Friday, April 29, 2005

Joke - I'll Do Anything

A man was sitting at a bar enjoying a cocktail when a gorgeous young woman arrived and sat nearby. She was so striking that the man could not stop staring at her her.

She noticed his stare, their eyes met, and before he could apologize for being rude, she said, "I'll do anything that you want me to do, absolutely anything, for $100 on one condition."

Flabbergasted, the man asked what the condition was.

"Anything?" He asked.

"Anything," she repeated.

"What is the one condition?"

"You have to tell me what you want in just three words."

The man considered her proposition for a moment, took out his wallet and counted out five $20 bills. He pressed them firmly into her hand, looked longingly into her eyes and said, "Paint my house."



Dick Mac Recommends:

Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum Cocktail to the Zombie 80 Rediscovered Recipes and the Stories Behind Them

Ted Haigh





Thursday, April 28, 2005

Please Note Changes




I will be switching to this design.

Please tell me what you think (over there).


Heavy Trash - My New Fave Blog

My first encounter with a gated community was visiting a friend at Sea Gate in Brooklyn, New York, in 1978. I knew nothing about these communities and was not surprised that security would not allow me to enter because I had arrived on public transportation. They only wanted to admit people who arrived in cars, even though the bus stopped right at the gate! My friend had to drive down to the gate to meet me. I've never quite gotten the point, but obviously others do.

Heavy Trash is a blog about the increase of gated communities in the United States.

Do those of us inside a gated community absolve ourselves of any responsibility for the world outside our gates?

There is something impersonal and incarceration-like about a gated community, unlike a secure building. A gate makes a community seem like a prison, while a doorman makes it seem like civilization.

There are so many natural separations in our culture. If we separate ourselves intentionally, can we really be one truly heterogeneous society?

Keep your gates! Give me a doorman and a butler over a gate any day!



And in Champions League News: A Battle of Primary Colors


The Blues of Chelsea failed to beat the Reds of Liverpool in a match the Londoners hosted at Stamford Bridge.

The seemingly invincible Chelsea did not look like the champions of Europe and we can only hope that the Reds can beat them at Anflield, in Liverpool, on 03 May.

Yesterday, hosts AC Milan beat Dutch visitors PSV Eindhoven 2-0 in the first leg of their semi-final match-up.

Could it be a Liverpool v AC Milan final?!?!?!?



Dick Mac Recommends:

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Setha Low








Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Microsoft Draws Fire for Shift on Gay Rights Bill

I don't think corporations should be involved in legislative issues, whether I agree with them or not. It is bad for democracy when corporations use their money to influence legislators. Individual citizens should be more involved in the legislative process by being in regular contact with their elected officials. Ask my elected officials and they will tell you that they hear from me. So, the shareholders of every corporation should make their feelings known to their elected representatives. That is their right as citizens.

A problem with allowing corporations access to legislators is not just that wealthy business owners can use company funds to influence law and policy, but that non-citizens can use corporate wealth to influence law and policy.

I am a fan of money and I hope everybody gets lots of it. I am a fan of the democratic process and I accept that those with the most money have the most access to elected officials; but, I think they should do it in their capacity as individual citizens, not as owners of businesses.

Microsoft is under fire from liberals for back-peddling on the passage of a gay rights law in its home state of Washington. The law failed to pass by one vote. This should not be a controversy because Microsoft should not have been involved from the start.

If individual shareholders of Microsoft are citizens of Washington, and they want to express their views to their elected officials, they should do so. If their status as wealthy citizens of Washington provides them better access to their elected officials, then all the power to them. Their company, Microsoft, should not be involved in the legislative process at all.

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer should have withdrawn Microsoft's support of the legislation; but, they should have taken action personally to make-up for their cave-in. If they had the courage of their convictions, they could have pulled corporate support one day, awoken the next and used their incredible power to voice unwavering personal support for the bill's passage. They could have contacted elected officials all over the state, and in their position as billionaire citizens, influenced, threatened and cajoled the officials to pass the law. That's what the wrong-wing does, and that's where liberals fail: they haven't got the courage of their convictions!

Microsoft has been a good employer (if a bad competitor). Their staff receives good benefits and they have hiring policies that prohibit discrimination on religious, ethnic, racial, sex, gender and sexual orientation grounds. Many Microsoft employees are surprised, some disappointed, and some happy that Microsoft has switched its position on the gay-rights legislation from supportive to neutral; but, Microsoft is simply doing what every company should do: butt-out!

I hope all corporations will follow Microsoft's lead and withdraw from legislative battles. If a corporation wants to fund social, religious, or community movements, so be it; but, they should stay out of our legislative and electoral processes!

Remember, the civil rights laws of the early sixties were passed without corporate support, so America can do great things without corporate interference!

I believed that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have good personal politics. I applaud them for the hard work and big bucks they spend making the world a better place. I hope they will redouble their personal efforts as they withdraw their corporate efforts from the legislative process.

The other side of this issue is that Microsoft has caved-in to pressure from an extremist group posing as Christians, who think that God actually told somebody 5,000 years ago that homosexuals should not be treated with dignity and respect and do not deserve equal protection under the law. That is the sin of Microsoft's capitulation: that they have not withdrawn their legislative meddling based on some civic moral footing, but on the threats of a whacko fundamentalist who told them they would start a boycott if Microsoft didn't butt-out.

I hope Microsoft will apply the same standard of corporate neutrality when it comes to tax-breaks for gazillionaires and forcing non-Christian children to pray in schools and using tax-dollars to build sport stadia.

Unlikely, I know, because the wrong-wing will remain silent about Microsoft as long as Microsoft supports their causes. The wrong-wing expects everybody to play their way while the left-wing defends everybody's right to live freely and openly (including wrong-wingers). That's the way the wrong-wing is: there is only their way and nobody else can be free to lead a dignified life that varies in the slightest way from some oddly contrived fundamentalist philosophy.

Today's prayer is that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer will grow a testicle between them and become half the man a panty-waist like Ken Hutcherson has proven to be!



The Stranger

Towleroad

Babble

Waveflux

Americablog

Washington Post



Dick Mac Recommends:

Wicked
Gregory Maguire






Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Yesterday's Spam List

I seem to be getting more and more spam everyday. How about you?

IBM has developed FairUCE (Fair use of Unsolicited Commercial Email) which is a spam filter that stops spam by verifying sender identity instead of filtering content. My understanding is that FairUCE will actually return the spam to the originating server! How's that for just desserts?

I get a lot of Spam and here is a list of spam I received in a 12-hour period yesterday: (Did you get any of these?) (Did you send any of these?)



