Friday, August 31, 2007

Giving to panhandlers: Helping them or harming them?

(Hat tip: Czabe.)

I've had mixed feelings about those who beg. It's become difficult to figure out who is and isn't sincere in their need. Is my money helping or enabling them?

I certainly believe in helping the poor as Christ commanded, and I've taken more than one homeless person to get a meal. Of course, more than one of them has refused a meal, just wanting the money instead!

Some folks in Seattle have actually studied what panhandlers do with the money they're given. I'm not surprised by some of what they found out:

Peggy Dreisinger, director of field operations for the campaign, said she and the panhandler researchers frequently see beggars duck into alleys to buy drugs immediately after getting a couple of bucks. They also know of beggars who aren't homeless.

Some advocates for the poor say give, and they criticize any campaign or ordinance that restricts panhandling or discourages giving. But many local charities disagree, saying that handing over spare change doesn't help anyone.

"I think (giving money) is the worst thing people can do," said Bill VanderMeer, director of the Union Gospel Mission's Men's Shelter. "It enables panhandlers. That's how they make their living and manage their addiction."

Panhandling "affects the economy of our city, the desirability of people to come here, for people to return," Carr said. "We have people who need help, and we're not helping them with loose change, which leads to crack or a can of beer."

The Give Smart campaign urges Seattleites to stop dropping dollars into coffee cans. Instead, it says, direct that money to a local homeless agency.

"There's this woman panhandler we've seen who has a nice Suburban with two big kennels in the back," said Dalana Slaughter, safety supervisor to the ambassadors who patrol Seattle for the Give Smart campaign. "To me, that's not homeless."

Slaughter also knows another beggar who fakes injury. "I've seen her sit in the wheelchair, I've seen her get out of the wheelchair," Slaughter said. "Her husband sits down and then he panhandles."

Dreisinger said she knows of a beggar who makes $300 a day. She also heard one panhandler boast that begging got him $26,000 a year -- tax-free.

FTR, we have given and will give to charities that work with the homeless and poor. But as you can tell from the article, not everyone thinks withholding money from the homeless is a good idea, and while I don't agree with them, I can see why they feel that way. Maybe ours is not to judge. But where does that balance with the strong possibility of doing harm by enabling?

I also like the idea of finding other things to give the homeless, such as:
"Put a little baggie together for a panhandler," [Vander Meer] said. "Fill it with food, hygiene products, toothpaste, toothbrush. But don't put money in it."
Your comments welcome.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

TV Or Not TV

On Saturday evening, severe thunderstorms pounded our area, with the power going out five times during Mass. Ladycub had unplugged all the electrical equipment from behind our entertainment center. So when we returned home, we plugged everything back in, and it all worked.

Except the TV.

We tried different outlets, and it didn't turn on. I even checked the circuit breakers to be on the safe side. Nada. So we were TV-free for a couple days.

Then on Monday night, we got to watch something even with no TV:

Patches decided to double as the entertainment, occupying the TV's former space.

Thanks to my mom and dad who lent us a small TV set which we just figured out how to use. It's an old Sharp that didn't come with a remote, and was programmed for Baltimore stations which we can't receive. But we jerry-rigged it by running it through the VCR remote.

I hope we can eventually save up and get ourselves a nice HD-compatible TV. You'll need one (or a converter) by February 2009.

UPDATE: We bought a 2000-model Philips 19-inch TV from Value Village in Hyattsville . . . for $21. :-)

Isn't This Supposed To Be On My Knee?

Goodbye, palm-to-elbow cast on my right arm.

Hello, elbow brace, similar in appearance to this:
(That's obviously me after Weight Watchers.)

It looks a lot more like a knee brace. I call it my Instant Conversation Piece; someone stopped me as I was going into Target the other night and asked me about it. He'd broken his forearm before.

At least I can move my arm and hand, and typing is now much easier. But my surgeon doesn't want me moving my forearm from side to side; guess the elbow isn't ready for that yet. And I'll have my umpteenth physical therapy evaluation on Thursday.

My forearm and elbow areas have gross-looking bruises. And there were 18 stitches, not 16! They were delicately removed one by one.

