your ignorance, while the hotshot enthralls your date. But if you drink several large martinis, you'll discover you have STRONG VIEWS about the Peruvian economy. You'll be a WEALTH of information. You'll argue forcefully, offering searing insights and possibly upsetting furniture. People will be impressed. Some may leave the room.

Make things up.

Suppose, in the Peruvian economy argument, you are trying to prove that Peruvians are underpaid, a position you base solely on the fact that YOU are underpaid, and you'll be damned if you're going to let a bunch of Peruvians be better off. DON'T say: "I think Peruvians are underpaid." Say instead: "The average Peruvian's salary in 1981 dollars adjusted for the revised tax base is $1,452.81 per annum, which is $836.07 before the mean gross poverty level."

NOTE: Always make up exact figures.

If an opponent asks you where you got your information, make THAT up too. Say: "This information comes from Dr. Hovel T. Moon's study for the Buford Commission published on May 9, 1982. Didn't you read it?" Say this in the same tone of voice you would use to say, "You left your soiled underwear in my bathroom."

Use meaningless but weighty-sounding words and phrases.

Memorize this list:

Let me put it this way
In terms of
Per se
As it were
Ipso facto
So to speak

You should also memorize some Latin abbreviations such as "Q.E.D.", "e.g.", and "i.e." These are all short for "I speak Latin, and you don't."

Here's how to use these words and phrases. Suppose you want to say, "Peruvians would like to order appetizers more often, but they don't have enough money."

You never win arguments talking like that. But you WILL win if you say, "Let me put it this way. In terms of appetizers vis-a-vis Peruvians qua Peruvians, they would like to order them more often, so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were. Ergo, ipso facto, case closed. Q.E.D."

Only a fool would challenge that statement.

Use snappy and irrelevant comebacks.

You need an arsenal of all-purpose irrelevant phrases to fire back at your opponents when they make valid points. The best are:

You're begging the question.
You're being defensive.
Don't compare apples to oranges.
What are your parameters?

This last one is especially valuable. Nobody (other than engineers and policy wonks) has the vaguest idea what "parameters" means.

Don't forget the classic: YOU'RE SO LINEAR.

Here's how to use your comebacks:

You say: As Abraham Lincoln said in 1873...
Your opponent says: Lincoln died in 1865.
You say: You're begging the question.

You say: Liberians, like most Asians...
Your opponent says: Liberia is in Africa.
You say: You're being defensive.

You say: Since the discovery of the incandescent light bulb...
Your opponent says: The light bulb is an invention.
You say: Well DUH!

Compare your opponent to Adolf Hitler.

This is your heavy artillery, for when your opponent is obviously right and you are spectacularly wrong. Bring Hitler up subtly. Say, "That sounds suspiciously like something Adolf Hitler might say," or "You certainly do remind me of Adolf Hitler."

Thanks to Pat for sending this along.

I found this other reference to Attorney Williams' article!

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Ann Coulter Writes Children's Book

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter announced today that she has written a children's book, joining such celebrities as Jerry Seinfeld, John Lithgow and Spike Lee in the kid-lit field. Coulter says her book "I Know You Are but What Am I?" is aimed at the 4-to-6 age group and reflects such old-fashioned values as self-reliance, hard work and bigotry.

Claims Coulter, "Children are being ill-served by the liberal publishing industry that tries to sell them a bill of goods about how 'self-esteem' and 'compassion' will get them somewhere in life. They need books that show them the value of being white, Christian and middle-class -- now, while they are still young enough to make use of the message."

Coulter asserts that her book not only prepares children for life by teaching them basic facts, such as "Liberals are wrong about everything," but also helps them to cope with the rigors of the playground.

"Let's face it -- children can be cruel in their taunts and teasing. My book helps arm your children by giving them better, crueler invective and more creative taunts to lob at their opponents."

Coulter's effort is an "I Can Read It Myself" book, since the author believes that children should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and get literate, instead of relying on parents to read to them, or on teachers to teach them.

She also feels that a diet of fantasy books about such characters as Harry Potter and Winnie the Pooh has a deleterious effect on young people's ambition and drive.

"Children have been led to believe that you can just wave your magic wand or find a honey tree, and all your wants are met. Clearly, this is part of the Democratic agenda, which wants to keep children helpless and dependent on the party's largesse, instead of encouraging them to get jobs and support themselves. I think it's time we cut off this parental 'welfare system' for pre-adults and got them back to working in coal mines and chimneys, like their forefathers did. That's why the characters in my book are strong, self-sufficient 6-year-olds who live in the real world, where they work, pay taxes and invade Iraq."

Coulter's editor at Crown's children's division, Mary Lou Perkins, denied having any concerns about the information presented in the book. "'I Know You Are but What Am I?' has footnotes and citations, and probably dozens of facts, so I'm sure it's all accurate and true. And it has lovely illustrations showing the Little Red Hen doing all the work to make the bread and then eating it all herself while the other animals die of starvation. And there are charming pictures showing little American children throwing rocks at children of other nations. I think many parents will find it just the kind of book they've been seeking for their families."