  1. Auto Deals The Lowest Car Prices Instantly!
  2. Win the Prize You could be the next $10,000 winner
  3. WeDeliverCellular Color Screen Cell Phone & Accessories at No Cost
  4. Online University FREE Info on the Top Online Universities
  5. Extended Warranty Provider Extend your auto warranty, free quote
  6. LendBridge Dick, Get Info On NY Refinance Rates
  7. Your Loan Success Dick, Advantageous Time To Refinance
  8. MarketSurveys.com Soup Survey--Chance to get Groceries for a Year!
  9. Business Careers Get your business degree online
  10. Earn More Wanted: Customer Service Agents dickmac
  11. Find Your Match No More Guessing. Find Someone Truly Compatible
  12. Consumer Credit Solutions Request a free credit report consultation
  13. Consumer Promotions $100 Restaurant Gift Card is yours to keep pending participation
  14. Special Promotions Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks Coffee Gift Card Giveaway
  15. Educational Direct You can Cut Federal Student Loan payments up to 58%
  16. Coffee Opinion Who has Better Coffee, Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
  17. Fast Funds Wizard Over 20 Payday Lenders - One Simple Application
  18. Mortgage Rate Network Dick, 1 Minute Form For New Loan Information
  19. Meet Someone Singles Waiting To Meet Now
  20. Incentive Promotions Participate Now & Receive a $100 Restaurant Gift Card
  21. USA Lending Network Dick, Chance To Reduce Your Mortgage Rate
  22. Hydroderm Get rid of wrinkles with no injections, free trial
  23. Quick Cash Advance Get A $500 Cash Advance
  24. Jonas Farmer Penis enlargement pills
  25. Kentucky Grrrlllzzz XXX p o r n
  26. LendBridge Dick, Good Time To Refinance
  27. Coffee Club The Real Deal: Taste the Gevalia Experience
  28. Miracleburn Your fat burning miracle is here
  29. Your Loan Success Dick, Chance To Lower Your Mortgage Rate
  30. Christian Dating Lesbo movies
  31. eTerm Get a free life insurance quote from Eterm.
  32. Mortgage Rate Network Dick, Astounding National Refinance Rate Information
  33. You Can Be Rich! $10,000 in 30 days! the fast way to ebay success
  34. Smileys Add expressions to your emails
  35. 3hiuyfh Southern belle & dad
  36. smileyguyz Want HDTV or a Digital Video Recorder - Join Dish Network!
  37. Satellite offer All you need and a lifetime subscription to Sirius Satellite!
  38. Refinance Doctor Dick, New Refinance Information Available In NY
  39. eForeclosurePrevention Legally and Safely Prevent Foreclosure
  40. Tail Wagging Offers News Letter Don't consolidate your debt--Eliminate It!
  41. eForeclosurePrevention Don’t Let the American Dream Slip Away
  42. Vanessa J. Smith Office software - duty-free prices
  43. Mortgage Rate Network Dick, Mind-Blowing National Loan Rate Information
  44. Limited Time Only We need your feed back, get a Free set of Titleist 690 CB Irons!
  45. Temple Lovett Re: VlAGARA Va11ium CiALlS
  46. Freedom Quote Dick, Incredible National Loan Rate Information
  47. IQ -- IQ Test IQ -- How Smart Are you?
  48. Cure My Snoring Finally get a good nights sleep
  49. Loveaccess Meet Amazing Singles in Your City
  50. This Blue Pill Will Change your life tomorrow dickmac
  51. LendBridge Dick, Staggering National Loan Rate Info
  52. Approval Department NEED FUNDS NOW? Get a 1000USD Cash Advance today
  53. Digital Camera Get a Free 6.3 MegaPixel Canon Rebel Camera!
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  55. Freedom Quote Dick, NY New Refinance Information Available
  56. Work From Home Get financial power and freedom from where you live
  57. Play Knack Click & Collect Comp Inside from VT Online
  58. Christian Cash Assistance Need up to 1500 USD today. Christian cash assistance is here
  59. USA Lending Network Dick, New Refinancing Information Available In New York
  60. VIP Advantage VISA No credit check, bank account, or security deposit required*
  61. Pay Advance Do you need a quick loan?
  62. OrderCashNow Overdue bills? Get an OVERNIGHT Advance of up to 1500 USD
  63. Refinance Doctor Dick, Good Time To Refinance
  64. Your Loan Success Dick, Astounding National Refinance Rate Information
  65. My Online Payday NEED FUNDS NOW? Get a 5OO PayDay advance today
  66. Secret Shopper Conduct a confidential review of a store in your area
  67. Football Tickets Need tickets to the football game?
  68. Your Loan Success Dick, New Refinancing Information Available
  69. info@ aventuradayspa.com Mail Delivery (failure dickmac)
  70. MyDishNow Holiday Special: $20 Amazon Gift Cert & Digital Video Recorder
  71. USA Lending Network Dick, National Mortgage Rate Information
  72. Free BBQ Get a Barbeque at no cost
  73. Glitter Friend Still the Best! $250 from Vegas Palms!
  74. CarLoanProvider , get the car you want! It's simple and it only takes a minute!
  75. FileErrorFixesSG Windows File Error Notification
  76. Tail Wagging Offers News Letter Invest In your future.
  77. Angeline Sinclair Yummy teenage lesbians caught on video!
  78. Angeline Sinclair Yummy teenage lesbians caught on video!
  79. Students Wanted $10,000 Scholarship Sweepstakes!
  80. hav@msn.com Re: Request
  81. USA Lending Network Dick, Astounding National Mortgage Rate Info
  82. Consumer Research Need a Laptop? Get a Sony Vaio Laptop Free!
  83. Unlimited Downloads Enjoy downloading Free Unlimited Music, Movies, Games, Software & More
  84. WishWireless The coolest cell phone on the planet!
  85. Pay Advance Get a Cash Loan Today
  86. LendBridge Dick, New York Locale New Refinance Information Available
  87. CelebrityMaleModels.com Updates CelebrityMaleModels.com Updates Mailing List Confirmation
  88. My Computer Club Get a computer. Your credit history doesn't matter
  89. Poetry Contest Free Poetry Contest- Enter Now. Win $10,000
  90. Freedom Quote Dick, Staggering National Loan Rate Info
  91. Education Provider Earn a degree in just 12 months!
  92. Computer Promotion Desktop Computer is pending shipping authorization: confirmation needed
  93. GolfDeRoos This secret built a small empire
  94. Automatic Builder Stop living check to check - Start Earning Right Away
  95. Christian Dating DICK Meet serious Christian Singles just like you
  96. texaslift.com You have been approved for a Platinum Card! Find out more
  97. Romance Pros DICK Tired of online dating? Meet someone real!
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  100. TV Upgrade DICK Want a bigger TV? Get a Free Samsung 42 inch TV
  101. Hot Computer Deal DICK Enjoy a new Mac Mini Computer Free!
  102. Christian Dating DICK Meet Real Christian Singles
  103. Thirty Plus Singles DICK Over 30? Want to meet someone? We have the answer.
  104. Smileys FREE smiley faces for your email
  105. sibbie abedi meet amazing singles in your city
  106. Four Seasons Enjoy 12 Bottles of the World's Finest Wines