And so it goes.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Things I dislike and would like about Mass

(Yes, this is a Catholic post. For my non-Catholic friends, I offer up this Swedish Chef clip.)

So I try to segue from that to . . .

Things I can do without at Mass:

  • Talking before Mass, and excessive talking afterward in consideration of those who would like to stay and pray (not NO talking, but be reasonable)
  • Ultra-traditionalists who think coming to Mass has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else present, i.e. no sense of community
  • On the other hand, the liberal idea that we come just to feel good about ourselves and share a meal (or "get a cookie"), not the Body and Blood of Christ
  • Most Oregon Catholic Press or GIA music, especially anything by Marty Haugen and David Haas, Tom Conry, Dan Schutte, Carey Landry, etc.
  • The Gospel Alleluia accompanied by hand gestures/sign language
  • Raising or joining hands during the Our Father
  • Lectors who obviously did not prepare to read God's Word (it's not like reading the phone book, folks) or who race through the readings (what plane do you have to catch?)
  • People (and even priests) who remove every masculine reference in the prayers ("For us men and for our salvation . . .", " . . . for the praise and glory of His name . . .")
Hymns that should be barred from Mass forever (an incomplete list, and I won't sing most of these):
  • Sing A New Church
  • Anthem (as I've said before, Rush's "Anthem" -- a tribute to objectivist writer Ayn Rand -- is probably closer to doctrinal correctness!)
  • Ashes
  • Be Not Afraid
  • Gather Us In
  • City of God
  • Lord of the Dance
  • Breathe (sorry, Dymphna)
  • Haugen's "Mass of Creation"
  • Gift of Finest Wheat (which was thrust upon me in elementary school)
I echo the sentiments of George Weigel.

Hymns I'd like to hear again at Mass (music accompanies many of these links):
And here's an interesting article about how singing the Gloria with a refrain is a relatively recent phenomenon, and really violates the spirit of the prayer. I did not know that!

My Hometown Is A Bizarre Place

From the pen of Dan Rodricks of the Calvert and Centre Street Democratic Club Baltimore Sun comes a listing of some of the bizarre things that have happened in Baltimore in recent years, the 30-3 Orioles' shellacking by Texas last Wednesday being the latest (BTW, the Rangers had an 18-run inning against the O's in 1996 en route to a 26-7 win). I remember just about all those events that Rodricks listed except for Garmatz and Beverly Byron's el freako opponent (though I remember him later; he ran for everything he could). And I'd never seen the statue of Gort's cousin.

But my current hometown of Frederick (and environs) has its share of freaky news too:

Oh, except for the missiles, I had a hand in reporting all of those for my radio station.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Blogging Minimize

Until I get the cast removed that is now from my right palm to above my right elbow, I won't be posting much for the next week or so. It's hard to type when I have only one usable typing finger on my right hand; that hand is set in a handshake position.

At least the doc says the incision actually drained well. I counted 16 stitches. Yipe!

Wild Bill and Me

Dundalk cab driver-turned-Orioles superfan "Wild Bill" Hagy just died at age 68.

I happened to be at the same game that the above article cited:

Many trace the birth of "Orioles Magic" to June 22, 1979, the day a Doug DeCinces home run gave the eventual pennant winners a come-from-behind victory over the Detroit Tigers. Mr. Hagy cheered that moment and many more.
I remember Ken Singleton hitting foul balls deep to left and right field of venerable Memorial Stadium, and then he split the difference and hit one out to deep center. Then I thought Doug DeCinces' dramatic game-winner was going to be caught for the final out, but instead it carried out of the park, and a wild celebration began.

That was when it was fun to go to Orioles games, and Wild Bill was a huge part of it. He'd lead cheers of all sorts up in Section 34. For Singleton: "Let's go Ken! Put it in the bullpen!" For Benny Ayala: "Ay, yi yi yi, Ben-ny Ayala! Hit it over the fence to the parking lot and hit a Chevy Impala!" And for visiting players like Reggie Jackson and Dave Winfield . . . well, I won't repeat them here.

And of course, the spelling bee: "O-R-I-O-L-E-S!"