Coulter's book faces competition not just from celebrities, but also from bestselling adult authors, including Michael Chabon, Carl Hiaasen and Toni Morrison, who are joining the children's book industry. But "I Know You Are but What Am I?" has something the others don't -- a photo of the author wearing a low-cut, black vinyl minidress. Coulter denies that this photo might be inappropriate for a children's book.

"Fathers buy 70 percent of the books for their children these days, and I just wanted to give them something to look at while they're rummaging through all the other books, with their bunnies and kittens. And while it's true that a short skirt and blond hair let you get away with a lot, I don't think I'm sending a message to little girls that they can get away with not doing their homework if they just dress like a tart and look cute. I think that is the kind of immoral liberal message sent by the rapist and traitor Bill Clinton."


An excerpt from "I Know You Are but What Am I?"
Chapter 1
Liberals Have Cooties

Tom called Betty and Susan.
"Come and see," he said.
"Come and see the New York Times1 compare the president to Hitler."

"That's mean!" said Susan.
"Liberals are bad!
They hate us and call us names and want to take away our guns!"

"Yeah!" said Betty.
"And they like to suck the brains out of little babies."

"And conspire with terrorists," said Tom. "They are poopie-heads."

Susan said, "Yes, they are poopie-heads. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to conservatism."

"Let's ask Father to help us kill and convert them," said Tom. "But now, I want to go to the park. Let's go have fun."

"Oh, yes!" said Betty.
"Let's take Flip the Dog and go to the park."

Away they went to the park.
Tom said, "I like the park.
I like looking for treasure in the park."

"Me too!" said Betty.
"Look what I found.
I found a note.
My note says, 'I killed Vince Foster. Signed, Bill Clinton.'"2

"That is a good note to find," said Susan. "Let's take it to the attorney general!"

"Yes," said Tom.
"We will take it to John Ashcroft.
Then the internment camps for liberals can begin!"

"Goodie!" said Betty.
"Let's run to the White House and start the purges!"


Written by Sherrie Zollinger, and originally published
at Salon.com. Reprinted here, in the spirit of fair use,
without permission.


Thanks to gracie for sending this along!


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Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Whizzinator

My favorite penis story of the year (so far)!

On May 12, 2005, Reuters reported:

Lawmakers Object to Fake Penis for Drug Tests

A life-like prosthetic penis called the Whizzinator and other products promising to help illegal drug users pass urine tests provoked U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday to take legal action with subpoenas of manufacturers.

Lawmakers objected to attempts to circumvent drug tests with products such as The Whizzinator, a fake penis that can provide a flow of clean urine "again and again, anytime, anywhere you need it!" according to the Web site www.whizzinator.com.

A congressional subcommittee voted to subpoena the owner of Puck Technology of Signal Hill, California, the company that makes the Whizzinator. The panel also voted to subpoena the owners of Health Choice of New York City and Spectrum Labs of Cincinnati, two companies that lawmakers said also were suspected of selling products aimed at circumventing workplace drug tests.

The owners were required to provide financial and operational records by Monday and to appear at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

"These companies seek through deception to make a buck by violating our trust and compromising our security," said Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight and investigations panel.

"It is a risk we simply cannot tolerate. This panel will uncover how widespread these products are and recommend the necessary steps to end their use," Whitfield said in a statement.

Actor Tom Sizemore, who played a sergeant in the war movie "Saving Private Ryan," was caught using the Whizzinator to try and pass drug tests, California prosecutors said in February. He was put in jail after using a similar device and failing a drug test, prosecutors said.


The House committee is investigating whether federal legislation is needed to stop companies from making similar products, such as drinks that promise to flush out drug ingredients in urine.

The company officials had previously declined to testify and provided little information, a committee statement said.

Michael Fichera, owner of Health Choice, said he had told the committee he would cooperate with the investigation.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with the products we're selling," Fichera said in an interview. "We do a service. I think it's way more positive than negative."

He said users of his company's products, which include drinks and capsules, must be "clean" for two to three days before using them to pass a drug test.

"We're not beating or cheating on drug tests. We are just accelerating the cleansing time," Fichera said.

An official at Spectrum Labs did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the congressional action. A man who answered the phone at Puck Technology said no one was available to comment.

My question is: Do they object to fake penises only for drug tests, or do lawmakers object to fake penises in gerneal? Fake penises can do more than store clean urine. Call your lawmaker and ask about it! Let's find out what lawmakers do with fake penises!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"Should any political party . . . "

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954

If only this could be true!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hey! I have an idea: Let's deregulate the telecommunications industry! Everything will be better!

I believe that corporate deregulation has been the death of the free market. Corporate fundamentalists, initially led by Ronald Reagan, play to the basic stupidity of the American public by telling them that capitalism suffered from regulation, and that an unbridled marketplace would make America great. The past 25 years have proven that deregulation has destroyed the free market and capitalism hardly exists in this corporate fundamentalist culture brought to the entire world by M.I.T.'s Sloane School.

We were promised that competition would increase, prices would plummet, service would improve, jobs would flourish, and profits would soar! All of the opposite is the truth.

Right after the failure of deregulation of the media and airlines, the deregulation of the telecommunications industry has been a catastrophe that has led to horrible technology and development, higher prices, no competition, and the worst service known to Western civilization.

I offer you this story . . .