  107. allyce feynman It’s stylish, it’s compact and it’s on us
  108. consumer information source inspire yourself
  109. vilhelmina marcelia your new washer-dryer is on us
  110. Cars Brand New Site: CheapCarSearch.com
  111. Golden Palace New Players receive a 200 dollar credit
  112. Mother's Day Personalized jewelry box for Mother's Day
  113. Online Autoloan 60-Second Auto Loan
  114. Sampling Get Instant Cash for Sampling Everyday Items
  115. Linh Orts women eager to get laid
  116. Lending Gateway Dick, Get Info On New York Area Refinance Rates
  117. Auto Lenders How you can get the car of your dreams
  118. LegalNotice Bextra has been discontinued - please read for important details
  119. Limited Time FREE Trial Find Your Soulmate -- FREE Trial!
  120. Smart Investors don't miss out on Real Estate profits
  121. P Guzman Corporation Receive 3.6%
  122. R Dyer Inc. Confirm your rate
  123. Home Loan Officer Lower House Payments the Christian Way
  124. Auto Loan Experts 60 second Auto Loan App.? All Credit Types Accepted.
  125. Van Hardy is it funny?
  126. Thad Kelsey cheap oem software shipping worldwide. householder coupon
  127. Accept Credit Cards Process Credit Cards for Zero Up Front Cost
  128. Auto Lenders How you can get the car of your dreams
  129. Mortgage Rate Network Dick, Mind-Blowing National Mortgage Rate Info
  130. GEDating@SGM Great Expectations Dating Service
  131. Vista-Print Color business cards for just the cost of shipping dickmac
  132. Caf.Looney@ netzero.net Account # 323524TI
  133. D Kemp Inc. Confirm your rate
  134. Margarito Looney Mr. Bland has $403,033 for you and your family
  135. Mel Spaulding [none]
  136. Flora Sanchez I Love These Girls rLBueD
  137. Lucky Lottery Congratulations!!
  138. Josefina K. Wills Tadalafil Soft Tabs - Great results!
  139. Calanthia Darden last notice
  140. Opal Dwight 65% off for All New Software. galloper swears
  141. joel durfee Is the highexpenditure on tablets a burden for you?
  142. Overnight Advance Get Up to 500 by Tomorrow
  143. Freedom Quote Dick, New York Locale New Loan Information Available
  144. CopyEverything Copy DVD Movies to CD-R discs
  145. Credit Builder Card Rebuild your credit today; fast and easy!
  146. Twin aces casino 10 USD to try our games
  147. CarboBurn Like Atkins and Weight Watchers at the same time
  148. Panel Feedback Participate in our Retail Store Review Program
  149. Mortgage Rate Network Dick, Get Info On New York Area Refinance Rates
  150. messhead@hotmail.com Re: Sample
  151. hottreasure@ leisurefox.com Triple your Money on up to $50 at Platinum Play
  152. Espresso Maker Special Promotion - Get a $1000 Coffee and Espresso Maker
  153. New car 2004 new cars have arrived
  154. Insurance Save up to 75% on Term Life Insurance from top rated
  155. Letha {LASNAME} REAL PEOPLE IN_CEST HOME VIDEO quad
  156. Amie Coffman Save hundreds every month on low rates
  157. consecrate Lynch Naughty married babes want to meet tonight
  158. Ink Savings Printer Ink - No shipping cost - All printer models
  159. Jody to exmember's
  160. Wesley to exmember's
  161. GPS Personal Navigator Giveaway Want A Personal Navigator (GPS)?
  162. PSP Gaming System Participate in Our Promotion and Receive a Complimentary PSP
  163. USA Lending Network Dick, New Refinance Information Available
  164. Credit Card Machines Free CreditCard Processing Solutions
  165. Satellite Radio Package Find out how Sirius Satellite Radio could be yours free Dick
  166. Professional Mixer Promotion Professional Mixer is yours to keep - participation required
  167. LendBridge Dick, New York Vicinity New Refinance Information Available
  168. MicroCam Hidden Wireless Spy MicroCam The Size Of a Quarter
  169. Account Resources Don't Wait Til Payday
  170. GREEN TEA 300 Dr. Perricone Discusses Green Tea with Oprah
  171. Gourmet Coffee Selections Get a Stainless Steel Thermos for joining
  172. Daniel Huddleston Amaryl -used to treat diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) scissors
  173. Use Our Money You find the property, we'll pay for it
  174. revmgt@ finance.lacity.org Mail Delivery (failure)
  175. IRS Advisor Wipe Out Past Due Taxes
  176. DreamTeam Eliminate or Reduce Interest Rates
  177. Same Day Delivery When it's got to get there fast...same day delivery is the only way to go.
  178. Language Learning Even you can learn a new language dickmac
  179. Payday Advance Overnight Cash Advance up to 500
  180. toolseat.com Local Positions Available - We'll Train You
  181. Advance Your Career DICK Earn your Health Care Degree Online
  182. Golf Pro DICK Attention Golfers: Get a Free Taylormade r7 Driver!
  183. Approval Department DICK Need 1000.00USD in your account tomorrow? 30sec App
  184. CarLoanProvider Get an Auto Loan in just 1 minute!
  185. LendBridge Dick, 1 Minute Form For New Refinancing Information
  186. We Deliver Cellular Color Screen Cell Phone & Accessories at No Costk
  187. Trade In Value How much is your car worth on trade-in?k
  188. RealEstate.com RealEstate.com Helps Mortgage and Realty Customers
  189. natinfo@ universia.net.mx WINNING NOTIFICATION!!!
  190. Cosmo It's not too late to get younger looking skin
  191. Shopping Mania DICK Take a shopping spree on us
  192. Cool e-Deals Test products and get a Sony Vaio Laptop
  193. Educational Direct Student Loan Department
  194. Christian Mortgage USA Check out these low Refinance Rates
  195. action_mailer Pope John Paul II Exclusive
  196. The Free Connection Grab a new iPod Photo – it’s on us.
  197. Attn Coffee Lovers Finally experience real coffee pleasure
  198. Mortgage Rate Network Dick, NY New Loan Information Available
  199. Grocery Gift Card Participate Now & Receive a $250 Grocery Gift Card
  200. Lowest Loan Rates You can get cash overnight
  201. Best Rates Refinance with the right lending partner - SmartMortgageUSA
  202. Consumer Credit Solutions Complimentary credit report consultation
  203. Watch the Wealth Video Complimentary Video Seminar- Create Wealth
  204. Mortgage Rate Network Dick, Staggering National Mortgage Rate Info
  205. My Online Payday Get an OVERNIGHT Advance of up to 5OO Bucks
  206. RobertFactor What These People are willing to do for Money - Find out Here
  207. Financial Solutions Tired of Financial Rejection?
  208. IronAvalanche Don't miss out on your chance to get a grant
  209. Free Membership Enjoy a new Motorola RAZR V3 Cell Phone Free!
  210. LapRunner Loans Dick, We Can Help You - All Credit Welcome
  211. IronAvalanche Claim your 42'' Plasma TV today!
  212. AccuQuote@Life Save 70% on Life Insurance!
  213. Net Detective Find out the truth about anyone
  214. Consumer Gifts Claim your Complimentary $1000 Coffee and Espresso Maker
  215. MyFunCards DICK Send an eCard to a friend right now!
  216. Music Brand New Mp3 Site!