Hagy's height of popularity was the two World Series in which those Orioles appeared: 1979, a bitter loss to the Pirates in which the O's blew a 3-1 game lead and I was left weeping in my bunk bed; and 1983, when the O's righted themselves in Philadelphia and swept the Phils at the Vet. He frequently appeared atop the Oriole dugout for the chants. He also almost singlehandedly willed the Orioles to catch the Milwaukee Brewers at the end of the 1982 season, but Robin Yount saw to it the Birds finished one game short. But the after-game ovation, led largely by Hagy, won't be forgotten; it stunned Howard Cosell (why isn't that on YouTube?).

I was a vendor in 1983, and I actually stayed away from Section 34; they pretty much didn't want anyone who wasn't a beer seller. Hagy's 34 was anything but the family-friendly area of Memorial Stadium. But at least he wasn't pretentious.

Once he could no longer bring beer, and after the Orioles left the blue-collar Memorial Stadium for the swank of Camden Yards, Hagy became a non-entity . . . which it seems he preferred.

Wild Bill stood for the Orioles team I loved when I grew up, and not the poor excuse for a franchise that Peter Fish Lips Ambulance Chaser Angelos runs now. Rest in peace, Wild Bill.

UPDATE: And only two days later, the Orioles lost to Texas 30-3. No, that's not a Cowboys-Ravens score. Wild Bill is still dead, of course, but I bet he must be finding a way to have beer in his casket.

UPDATE 2: Nice article about Wild Bill by the Washington Times' Dick Heller.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

This is not good.

Surgery #3 took place on Thursday and required two incisions on my right elbow. Apparently the surgeon cleaned out cartilage as well as bone fragments.

But now, one of the incisions is bleeding, right through my dressing. I am so asking for another infection. And despite the Happy Pills, I'm in a good deal of pain.

I've been sleeping a lot the last few days.

Further details as events warrant.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Up, Up, And Away In My Beautiful Cessna

After a number of weather- and personnel-related postponements, I was finally able to take to the skies over Washington, DC once again with my (increasingly archaic) digital camera in tow. If you're expecting shots of the White House, the Capitol, or the Washington Monument, prepare for disappointment; private aircraft flying within the district was difficult before 9/11, and all but impossible now. But there are plenty of other sights around the area, and here's just a few that my camera allowed me to capture.

Kudos to my trusty pilot, Brad, who, upon seeing the camera, asked me whether I was a terrorist. (I replied, "It depends on who you ask!")

What the Washington Executive/Hyde Field Airport in Clinton, MD looks like at 5:45 AM. It's hard to see, but if you look real closely in front of the lighted building, there's a helicopter lifting off in the middle of the photo; it belongs to our friends at WUSA-TV Channel 9.

The old reliable Cessna 172.

It was so hot ("How hot was it?!") that day that Brad had me open the window, and the centrifugal force held it open. Here's a shot of the wind rippling through my left arm at 80 knots or so.

Our first call of the day took us up the west side of DC through Virginia up to I-270. En route, we passed over the high-rent community of Potomac, MD.

This is about as close as I'll ever get to Congressional Country Club in Potomac, the same course where Tiger Woods hosted the AT&T National last month. It has hosted the U.S. Open before, and will do so again in 2011. Nearby are the PGA-caliber TPC at Avenel and the mega-exclusive Burning Tree, which doesn't allow women (and near as I can tell, has no web site either).

With nearly a million residents, Montgomery County is the most populous subdivision in Maryland, and the sprawl therein is the stuff that county elections are made of. Or is it banning trans-fats? Anyway, off I-270 and Montrose Road, a bunch of faux brownstones have popped up, and one can be yours for about $700K. Sheesh! I don't think anyone is going to be fooled into thinking that Manhattan brownstones were inspired by this place.

In the middle of this photo is a place with which I was intimately familiar earlier this year: Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. It's surrounded by Montgomery County campuses for the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins, as well as numerous biotech companies. Also nearby is the headquarters of the MontCo police department, a place made famous by former chief Charles Moose as he briefed the media on the latest developments in the DC-area snipers case back in 2002. (BTW, the snipers were caught less than 10 miles from my house, in a rest area on I-70 outside of Myersville.)

Many federal agencies call the DC suburbs home, such as the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg.