I work for XYZ Corporation, a company with over a billion dollars in revenue, based in midtwon Manhattan. One of the benefits is access to a corporate account with VerizonWireless from whom I can purchase mobile phone service with a guaranteed 8% discount, above and beyond any other discounts offered. It is convenient to use this benefit, because the sales rep comes to the office once a month and will always return messages.

As my daughter has grown, Mrs. Mac finds it difficult to always bring a camera wherever they go. I had a great idea: now that I can by a camera phone that takes 1.3 megapixel photographs, instead of those grainy snapshots you generally see, I thought it might be a nice Mothers Day gift.

I called Mr. Smith, our corporate account rep at VerizonWireless, and his voicemail explained he was on vacation and I should send an email to Miss Jones, who would be handling his accounts. (Names have been changed to protect the slaves.)

I sent this message:

Dear Miss Jones:

I got your email address from Mr. Smith's voicemail. I am an employee at XYZ Corporation, and Mr. Smith is our new rep.

I currently have two phone lines. I would like to upgrade the phone on one of the lines; but I do not know how to go about doing this.

Ideally, I will complete this transaction by the end of the week. Can you help?

Thank you.

I waited a day and received this:

I just returned from a weeks vacation today. I was not aware that I would be handling Mr. Smith's orders. I have over 20 emails for orders. I did receive your email and apologize I have not been able to get back to you. Please give me a little time and I will get back to you. Thanks in advance for your patience.

I was totally sympathetic and wrote:

Welcome back!

Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I hope the day is not too grueling, and that my request will be a small one.

I am interested in purchasing the LG VX8000 as a Mother's Day gift. It would become the phone for the 123-456-7890 number. I have never upgraded a phone during the contract period, but I am happy to extend/renew the contract for a full two years in order to receive the maximum discount.

Please get back to me at your convenience, and I promise to be patient!

Thank you!

This phone was being offered for $150.00 with a two-year contract. I had done similar (but not identical) deals in the past and simply had to extend my contract two years from the purchase date, which was fine with me.

I received this in return, and I was completely satisfied that the deal could be completed:

I will definitely get back to you before the end of business day. 1 weeks vacation means 3 weeks of back up work.

I was sympathetic, and wrote this friendly reply:

LOL! I totally understand! I love time off and always dread the return.

How do they manage to create so much work in our absence?!?!?!?!

I continued with my work and thought little about the purchase (which I thought was an excellent Mothers Day gift).

After a while this message arrived:

This is a 2 year contract. You are entitled to upgrade every 22 months. You are eligible for an early upgrade which means changing to a plan of 59.99 or higher, (900 min) with a new 2 year contract. Please let me know if you want to do this. I will need a copy of your work id and personal id to process this order, The corporate pricing is 179.99 or we can bill you retail at 219.99 and send a 70.00 rebate your final cost would be 149.99.
please let me know how to proceed, thanks

I was confused. Over the eleven years I have had mobile service I have paid for thousands of minutes that I never used. My basic mobile phone bill was always ridiculous! I'd pay for a 1,000 minutes for each of us and web access and txt and all the bells and whistles. I would use about 75 minutes out of the thousand, used web access about twice a year, and hate trading txt messages. So, last year when I signed a new contract, we purchased 400 minutes a month to share with no web or txt service. The most we have ever used in the past year, in a busy month, was 250 minutes combined. Four hundred minutes is still way more than we need! I found Miss Jones' message confusing, because it seemed like I was being required to purchase more minutes just to purchase a phone. The last thing I need was MORE minutes.

I wrote back:

Thank you so much for the info.

Sadly, I must admit that I don't know what all of this means in relation to my current contract.

Do I have to increase my monthly minutes to be eligible for the discount?

What is the cost of the phone if I decide to keep my current plan?

Thank you!

I got a prompt reply:

Yes, the plan must be changed to 900 min, at 59.99 a month to a 2 year contract (does not include your discount of 8%) You have 2 options for pricing, at the corporate pricing its 179.99, or you can take retail pricing at 219.99 and send in the rebate for an additional 70.00 off, making the final retail pricing at 149.99.

This made no sense to me! I wanted to purchase a new phone and I was being forced to increase my service AND choose some sort of rebate plan to get the new equipment.

I did some searches on the web and found the phone to purchase outright for $300 at various non-Verizon sites.

Eventually I had a phone conversation with Miss Jones and learned that the in-store retail price of the phone was $389, and I was welcome to purchase it with no changes to my contract.

I replied:

I appreciate all your help.

A $20 increase in plan cost totals $480 over the life of the contract, then another $150 for the phone means I am paying $630 for a new phone you will sell me for $389. This makes no sense.

I am confused and disappointed about this process. I only wanted to purchase a new phone for my wife and had hoped to do so for dramatically less than $630.

I hope you will pass on to your superiors that I think something is wrong with a process that requires me to pay double for a phone that I think should be automatically discounted since I am already a paying customer.

I appreciate your efforts on my behalf.

I will decline this offer.

Thank you.

Then I learned that not only would I have to purchase 900 minutes, but I would actually have to purchase 1,000 minutes! I don't even need the 400 I already buy!

The primary line will need to be 1000 minutes at 70.00 and the second line 9.99. You are now paying 59.99 total without the discount. The new charges would be 79.99, 20.00 more, please let me know what you would like me to do, thanks again

Now, I was getting irritated!