Call me a complainer if you will, but I think spam is getting out-of-hand! I am glad developers continue to try to beat it.



Here's a discussion of FairUCE



Dick Mac Recommends:

SPAM
Carolyn Wyman



Monday, April 25, 2005

Dear Clint Dempsey

I became your fan the very first time I watched you play on television and always look forward to seeing you play live. Congratulations on winning Rookie of the Year in 2004! You are an immensely talented athlete and I want you to become an international soccer star.

I know that playing sports is very intense and that emotions easily run high. It is the mark of a true professional when those emotions are expressed in an intense, but respectful, manner.

Herein lies a problem.

When you are called for a foul, you are entirely disrespectful to the officials. I understand that you might disagree with them, but they are the officials and in your disagreement you should treat them with the respect due all officials in every area of life.

Yes, ignoring authority figures is a very hip and trendy direction in which American culture is heading; but, it is a bad trend. All officials of all stripes deserve respect, even when we disagree with them.


Clint Dempsey

I have a daughter. I want to teach her respect and sportsmanship. I want her to look-up to men like you. I want her to admire and respect American soccer players who are battling not only international competition, but domestic indifference and disdain. I need American soccer players to be models of respect and success, not models of bad behavior.

I like your play and I want to respect you. Please consider the ramifications of the way you treat match officials.

Good luck this season.

Best regards,
Dick Mac



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by David Tossell





Friday, April 22, 2005

Does David Bowie Really Know Who Dick Mac Is?

David Bowie once said that the best thing about being David Bowie was having David Bowie fans. If you get the chance to see him interact with his fans, you will know he is completely sincere about it. He seems to remember every little tidbit about each person he's met and he is happy to make personal contact with as many of his fans as he can.

In the Autumn of 2003, I was invited to participate in an international live simulcast of a David Bowie interview being broadcast during half-time of his Reality show. The whole event was being staged via a satellite link. Very David Bowie.

I was in a movie theater in New York City with hundreds of David Bowie's closest personal friends. In theaters around the world, thousands more of his closest friends were gathered and one person in each theater would be asking a question via satellite. My question was to be the last.

We all sat and watched the first half of the concert and when the half-time show started, we saw a blank screen. There was no interview, no David Bowie, nothing. Inclement weather had disrupted the satellite link.

I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to chat with Bowie and ask a question, my friends were just as disappointed and all expressed their sympathy at the end of the event.

I forgot all about the whole thing until last December. My friend Liz contacted me and said she had a bootleg DVD of the event and almost fell off her chair when David Bowie laughed and said he knew who I was.

She sent me a copy of the DVD which turns out to be an English-language broadcast from Brazilian television with Portuguese subtitles.

Thanks to Frank, I finally got this snippet prepared for you to see.




Download RealPlayer



Visit BowieNet and become a BowieNetter



Dick Mac Recommends:

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David Bowie






You can see today's post in the new design, post a comment at that site and give your opinion.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

RealPlayer versus iTunes

I do not use a personal stereo.

I had a spiritual awakening about fifteen years ago and afterwards I realized that I was using my Sony DiscMan to build a barrier between me and the world. I had all kinds of explanations about why I used it: "I like to hear my own music." "People have nothing interesting to say." "Other people are playing their music so loud it is the only way to get privacy." I had a whole string of reasons why it was appropriate for me to shut myself off from my fellow man. Truth was, I couldn't be bothered dealing with other people, and today I look back and know how sad that really was.

Learning that my excuses were all lies was a liberating experience. Now, I actually have interactions with other human beings and the experiences span the whole range of possibilities from joyous to dreadful: but they are part of what make a life a life.

I still listen to music. A lot. I like the digital revolution and I have been listening to MP3s since long before the advent of iTunes and iPods. I have actually owned licensed copies of RealPlayer for many years. Yup! I actually paid for it!

Still do!

I don't purchase any music from Real, because they have the suckiest of all the digital formats, so I am also an iTunes user for purchasing individual files. I would buy a song in M4P format and convert it to MP3 and everything was fine.

Then iTunes encoded and locked their file format and I didn't purchase any songs for a long time. The major problem is that I could no longer burn iTunes songs to CD using RealPlayer. RealPlayer has a rather good, if somewhat unstable, database engine, and iTunes has a solid, but really lame database engine. So I like to use Real for burning mixed CDs. When iTunes locked their file format I could no longer do what I wanted with the songs I owned, so I stopped purchasing from them.

Then I found a program that lets me use the music I have purchased in the manner I choose. JHymn strips the iTunes encoding from the M4P file and converts it to MP3 so I can use it with RealPlayer! This makes me very happy and I have started purchasing songs from iTunes again.

My reason for wanting decoded files is so that I can use the files the way I want, in RealPlayer. I am not interested in piracy, even though iTunes treats me like a criminal; I am only interested in fair use. The right to fairly use the product that I have purchased in the (legal) manner in which I choose.

The iTunes encoding has encouraged me to become a pirate; and after years of refusing to do so I now happily give away MP3s of the songs I own and accept MP3s from others. I give away my MP3s because the RIAA, the musicians, iTunes and the rest of them are treating me unfairly. And I will win this battle.

But, that is not the reason I want to unlock iTunes songs. I have purchased thousands of CDs, records and tapes in my life. I have been a faithful consumer of recorded products and I am insulted that after having purchased three LPs, one cassette, and two CDs of "The Supremes Sing Rodgers & Hart," the single cut I might download from iTunes is locked! How much of my friggin' money do you thieves want? I should be allowed to burn my purchased cut to CD using any program I choose!

I will win this battle! If they continue to lockdown individual cuts purchased online, I will eventually return to purchasing CDs and rip them to MP3s myself. It means I will make fewer music purchases, so the industry loses again!

The industry may have made it harder for people to swap cuts online, but we can simply burn them to CD-RW, or send them via email, and trade them back and forth. Surely it's not as instant as something like the old Napster, but if I am willing to do it, when I was unwilling to use the old Napster, then the industry has clearly failed.

Back to JHymn! It's simple to use (well, I can use it so it must be simple to use) and it really works and the price is right! Check it out.