I will not be making this purchase.

The LG VX8000 phone lists for $400 and I expected to purchase it from VerizonWireless at a discount. The $630 net cost you have quoted is just too much to pay for a telephone.

I am surprised that my vendor is not only failing to sell me this phone for the price listed at the web site, but is actually proposing that I pay more than fifty percent above list.

I appreciate all the time you spent on this today.

The conversation became a circle, I totally understood about the 2-year contract, and had often extended existing contracts. This was no longer an option however! At least Miss Jones agreed that it was too much to pay for a phone.

The 2 year contract should have been clarified by the sales representative that assisted in setting up this number. If you have a 1 year contract you can upgrade every 10 months but for a two year its every 22 months. You can do an early upgrade which consist of an additional 2 year contract with a plan of 59.99 or higher. I apologize that the policy was not explained. I do agree it's a bit too much.

Thank you. I will forward this message to your sales representative, perhaps he can assist once he returns.

Of course, Mr. Smith has never called me back. He knows I cannot be gouged. He is only interested in talking to clients who will pay $630 for a $400 phone. He knows there are no real discounts. He knows that offering me a $400 for $389 is less than a 3% discount when I am entitled to an 8% discount, and any joe-blow vendor will sell it to me outright for a 25% discount which he would never do! Why would he call me?

This is one of the problems with the deregulated telecommunications business: VerizonWireless can pretend they are giving you a discount when they are actually charging you $630 for a $400 phone that can be had for $300! Their advertising is a lie, they know it and they teach their staff corporate fundamentalist newspeak to convince themselves that the sin of theft they are committing is actually just good business (that God never intended to be regulated by government).

I now hate VerizonWireless, because they are liars. I am generally satisfied with their service; but I hardly use it. This process was insulting and I will change vendors when my contract expires.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Lessons from Deregulation
Alfred E. Kahn

Monday, May 16, 2005

Congratulations West Bromwich Albion!

The final weekend of the English Premier League season has just passed. All that remains is the FA Cup final between my beloved Arsenal and the pitiable and aged ManUre (may they continue to drop like a stone in water).

This year, the end of the season was not even remotely about who might be champion (Chelsea won it handily), but which three teams out of a possible four would be relegated to the SodaPopNickelDimeChampionship. Formerly known as Division One and, previously, Division Two, the league just beneath the Premiership is now called The Coca-Cola Championship. They don't even use the words league, division, or conference, or any other noun that might define it as a collection of teams competing for a common goal. It's a terrible monicker.

As I have explained in the past, the three bottom teams in the Premiership are relegated down to the Coca-Cola Championship, and the top three teams in the Coca-Cola Championship are promoted to the Premiership. It's an approximately $50 million loss in revenue to be relegated, and conversely it's a financial windfall to be promoted!

All sports leagues should work this way. There is always something to fight for! In American sports, a crap team like the Montreal Expos can limp through thirty years of sporting fraud offering losing season after losing season to an empty stadium while sucking like so many parasites off the good fortune and huge profits generated by teams like the New York Yankees. If a baseball team finishes last in it's league, it should be relegated to Triple A, and the best team in Triple A should be promoted to the Major League. Sadly, in America, sports are controlled by a form of socialism for the rich and when a gazillionaire purchases a franchise, the league, with the blessings of the government, makes certain he will not lose any real money on the deal and tax cuts, free stadia, anti-trust exemptions, and subsidies are provided to guarantee that this gazillionaire can limp from year to year with a losing team, no fan base and no ramifications. American sports are an embarrassment to the free market and modern capitalism. Well, I guess all of America is an embarrassment to capitalism, but that's a different article!

If an America team might lose fifty million in revenue by finishing in 18th place, you can bet your last dollar that no team would limp from season to season banking on a slice of the winners' profits!

Going into this weekend four teams, West Brom Baggies, Norwich Canaries, and Crystal Palace Eagles (the three teams promoted at the end of last season), and Southampton Saints were clumped together at the bottom and any one of them could remain in the top-flight, depending on the results of many different matches.

I was pulling for Crystal Palace to stay up. Of the four teams, Palace was the best squad. I have become a fan of manager Iain Dowie, even if he wears workout scrubs on the sideline. He looks fantastic in a suit, but refuses to wear one while managing. Palace looked like they would be the team to stay up, but a late Charlton goal in the 82nd minute led to a 2-2 draw which was insufficient to keep Palace in the top-flight.

Norwich City (my second choice to stay up) had to beat Fulham, away at Craven Cottage, to remain up; but, an unlikely thrashing by Chris Coleman's side led to a 6-0 defeat. American Brian McBride scored two goals for the Cottagers (blessing himself with the sign of the cross as the new breed of American athletes are frighteningly wont to do) and Delia Smith's Canaries went down. I suspect that Norwich and Palace will return next season.

Southampton, managed by the loathsome Harry Redknapp, needed to beat Manchester United, and had the luxury of playing at home. The Saints folded, of course, under the tutelage of the only manager more despicable than Sir Anus Fullocrap. I am happy Southampton went down and I hope they stay down until Harry Redknapp is fired, and then I hope his next team is relegated, and so on.

Which leaves West Brom, the worst team of the four! I was certain they would go down and I am shocked that they are remaining in the Premiership! I am happy for Bryan Robson and his team; but still shocked they are the team to stay up.

My Gunners lost their final match to Birmingham City. Henry, Pires and Reyes were all kept out of the line-up (I assume in preparation for the FA Cup Final).

The sad story of the day was Manchester City's cinderella run at a spot in next year's UEFA Cup, ultimately losing the spot to Middlesborough. After Stuart Pearce took charge of City late in the season, a remarkable run of wins and draws brought them to the brink of Europe. Sadly, it was not to be as Robbie Fowler missed an injury time penalty and the 1-1 draw gave 'Boro the final spot to Europe.

Pearce will return as City manager next year, and I predict great things for them over the coming seasons.

How long before ManUre and City are battling for a spot in the UEFA Cup?

Dick Mac Recommends:

Playing for Uncle Sam
by David Tossell

Friday, May 13, 2005

Joke - The Wailing Wall

A female journalist in Jerusalem hears about a very old man who has been going to the Wailing Wall to pray, twice a day, everyday, for a long, long time.

She wants to check it out and sets-up for a few days at the Wailing Wall. Eventually it became clear who he was.

She watched him pray about 45 minutes each time and on the fifth day she approached him for an interview before he departed.

"Excuse me, sir, I'm Rebecca Goldfarb of CNN International and I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions.

The old man seemed put-out, but agreed.

"How long have you been coming to the Wailing Wall?"

"For about 60 years."

"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"

"I pray for peace among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. I pray for all the hatred to stop and I pray for all our children to grow up in safety and friendship."

"And, how do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"

"Like I'm talking to a friggin' wall."

Thanks to Bobo for sending this along!

Dick Mac Recommends:

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Tony Visconti

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Confucius Say: "Play Powerball Lotto"

This is my new favorite lottery story.

I am always ghoulishly attracted to news stories about people winning hundreds of millions of dollars, then watching their lives go right down the toilet. I am not pleased by these stories, and I derive no pleasure from them, but I am morbidly fascinated and I want every detail of familial betrayal and spousal abuse and financial and spiritual bankruptcy.

Avarice, as much as Pride, drives American culture to a degree that a simple lottery can provide entertainment and lessons in spiritual growth.

This story, however, includes no multi-millionaires, no divorces, trysts, or arrests, no drama.

You know those dreadful fortune cookies you get at the end of your meal in middle- to low-end Chinese restaurants? They sometimes include proverbs attributed to Confucius, or witty sayings in pidgin-English, or sage advice. The flip side often offers Your Lucky Numbers.

In the past, sadly, I have left a luncheon and played the numbers at the local lotto machine.

The March 30, 2005, Powerball drawing should have statistically netted about 20 winners; but 110 winners claimed $100,000 prized.

Lottery officials were baffled and orders were sent-out to question the winners when they appeared to collect their booty. Oddly, an incredible number of the winners said the played the numbers from the back of their fortune cookies!

The prescient cookies were manufactured by Wonton Food, in Queens, New York. Sales manager Derrick Wong said none of 110 workers at the Queens factory that produced the winning cookie had the luck to bet in the lottery.

I want more messages from God to appear in fortune cookies! How about a fortune cookie in the shape of La Pieta or the Virgin?

Have a nice day!

Fortune cookies lucky for 110 lottery winners

Dick Mac Recommends:

Pepper Shaker

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

From whence did they come?

This site tracks some information about traffic. The most interesting information is the list showing from which Search Engine a reader has found the site. Here are the last 20 entries, click on the link to see how other readers got here:

09-May-2005 23:02 Google
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=tail wagging offers spam&btnG=Search

09-May-2005 23:43 Google

09-May-2005 23:48 Google

10-May-2005 00:28 Google

10-May-2005 01:33 Google
http://www.google.com/search?q=David Parker, Lexington, MA&hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozi

10-May-2005 06:28 Google
http://www.google.com/search?q=giants stadium soccer england columbia&hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&r

10-May-2005 06:57 Google

10-May-2005 08:28 Google
http://www.google.com/search?q=itunes encoding&hl=da&lr=&client=safari&rls=da-dk&start=10&sa=N

10-May-2005 09:48 Yahoo
http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=famous people who died of gonorrhea&ei=UTF-8&fr=ush-health&fl=0&x

10-May-2005 10:18 Google
http://www.google.com/search?q=unlock itunes&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rl

10-May-2005 11:40 Google
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Regence vs. Bakke&btnG=Google Search

10-May-2005 12:57 Google
http://www.google.com/search?hl=pl&rls=DVXB%2CDVXB%3A2004-08%2CDVXB%3Aen&q=rainforest benefit %2B

10-May-2005 14:54 Google
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=how do I unlock itunes&btnG=Google Search

10-May-2005 15:35 Google
http://www.google.com/search?hl=pl&rls=DVXB%2CDVXB%3A2004-08%2CDVXB%3Aen&q=rainforest benefit 2002

10-May-2005 16:13 Google

10-May-2005 17:53 Google
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=rolling stones fenway park season ticket holders

10-May-2005 17:55 Google
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=%24500 Grocery Card - Delivery Confirmation

10-May-2005 22:43 Google
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2003-44,GGLD:en&q=mac balladeers&spell=1

10-May-2005 22:51 Google
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=fighting in the dance hall oh man look at the gay men go its

11-May-2005 00:33 Google
http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=unlock itunes songs&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Dick Mac Recommends:

Google: The Missing Manual
Rael Dornfest

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Miss Poppy

I think one of the most important things about being a Christian is having a sense of humor. As a Catholic, I make decisions about believing things that are pretty unbelievable; and I think I put them in the perspective God intends. I do not take religious dogma literally, I interpret with the God-given brain and soul that has been so generously provided me.