Click here to download the JHymn program and start unlocking your encoded files!

Back to RealPlayer! I use the AutoPlaylist feature to generate a random list of songs I have not burned to CD, totaling about 80 minutes. I then mark those songs as used so they will not appear on a future mixed CD. I burn the CD and I have mixed music! Hooray!

The one drawback to the feature is that you cannot limit the list to include only one cut from each artist. It is possible that an eighty minute mix could yield three Frank Sinatra cuts and no P.I.L. cuts. I have been writing them for years about this, and have received some email responses from developers that this is a great idea. Still, it is not included in the current version of the software.

So I wrote again:
Dear RealPlayer:

I have been a licensed RealPlayer user for a very long time. I prefer your product over all the others!

There are two improvements I would like to see:

1. An autoplaylist tool that will prevent multiple cuts from one artist. That is, I want to burn an 80-minute CD, but I do not want an artist to appear more than once in the mix. There could be a tick-box on the Clip Selection Rule page for "Artist" (along with the NOT box) that says "ONE cut per artist" or the such.

2. An export feature that allows me to collect a list of songs I have in my RealPlayer.

Thank you,
Dick Mac

I doubt I will hear from them, but I think it is a great idea.

Back to iTunes. They suck. I hate them. I always thought Apple was outside the mainstream, but they are clearly just an arm of the law trying to restrict the fair use of music by people who pay their bills. They want your money, but they don't care that their service is (at best) immoral.

I encourage everyone to share their MP3s with friends. It's easy to find my list of available songs, and if there is one you want, maybe I can oblige!



Dick Mac Recommends:

MP3 for Dummies
Andy Rathbone



Wednesday, April 20, 2005

fas·cism (fash iz m) n.

from dictionary.com

fas·cism (fash iz m) n.

often Fascism

A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.

Oppressive, dictatorial control

[Italian fascismo, from fascio, group, from Late Latin fascium, from Latin fascis, bundle.]

Word History: It is fitting that the name of an authoritarian political movement like Fascism, founded in 1919 by Benito Mussolini, should come from the name of a symbol of authority. The Italian name of the movement, fascismo, is derived from fascio, "bundle, (political) group," but also refers to the movement's emblem, the fasces, a bundle of rods bound around a projecting axe-head that was carried before an ancient Roman magistrate by an attendant as a symbol of authority and power. The name of Mussolini's group of revolutionaries was soon used for similar nationalistic movements in other countries that sought to gain power through violence and ruthlessness, such as National Socialism.


Really, nobody does fascism better than the Italians. I do not mean that as an insult, just as an observation. Hell, they invented the word!

Fascism fell out of favor in Western Civilization when Adolph Hitler brought it to its ultimate degeneration. In fact, I think today's definitions of fascism are rooted more in Hitler's atrocities than Mussolini's dictatorship. No other nation in the Western world perpetrated as criminal a form of fascism as Hitler's Germany. Well, one might argue that Stalin surpassed Hitler, but then one would have to toss-in a discussion of Soviet-style communism. We'll save that for a different post!

As I will save the Asian fascists for another discussion. (Pol Pot comes to mind. Yikes!) I want to stick to Westerners today!

Nazi Germany was really the ultimate fascist state, but hardly the most successful. We are lucky that there are not a lot of fascist states left in the world.

America, France, and England should be proud of their efforts and millions spent spreading democracy after World War II.

America doesn't really do it anymore, but we really played a huge role in saving the world fifty years ago. Now we are really only interested in profiteering, which when not coupled with benevolence is vulgar. But, as the Italians have done fascism, Americans have done vulgarity.

I was moved to investigate definitions of the word fascism when Pope Benedict XVI was introduced to the world. The Vatican is one of the few fascist states remaining in the world. Some might argue that The Vatican's form of government is benevolent in the way I think most Italians in the early-20th century envisioned fascism; and I might agree to some degree.

Still, I think that absolute power corrupts absolutely and The Vatican, with its illusions of papal infallibility, represents absolute power more than any other sovereign nation. It is, by definition, a fascist state.

Can a sovereign nation based on a fascist system ever do good in the world?

Is it ironic that the new leader of one of the last remaining fascist states is German?

God bless Pope Benedict XVI.

I pray that he will meditate more on the teachings of Jesus, and less on the teachings of bankers from Chicago and politicians from Boston.

I thank God he is so old, and I hope his reign is short and confused.

I pray that Rome can leave Catholics to use their energy and God-given brains to make the world a better place, instead of being mindless puppets providing lip-service to a narrow political agenda rooted in disdain and hatred.

I pray he will emulate the actions of John XXIII and Paul VI, who used their authority to promote harmony, relief of pain and provision to the needy.

I pray that he can lead a billion Catholics not backwards, as did his immediate predecessor, but forward into the world to stem greed, gluttony, war and sloth and replace them with charity, hope, faith, wisdom, and humility.

I know my prayers are a long-shot; but, still I pray.



Dick Mac Recommends:

Hitler's Pope
John Cornwell


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

David Beckham Football Academy

David Beckham, in conjunction with Anshuntz Entertainment Group, is opening a couple of soccer academies, one of which is in Los Angeles, the other in East London.

Beckham has made no secret of his plan to stay out of soccer management when his playing career is over, but has always insisted he would be involved with the sport on some level.

"As a young boy I attended the Bobby Charlton Soccer School with dreams of becoming a professional footballer. Ever since then, my ambition has been to give children the chances I had . . . " offers David Spice.

I am a fan. I like David Beckham, and this is a great plan.

I have always assumed, and maybe I am being a bit presumptuous, that David and his wife Victoria would like to conquer America when he is finished playing soccer. New York is due for a fabulous British invasion, and I would like it to be the Beckhams.

Sadly, I suspect Hollywood beckons, and if they do bring their family here, I suspect they will choose the warm climes, glamour and glare of the television cameras of Los Angeles over the tension, excitement, and cold climes of Manhattan.

I can see them having their own show. In these days of television production, where actors and scripts are unnecessary, David and Victoria could become huge prime-time stars. Him talking fashion and her talking business -- sort of an upscale, dynamic The Osbornes (which was duller than dull).

I can see it now: BECKS: A Day In The Life Of The Fabulous starring David and Victoria Beckham, and featuring Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz. (What's with naming a boy Cruz, by the way? Isn't cruz the Spanish feminine form of the English word cross?) See, there you have it! A first script: the kid goes to school and is taunted for having a girl's name! David shows-up to an assembly in a frock and lectures the children on the theories of masculinity and femininity!

I love the Beckhams. I love that David is opening a soccer academy in the USA and I look forward to them spending more time here!



Anschutz partners with David Beckham Football Academy



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Monday, April 18, 2005

Aging Poorly

What is it about aging that bothers me so? The surprise of it all!