I make no apologies for my beliefs.

Nor do I make apologies for the idiots that got hold of the church at the end of the 1970s and have strangled Catholicism into a single-issue, money-gobbling, scum-sucking poster child for corporate fundamentalism. There is no excuse for them! The asses who run The Vatican are almost as bad as the American fundamentalists who have manipulated American Catholics into abandoning charity and replacing it with a neo-con agenda that marginalizes those least able to defend themselves while rewarding the wealthiest who need no defense and no subsidies.

These asses cannot be defended, so I will not defend them.

A friend directed me to Miss Poppy, who is not my kind of Christian, but has a fantastic sense of humor.

Miss Poppy is selling the "Unborn Baby Ornament - US Troop Model":

Protect our troops - from the womb to the war. What if the fetus you were going to abort would grow up to be a soldier bringing democracy to a godless dictatorship?

Plastic replica of an 11-12 week old fetus, 3" long, holding a firearm in its precious little hand, with an assortment of other military paraphernalia, encased in a translucent plastic ornament, with a patriotic yellow ribbon on top. Includes a metal ornament hanger. If only a womb were this safe, attractive and reasonably priced!

Show that you support the "culture of life" by buying and proudly displaying one of these patriotic unborn Americans.

Also available in a "Brown" model

Note to the confused: This is a real product, from a real site. The product is a satire, but it is also a real product - FOR SALE. This is a real store.

OK! This is one queen with a wicked sense of humor! An unborn baby ornament!?! Man, oh man! Miss Poppy insists he/she/it is a born-again Christian (which is not my favorite brand of Christianity); but this is one born-again Christian who must be a barrel of laughs at a cocktail party!

I support the rights of all women to control reproduction. I may not agree with all available methodologies; so I don't use them. I think Jesus would support the rights of all individuals to benefit from modern science, including medicine, and all scientific theory. Those who oppose a woman's right to control her body are not really Christians, they are corporate fundamentalists looking to impose a brand on anything they deem unpleasant to their delicate (if totally fucked-up) sensibilities.

Support a woman's right to choose. Support reproductive freedom.

(Please note: I do not endorse purchasing any items from Miss Poppy, because I do not know if the proceeds are used to destroy American freedom; but, you sure should take a look!)

Unborn Baby Ornament - US Troop Model

Thanks to Diane for sending this along!

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Priest, the Pastor, and the Rabbi . . .
Alan Mandelberg

Monday, May 09, 2005

Orange Juice singer has 'superbug'

This damned superbug, the most insidious invention since the HIV virus, is probably more dangerous than we are being led to believe; but it is encouraging that victims are recovering.

Edwyn Collins, one of my all-time fave new wave singers, is recovering from the superbug, after contracting it during surgery.

I know so little about the superbug, but I adore Collins' band Orange Juice, and their fantastic album "Rip It Up"!

Do you know Orange Juice? Are you an Edwyn Collins Fan?

Visit the Edwyn Collins site here.

Read the CNN article here.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Rip It Up
Orange Juice

Friday, May 06, 2005

Joke - Rectum Deodorant

A christian fundamentalist walks into a pharmacy and asks for rectum deodorant.

The pharmacist, a little amused, explains that they don't sell rectum deodorant and never have.

Unfazed, the christian fundamentalist assures the pharmacist that this store has been selling rectum deodorant on a regular basis.

"I'm sorry," said the pharmacist politely, "we don't have any."

"But I always get it here," the christian fundamentalist protests.

"Do you have the original container?"

"Yes!" says the christian fundamentalist, "I'll go home and get it."

Later, the christian fundamentalist returns with the container and hands it to the pharmacist who examines it and says to him, "This is just a normal stick of underarm deodorant."

Annoyed, the christian fundamentalist snatches the container back and reads aloud from the container, "TO APPLY, PUSH UP BOTTOM!"

(Note: See what happens when you take things too literally? You look like an ass!)

Dick Mac Recommends:


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Beckhams Sue Former Nanny

e! Online report By Sarah Hall
Wed Apr 27, 7:45 PM ET

David and Victoria Beckham really, really want to know where one finds good help these days.

The British celeb duo are suing mad at their former nanny, Abbie Gibson, after she was quoted in a seven-page report in Sunday's News of the World alleging that she witnessed the couple fighting on numerous occasions.

Among other claims, Gibson asserted that Victoria Beckham had confided to her that David Beckham wanted to end the marriage.

"One night I woke and heard them arguing on the landing and heard David call Victoria a [expletive deleted] bitch," Gibson told the News.

"The next day, I asked Victoria if she was alL right. She started crying and said, 'I don't know what to do. He is on about splitting up, he told me, 'I want to split.' I am walking on eggshells. I have to make sure I don't trigger another argument. I have asked him to stay with me until the baby is born. I think things are slipping away from me."