Recovering from illness, getting fit, keeping up . . . all these things are harder now than they were twenty years ago. Now, I am not the fittest man on the wrong side of forty-five, but neither am I the UNfittest. Still, I never cease to be amazed at how time has impacted my body.

On Thursday my podiatrist 'did a biopsy' and I was to go to work on Friday. It was all simple enough. I would leave work a little early, he would do his thing, I would go home and stay off my feet and return to work in the morning!

That might be true of a twenty year old, or a more fit fifty year old, but it wasn't true for me.

First, the damn thing looks like a .22 slug has lodged itself in the ball of my foot. Then, it bled like a royal mother-fucker (which is what makes royals hemopheliacs after all) until Friday. I could not stand on it all weekend. I bandaged it up on Sunday in hopes of going to Coney Island with my family, only to discover that none of my shoes or boots could fit over the modest bandages. I finally stopped taking the pain pills yesterday and have switched to tylenol -- I just couldn't take the cloudiness in the brain another day. I handle pain better than mental numbness.

This morning, I doubled-up a 4" x 4" (10cm x 10cm) gauze bad, taped it up and limped to work.

I know that twenty years ago I would have bounced back from this in a heartbeat! I'd have eaten the opiate analgesics like candy and skipped through the pain. Today, I hate aging!



At least I'm not this guy!



Speaking of aging! Here's a CD by a man who is having a birthday this month; a man who has aged with such grace and aplomb that I need to pay more attention!

Check it out!

Visconti's Inventory
Tony Visconti






Friday, April 15, 2005

Joke - Sex On The Sabbath

A man wonders if having sex on the Sabbath is a sin because he is not sure if sex is work or play.

He asks a priest for his opinion on this question. The priest consults the Bible and concludes, "My son, after an exhaustive search I am positive sex is work and is not permitted on Sundays."

The man thinks: "Outside of young boys, what does a priest know of sex?"

He goes to a minister, an experienced married man, for an answer and receives the same reply: "Sex is work and not for the Sabbath!"

Not pleased with the reply, he seeks out the ultimate authority: a man of the cloth with thousands of years tradition and knowledge: a rabbi.

The Rabbi ponders the question and states, "My son, sex is definitely play."

"Rabbi, how can you be so sure when so many others tell me sex is work?!"

The rabbi explains, "If sex were work, my wife would have the housekeeper do it."



Dick Mac Recommends:

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Shays Says DeLay Should Step Down

Bwaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! What a laugh riot!

Rep. Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut, seems to think his colleague has to play by the same rules as everyone else.

Representative Shays, let me explain a few things to you, and maybe I can sway you away from the terribly misguided path you are on.

You hail from Connecticut which is in the North and the Republican Party is the party of the South. They don't care what you think. The GOP knows you will support their dismantling of capitalism and freedom because they give you just enough funding to keep your office. This might change, of course, now that you are speaking out against the Southern leadership. You should either become a Democrat or grow a spine and stand-up to your colleagues in some meaningful way, not sound bites and press releases. Clearly, though, you are a hack for the Southerners and will eventually do what the bosses tell you. Your record speaks for itself and no sound bite will erase your record of self-serving avarice and hateful unAmerican politicking.

You are from Connecticut which is in the North and you seem to forget that Texans can do whatever they want. You retain quaint notions so many of us hold dear about democracy. Sadly, you are a member of the GOP and your party is systematically dismantling our democratic processes of checks and balances and they have no plan to give any Northerner a voice in the new America. You are to blame, Representative Shays! You vote with these people and you pretend to be appalled by their actions -- you codify their actions. You are part of the problem, and no sound bite is going to hide your participation.

The current American president plans to continue using you to implement his immoral war and his unconscionable tax cuts. He knows you will do his bidding. Why? Because you are a sniffling Republican Northerner who needs the funds of the Texans to keep your sweaty little claws on your House seat. You are complicit and no sound bite is going to make it look like you care about your constituents or Americans north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Representative Shays, you can continue to provide little sound bites and issue press releases, but you will not do anything to jeopardize your standing with the GOP leadership. You plan to do their bidding until your constituents are so disgusted by the sight of you that you either become a Democrat to save your soul, or you slither away with your ill-gotten gains to some retirement community in the South.

Rep. Christopher Shays: you are a Republican and you have helped create the environment that tells DeLay, Bush, Cheyney and the rest of that scum that they have carte blanche, and all they have to do is fund your campaign and when they are finished with Iraq, you'll happily send your constituents' children to die in Iran.

If you really care, then get to work and start saving what is left of the great America where you and I grew-up, instead of greasing the skids for these slimey Texans to rape us all of our freedom, money, children, future and morality.

Rep. Christopher Shays you ought to be ashamed of yourself! Do something or shut-up!



Shays Says DeLay Should Step Down (at Yahoo!)



Look at today's post with a new design and you can post a comment.



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NNMaddox





Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Champions League Quarterfinals & Champions Cup Semifinals

Later today, Juventus FC will host Liverpool FC at Stadio Delle Alpi, in Turin, Italy. Though some may surprised to hear this: I am rooting for Liverpool.

That's right! I am abandoning my rather consistent appreciation of Italian Series A clubs in hopes that my individual support will make-up for Liverpool's loss of Steven Gerrard during this match.

That's right. Steven Gerrard, the heart and soul of Liverpool, is out of the match with an injury suffered during 'Pool's loss to Manchester City this past weekend.

I have mixed feelings about Gerrard missing the match. During the round of sixteen, Gerrard told the media that Liverpool could not win the UEFA Champions League. I am disdainful of athletes who predict their own demise. I think it is wholly unacceptable to say your team can't win. One can be humble, afraid, and pessimistic without actually saying that the team can't win.

As an Arsenal supporter, I have only the slightest regard for Liverpool as it is; so to have to listen to their star, the heart and soul of their team, predict failure makes it even more difficult to support them. Still, I hope Liverpool wins in Turin.

Maybe it is just desserts that Gerrard cannot play. Maybe this is his penance for predicting failure. Still, I hope Liverpool wins.

My desire to see Liverpool win is not a noble desire. It is rooted in resentment, which makes my support of Liverpool as disdainful as Gerrard's prediction of failure. I want Liverpool to win in hopes that they can beat Chelsea FC, the only other remaining English team in the contest.

Chelsea is through to the semifinals, having laid waste to Bayern Munich (who beat my Gunners), and I do not want Chelsea to win anything. I want them to lose in the Champions League semis, then I want them to collapse in the Premiership and lose at least four of their final six matches. I don't like Chelsea. I used to like them enough. I don't like them anymore. That is another article for the future.

In other Champions League news. Stadia San Siro, in Milan, Italy, was the site of a the return leg between rivals AC Milan and Internazionale (a/k/a Inter Milan) last night. Both teams hail from Milan and share the San Siro, so both legs of the match have been held here.

AC Milan was the guest and was leading the tie when an Inter Milan goal by Esteban Cambiasso was disallowed and the fans went ballistic. Flares (yes, emergency road flares) rained down onto the field, the first of which struck AC Milan goalkeeper Dida and sent him sprawling to the ground.

This was not enough for the Inter Milan hoodlums as scores of flares were thrown, followed by whatever debris could be used as a missile.

German Referee Markus Merk ordered both teams off the field until things quieted and the debris was cleared. An attempt was made to complete the match, but the constant shower of trash forced the referee to abandon the match in the 75th minute.

AC Milan was declared the winner and will meet the winner of tonight's match between Dutch host PSV Eindhoven and French champions Olympique Lyonnaise.

Most importantly, though, is the need for Liverpool to win in Turin so they can meet (and beat) Chelsea.



I would be remiss if I failed to tell you about last week's first leg match between Liverpool and Juventus, at Anfield.

The last time these teams met in a European champions match was at Heysel Stadium, in Brussels, in 1985. Violent behavior int he stands led to a panic, a collapsed wall, and thirty-nine dead Italian and Belgian fans. All English soccer clubs were banned from all European competitions for five years.

In an impressive effort to make amends for the terrible behavior of the Liverpool supporters, which led to the violence and death at Heysel, the team presented apologetic banners carried the length of the field by Liverpool players involved in the 1985 match, that offered friendship to the visiting Italian supporters.

Nobody could predict what would happen, and it was disheartening to see half the Italian fans turn their backs on the apology and another large percentage flip the bird at the banner.

As I wrote to Withnail the next day: "The problem is really a spiritual problem, not a political or cultural problem. Apologies are given for one set of reasons, and accepted or declined for a completely different set of reasons. Neither side is required to do either, and the expectation of a desired response speaks to bad motives on the part of the apologists."

You have to offer an apology if you are sorry. The aggrieved is not required to accept it. Let's hope that time heals this rift and that it does not take another twenty years for the apology to be accepted.



Also tonight, MLS champions DC United will play the return leg of their tie with Mexican champions Pumas Unam in a CONCACAF Champions Cup Semifinal. This match can be seen live on FSC. I hate to cheer for DC United, but the mere fact that they have made it this far in the competition speaks such volumes about the progress of American soccer that it is impossible for me to do anything but raise a glass, toast a team I loathe, and wish them well in their attempt to beat a team as storied and powerful as Pumas Unam.



Dick Mac Recommends:

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by David Tossell





See this article in the new forthcoming format.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

It was twenty years ago today . . .

Well, actually it was 24 years ago today that one of those life-altering events took place.

I awoke in a car, I think on someone's lap, and familiar voices were talking in a serious tone. I think they were talking about me. I fell asleep.

I opened my eyes and saw a very large man with a gold tooth standing above me and heard the sound of gum chewing. Gum snapping, actually. That really irritating sound when someone quickly rolls gum around in their mouth allowing their tongue to leave a tiny air bubble that snaps each time they bite down.

"We've got him," the very large man said. "He's conscious. His eyes . . . " Then I was out again.

I opened my eyes and noticed it was very bright. A woman's voice with a thick Boston accent read off some numbers. I sighed softly and realized an oxygen mask was covering my mouth.

I coughed.

The very large man looked down at me and smiled and his gold tooth literally sparkled. It was very disconcerting and he said: "He's breathing." I wondered if he was God.

The woman moved towards my head and I saw that she was tiny. She removed the mask from my mouth.

An authorative voice spoke my name.

"Do you know where you are?" He asked.

"The hospital?" I asked in a whisper.

"Do you know why you are here?"

"No . . . " I cleared my throat and repeated, "no."

"Your friends think you might have taken drugs. Did you take drugs tonight?"

"Yes." I looked up and saw a young man not much older than me in a white jacket over a shirt and tie, a stethoscope around his neck. He had his hand on my right foot which he was shaking as if I was asleep.

"What drugs did you take, Dick?" He was talking much louder than necessary, as if I was deaf, or a non-English-speaking foreigner.

"Cocaine."

"What else?"

I thought for a moment and couldn't think of any other drug I might have done this particular night. I liked to mix heroin with cocaine, but I had been out of dope for weeks and I couldn't remember getting any recently. What night was it anyway?

"Nothing else," I said in a non-committal tone.

"Well, Dick," his tone changed to one of someone who knows of what they speak. "I've seen a lot of people messed-up on drugs; and I've seen a lot of people on cocaine, and I don't think that cocaine does this to you."

I looked at him, suddenly afraid that I had given the wrong answer and that my punishment was to be rather severe. I looked at the very large man, then at the tiny woman. They all looked back with no discernible expression.

"How much cocaine did you do tonight?" He asked disdainfully.

"Three or four grams," I said, hoping my answer would not irritate them any more than the last answer.

"C'mon, Dick," his tone was almost sophomoric and friendly. "An eight-ball doesn't do this to somebody."

"I really don't think I shot any more than that tonight." I explained and looked at each of them pleadingly.

The doctor was silent and his jaw literally dropped, the tiny woman gasped as if the statue of the virgin in her local church had begun to bleed, and the very large man with the gold tooth struggled to hold back an explosive laugh. I became confused and panicky. Were they angry with me? Were they impressed by me? Were they going to call the police?

"I saw no entry point," the tiny woman insisted.

The sleeves of my shirt were still covering my arms and had not been unbuttoned, so I was uncertain that she had even looked for tracks.

I nodded to my left arm and then my right arm.

The tiny woman rolled up one sleeve and the doctor the other. The delivery point was not hard to find. Maybe it was impossible to discern which of the hundreds of holes neatly and perfectly running along my veins might have been the entry point of the particular shot that brought me to this simple, but frightening dialogue; but, it didn't take a medical doctor or registered nurse to see that I had been shooting drugs for more than just a few hours this particular evening.

The tiny woman literally threw my arm back on the examining table and clicked her tongue in disgust. The doctor looked closely and said, "How long have you been doing this? There's no sign of infection. How have you prevented infection?"

"Alcohol," I said almost as a question.

His voice was softer now. "Ummmm . . . there's not much I can do for you here. We need to take some tests and get some more information from you." And he walked out of the room.

The very large man with the gold tooth had been standing behind me and he helped me sit-up as he raised the bed to a sitting position.

The tiny woman spoke in a tone of utter disgust: "It's people like you who give cocaine a bad name." That was the last thing she said to me for the rest of my time there.

I was a total mess, and I was in love with shooting cocaine, and I was near death, but I knew that her remark was insane.

"I have to weigh you," the very large man said. "Do you think you can stand on that scale?" He pointed across the room.

"Sure," I said. The tiny woman glared at me as she moved out of the way. The large man swung my legs off the bed as he held my arm.