The Beckhams sought an injunction against the article, arguing that Gibson was in violation of her confidentiality contract, but the court ruled in favor of the News of the World, finding that the story was in the public interest.

The couple is now suing Gibson, who reportedly quit earlier this month, for breach of confidence.

David Beckham called Gibson's violation of trust "amazing" and "unbelievable."

"When you invite people into your home to look after your children...you need to be able to trust them," the soccer star told reporters in Madrid, where he plays for Real Madrid.

Beckham said he preferred to keep his comments to a minimum due to legal considerations.

"What I will say, though, is that the reason I keep my mind on football is that me and my wife are happy. We are normal people, although people might not think that. Of course, we have arguments like everybody, but, at the end of the day, I know that I love my wife," he said.

The couple is also reportedly considering legal action against the News of the World. They previously sued the tabloid last September over another report about the allegedly rocky state of their union.

In fact, the Beckhams, who wed in 1999, are accustomed to shooting down rumors about their relationship by now.

Their marriage has been subjected to constant scrutiny in recent months after rampant speculations that David Beckham had carried on affairs with several different women.

The A-list duo (at least in the U.K.) have repeatedly denied any problems and maintained that their union is in good shape.

In February, reformed Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, 31, gave birth to the couple's third child, a son named Cruz. The couple also have two other young sons, five-year-old Brooklyn and two-year-old Romeo.

David Beckham, who turn[ed] 30 [last] Monday, has said he wants to finish out his soccer career with Real Madrid.


The good news I have received about David Beckham is that he has told my local side, MetroStars, that he will be coming to town on May 31, 2005, to participate in the England v. Columbia friendly that is part of a double-bill along with my Metros meeting the Chicago Fire. This means that I will actually get to see David Beckham!

I hope the Beckhams move to New York City, and I cling to the notion that he will finish out his playing days with my team!


David, Victoria Beckham Sue Former Nanny Over Comments to British Paper Saying Marriage on Rocks - AP

Dick Mac Recommends:

David Beckham

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Congratulations, Liverpool!

Last night, Liverpool Football Club beat English powerhouse and Premiership champions Chelsea Football Club in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final at Anfield.

The remarkable (though not unexpected) 1-0 victory, courtesy of Luis Garcia's fourth minute goal, means that the Reds will meet the winner of today's PSV Eindhoven v AC Milan match.

This is very exciting, because Liverpool could be crowned the Champions of Europe later this month!

Liverpool is humbly managed by Rafael Benitez, who led Valencia to the 2004 UEFA Cup and La Liga championship over perennial powerhouses Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Rafa's soft-spoken manner and dedication to his team makes him a breath of fresh-air in these days of superstar coaches who earn more than some of their players and love to talk about themselves.

Enter Jose Mourinho, who has nothing but wonderful things to say about himself, and the sleazy underworld billionaire who pays the bulk of his $12,100,000 salary. Jose Mourinho has never met a television camera he didn't adore (or vice-versa). His good-looks (poster boy for both American Express and British Airways) and his victory record (2004 Champions of Europe and 2003 UEFA Cup) speak for themselves. Mourinho's hubris, self-possession and near-psychotic vanity lead him to make really unpleasant remarks. After last night's victory by Benitez's Liverpool squad, the only comprehensive complete sentence Mourinho could muster for the cameras was: "Tonight, the best team lost." What an ass!

As an Arsenal supporter who is tasting sour grapes about my team's finish behind Mourinho's Chelsea in the Premiership race, I have been cheering for Liverpool to upset the arrogant and not-very-stylish Blues. My wish has come true!

This year's championship match will take place May 25th, 2005, in Istanbul, Turkey.

You might ask why the European championship is played outside of Europe, and I often wonder the same thing. Oddly, in the world of international football, Turkey, Israel and a smattering of Blahblahblahkistans are considered part of Europe.

Israel's inclusion is obvious to me, because it is basically a European culture, government and people inserted in a Middle Eastern state.

I assume that the Mafia-controlled governments of the Blahblahblahkistans have muscled, cajoled and/or blackmailed their way into UEFA. I haven't a clue where to begin a discussion of their inclusion, except to say that some people have a very odd sense of geography!

Turkey's inclusion in the Union of European Football Associations still baffles me, because it is neither in Europe nor populated by Europeans (except during holidays when it is filthy with Germans). I choose not to question too often or audibly, though, because every answer I have heard (from both detractors and supporters) is totally absurd (in that quaint, illogical, English way).

Turkey isn't the safest place in the world. Visiting soccer fans, in particular, have had a pretty hard go of it the past few years. Violent incidents at international matches in Istanbul have the taste and feel of English hooliganism of the 1980s. People are sometimes killed.

Now, I must come to the defense of English football. Hooliganism has waned to the point that very little violence occurs at English soccer events. Violence has not been totally eradicated, nor has it ever been totally absent from ANY sporting event in ANY nation in the world; however, England has done more than any other nation to combat violence at sporting events.

Which brings us back to Liverpool. Thank you, very much.