"I'm going to hold your arms as you get onto your feet."

"Thanks," I said as I moved my ass towards the edge of the bed. My body slid down towards the floor. I felt my boots touch the floor and my legs turned to rubber under the weight of my body. I started to crumble to the floor and he grabbed me in a bear hug that I expected to hurt. It didn't.

He moved his hands to my shoulders and looked me in the eyes. "Can you walk to the scale?" I looked across the small room and started to cry. I couldn't walk across the room. I didn't even know how I was breathing. I felt like dying. I shook my head.

The tiny woman clicked her tongue.

He said, "I'm going to pick you up and we will both get weighed, then we will subtract my weight from the total. That will give us your weight. Is that OK with you?"

His voice was kind and gentle and direct and friendly. He was helping me and that just made me weepier. I nodded my head and he said, "Here goes!"

He swept me up like an infant and took two steps onto the scale that the tiny woman had zeroed-out. She slid the counter-weights and said one fifty-eight.

The very large man with the gold tooth swung back towards the bed and seemed to place me back down with one smooth step.

"One fifty-eight?" I asked. "Both of us?"

"Kilos," he said while he punched a calculator. "Together we weigh about . . . 348 pounds."

"I weigh this much," he said as he punched numbers into the calculator. "Which means you weigh . . . " he turned the calculator for me to see, " . . . this much."

I looked at the read-out and it said something like 88.9872214.

"How many pounds is eighty-eight kilos?"

"You weigh just over eighty-eight pounds, my friend. You are one skinny guy."

He grabbed my wrist and started taking my pulse. Then he took my blood pressure. Then he lowered the back of the bed so I returned to a full recline. All of this was done in silence. Not an aggressive, hostile silence like the tiny woman, just a matter-of-fact silence.

He leaned close to me and whispered, in a friendly, concerned tone, "You only weigh eighty-eight pounds. That's too skinny."

The young doctor returned and asked, "Have you ever had a blood gas, Dick?"

"I don't think so."

"Well, you like to play with needles, so this shouldn't bother you too much," he insisted. He laced the fingers of his left hand into the fingers of my right hand and bent my hand back so that the underside of my wrist was tight and exposed. He then used his teeth to remove the plastic safety-cap off the end of a huge syringe and inserted it into my wrist pushing and pushing and pushing until he found the artery. I gasped and my left leg shot straight into the air.

He said sarcastically, "You might feel a little discomfort."

The relief I felt when the needle was withdrawn from my wrist made me forget that I had felt weak and dizzy and afraid. I was now wide awake.

The doctor left and the very large man with the gold tooth asked, "Are you alright?"

"I don't know."

"Do you . . . " he started to ask something when the doctor returned.

"Dick," the doctor was now yelling again, and pronouncing every word as if I was mentally retarded. "Do you have health insurance?"

"No."

"Do you have a place to go if you leave here?"

"Home."

"How will you get there?"

"I don't know."

The very large man with the gold tooth said, "He has a friend waiting for him."

This was news to me.

"Since you have no insurance, your friend will have to take you out of here. I can't do anything for you. I have sick patients with real problems that need attention. You should go home and stop shooting cocaine." He turned and walked away. I never saw him again.

I looked at the very large man with the gold tooth and said, "I can't leave here now. I can't walk."

"I'll help you," just wait here.

He came back with a clipboard and showed me where to sign. I signed. He tossed the clipboard across the room and helped me sit-up.

"Can you sit here for a moment?"

"Yes, I think so."

He returned and said, "I've called a cab and your friend is going to take you home. I am going to keep you in this room as long as I can, but they are going to need the bed soon. So I'll be back."

He walked out of the room and a voice called behind him asking if the room was empty. He walked back and forth very quickly a few times, then came back into the room after what seemed like hours.

"The cab is here, and I have to get you out of this room. Your friend is waiting just down the hall. I am going to help you get to him. Are you ready to stand?"

"No."

"I know, man. I know," he seemed genuinely concerned. "But, I have to get you out of this room before they flip-out. Your friend can help you home. I'm sorry."

He helped me off the table and helped me down the hall. I almost fell, and he held me up. I was handed-off to my friend and almost fell again. They both helped me into the cab and I went to sleep.

April 12, 1981, was quite a night.

The part of the story I did not yet know was that my friend had found me in the kitty-litter. His cat, Miss Emily Ching, gazing at me. There was a tourniquet and an eye-dropper and syringe points and a spoon and a cotton ball and empty vials. My friend thought I was dead. He rolled me over onto my back and found me to be alive and breathing. He said I became conscious when he yelled and I told him not to call an ambulance because that would bring the police. He had gotten his neighbor to drive us to the hospital.

I had been shooting about a half-ounce of cocaine a day for about ten weeks. I was toxic. I weighed 88 pounds. I was a greenish-grey color. I should have been dead.

The next day I went through the motions of seeking help and called the hospital from which I was summarily dismissed the night before. I was told that cocaine wasn't addictive, and their drug-treatment program was only for people addicted to heroin. I called another hospital and they told me that cocaine was not addictive, that if I was having a problem with it, I should really stop. I called the doctor who had been my pediatrician for many years. He told me that cocaine wasn't addictive and that I should stop doing it, and what was I doing using needles anyway.

I gained a few pounds quickly. I ballooned to 110 pounds within a week. I went from looking like death to looking like a junkie and I felt much better. I started shooting coke again. Then my veins started giving out. I couldn't go on. A friend came to my home and insisted I eat. He took my works and my coke. He held me under the shower. Then he drove me to my mother's house where I laid down.

I started calling drug rehab programs. I had no insurance, so my choices were limited.

When the free clinics learned I was shooting cocaine, they said they couldn't help -- their program was for heroin addicts. A woman at a program sponsored by Tufts University actually asked me a bunch of questions. She was curious about my problem. She encouraged me to stay off drugs, but she said that she couldn't help me because their program was for people using heroin.

I started calling programs out-of-town. I got an interview at one, and after a long day in a smelly municipal building they told me that their program was for people on heroin, but good-luck.

I called the woman at Tufts. I explained that she was the only person who showed any interest in my problem and I begged her to help me. She arranged an interview for me with the director of the program. He was skeptical, but he accepted my application.

She changed my life.

I entered the outpatient program with all the heroin addicts. I stood in line to pee in a cup, and always asked the med student monitor if he wanted to help. I went to group therapy and felt inadequate. I went to counseling and got angry. I once got in the methadone line but my name wasn't on the list, so they wouldn't give me any. I got a hobby, which was recommended. Then I got into a relationship, which wasn't recommended. Then I got a job, which helped with the bills.

Now I am in Brooklyn, and I am (alive!)



Please look at today's post here, and tell me if you think I should switch to that design. You can post a comment at that site and give your opinion.



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Edgar Allen Poe