One of the worst tragedies in the history of organized sporting events (and the low-point in the history of Liverpool FC) took place at the final of the European Championships, at the Heysel stadium, Brussels, in 1985. Liverpool and Juventus, from Turin, Italy, were preparing to play the final match of the season, when rioting fans brought forth a terror none of us wishes to know.

Liverpool FC's website presents a sanitized, but accurate, storyline:

" . . . After a sustained period of missiles being thrown by both sets of supporters, some Liverpool fans charged at their Italian counterparts and, as chaos took over, Juventus fans fled only for a wall blocking their escape to collapse on top of them. Thirty-nine football supporters died where they fell. . . ."

Heysel was a decrepit, crumbling stadium that should never have been selected for an international championship match, and Istanbul is a dangerous, explosive city that should not have been selected for an international championship. This does not absolve the Liverpool fans of culpability in the past; but, it's ironic that twenty years after the most harrowing championship match in which Liverpool played they must now hope their supporters will survive the brutality that is today's Turkish football culture.

If I were a Liverpool supporter, I would not travel to Istanbul. Actually, I would not travel anywhere in Turkey right now.

Be that as it may, I sure hope Liverpool can bring home the championship without any nation being banned from international competition for the next five years.

The Atatürk Olympic stadium in Istanbul, Turkey will stage the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League final on 25 May 2005.

Atatürk Olympiyat Stadi

Heysel May 29th 1985: A Day Never To Be Forgotten

Milan Baros (Liverpool FC) & Joe Cole (Chelsea FC)
nicked from uefa.com

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Jeff Anderson

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Last Night . . .

. . . my daughter stood all by herself.

She squealed and laughed and eventually tumbled into my arms.

I wept like a little boy.

Life is grand!

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Robert Skutch

Monday, May 02, 2005

Bigotry and hypocrisy

In Lexington, Massachusetts, last week, a father disguising his bigotry as parenting was arrested for tresspassing at the Estabrook Elementary School where he was confronting school officials about the book "Who's In A Family?"

David Parker said he wants to be informed every time a book will refer to same-sex couples because he should be the one to teach his son about homosexuality. Herein lies the problem and spiritual challenge.

I agree with Mr. Parker that schools should not be teaching 6-year-olds about sexuality. However, this book does not teach about sexuality at all. It teaches that many families look different from our own. Mr. Parker is wrong, and the school is correct.

The Lexington school is not teaching children about homosexuality, any more than they are teaching about heterosexuality or celibacy. The kids are reading a book that shows many different ways a family looks.

I wonder if the book shows families where one parent is imprisoned on drug offenses? I'll bet not, because even liberals don't want to discuss the impact of our draconian drug laws on American families.

I remember the controversy in a Boston-area school in the early 1970s when a reading book showed a mixed-race family. White parents (i.e., not all white parents, just the bigots) were infuriated that the school would teach their children about interracial marriages. Of course, the school wasn't teaching about interracial marriages, it was teaching that many families look different. Those parents were forced to take their bigotry back where it belonged: in their home.

Many families look different. It is a lesson to learn. My family looks differently from another family in our neighborhood. Both families are Caucasian. There is a mother and father and child living together in each apartment. On the outside we look very similar; but our families are very different.

They are conservative, we are liberal. The families have different values. We think the mother should stay home to raise the child even though it stalls our financial growth, because we think it is more important to nurture the child than acquire wealth. They want more money, so they send their child to a daycare center where it is nurtured by strangers and they hope to acquire more money and be more comfortable. We expose our child to people of many different races, beliefs, nationalities, political persuasions, and orientations (including Republicans and heterosexuals) because we think it will provide our child with a well-rounded life experience. The other family seeks out people similar to them, who share their beliefs, and they think their child will have a better life experience for it.

Neither decision is right or wrong, they are just different. I don't condemn them, and they do not condemn me to my face.

What bothers me is when the issues are confused by an individual to get their own way. This man in Lexington says the school is teaching about sexuality, but it isn't. From what I've read, this man seems to be uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality; which he extends to isolating the children of homosexuals and pretending their family structure is not as valid as his.

Mr. Parker seems to think his lifestyle is acceptable and one different from his is not. If Mr. Parker wants to ban books that show different types of families, then all children should be taught about him and how dangerous he is!

Mr. Parker and his allies in the wrong-wing, want to say that bigotry is acceptable, marginalization of those different from them is acceptable, and anyone who doesn't agree with them is an intolerant liberal bigot. Period. End of conversation. There is no debate. They are right and their detractors are wrong.

The truth is, though, that they are the bigots. And they need our sympathy and love as we work to stop them from destroying our nation any further.

I hope the media continues to expose men like Mr. Parker. Give them the spotlight, because the more Americans see their intolerance and hatred, the more likely America is to return to a time of growth, acceptance, world leadership, and prosperity.

As long as these bigots pretend that the liberals are the bigots and close-mindedness is better than acceptance, America will continue to go down the tubes and remain the second-rate, bully nation the corporate evangelists have made us.

Help stop the hatred. Take action! Speak out!

Thanks to Karen for keeping me posted about this! See her more in-depth report here.

If you would like to write a letter of support to the school refusing to cave-in to Mr. Parker's corporate fundamentalist agenda:

Estabrook Elementary
Joni Jay, Principal
117 Grove Street
Lexington, MA 02420
(781) 861-2520

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