Amid the sprawl are a couple places to get away from it all. This is Seneca Creek State Park in Germantown. I've hiked around that lake before as part of a volksmarch.

Up near Clarksburg in the northern part of the county is the new MontCo Correctional Facility. I actually got to spend the night there in 2003 . . . as a member of the media. Before it opened, that is. I got to sample the typical food that inmates eat, and slept in a cell where all the bars where inside the doors. The place is hard to get around on purpose, so that the inmates don't quite know where they are. When it was being built, I thought it looked like a new high school.

Privately owned but open to the public, Sugarloaf Mountain arises from seemingly nowhere as it straddles the Montgomery and Frederick County lines. At only 1300 feet high, it still affords some nice hikes and gorgeous vistas to the Potomac River and beyond into Virginia. Sugarloaf was considered a key location in Civil War troop movements through Maryland before the battle of Antietam.

Here's some sprawl: Urbana in Frederick County, which has risen from a one-light town on Rt. 355 to a massive development off I-270. You can hardly get a townhome here for less than $350K, and most single families start in the $500K range. That's the Cessna's tire at the bottom.

A glimpse from Urbana north toward a haze-covered Frederick at the foot of Braddock Mountain.

Two unusual things about the town of Damascus in northenmost MontCo: it's a dry town, and it's quite conservative, as opposed to the liberal tilt of the rest of the county.

North of Damascus, we had to give an update on a house fire that was blocking Rt. 27, the main north-south road between Damascus and I-70 (note the stopped traffic). The fire was pretty much out, but equipment was blocking the road in both directions. When fire departments respond to a more rural area like this, they often pool (literally) their water resources into an improvised tub from which they draw water for the fire. But I think a hydrant may have been available here.

We then made our way into northern Virginia.

Tysons Corner is the gateway to NoVA's tech corridor. Many IT companies and consultants have offices here. It's also home to several swanky hotels and seemingly a hundred car dealerships, and a huge mall. Beyond Tysons on the Dulles Toll Road are Herndon and Reston with many more IT and aerospace firms.

The Beltway (right) regularly jams up here in both rush hours.

Just off I-66 near Manassas is the Nissan Pavilion at Stone Ridge, where many top-name musical acts play during the summer. I understand there is only one road into the place, so getting in and out can be an adventure. I regret that I did not get a picture of Wolf Trap, the performing arts park run by the National Park Service off the Dulles Toll Road.

In stark contrast, on the north side of I-66 sits the Manassas National Battlefield, where two Civil War battles took place: the first and second battles of Manassas (South) or Bull Run (North). The development, and the traffic for the most part, pretty much ends in this area as one heads west toward the Shenandoah Valley and Skyline Drive.

What looks like Yet Another Office Complex in Fairfax is actually the headquarters of the National Rifle Association. I-66 is actually moving pretty well for that time of the morning behind it.

Finally, we made our way around the Beltway in Maryland.

The WMAL-AM 630 antenna field in Bethesda. BTW, we fly at altitudes between 1400 and 2500 feet. Obviously, we have to clear these towers. The I-270 Spur is behind the field.

The most distinctive architectural feature on the entire Beltway is the Mormon Temple in Kensington. Here, the Inner Loop is crawling, which is par for the course in the afternoon but unusual for the morning. I think the reason was a new traffic light at the bottom of the ramp from the Inner Loop to Georgia Ave. that was backing up vehicles onto the IL. Outer Loop delays often break free past there in the morning.

I've always wondered whether slowdowns on the Beltway occur at the Temple just because of the sight of it. It's even more impressive -- and distracting -- when lit at night.

Not being LDS, this is the only way I've ever seen the entrance to the temple. Those from the DC area affectionately call the Temple "Oz."

In the foreground of this photo on the east side of the Beltway in Prince George's County is the Boulevard at the Capital Centre, built on the site of what was once the Capital Centre/USAir Arena. Now it's a collection of stores and churches, with communities surrounding it. Also there is the AMC Magic Johnson Capital Center 12 movie complex, owned by the former Laker who played a game or two at the Cap Centre. PG County is Maryland's second-most populous subdivision, and one of the most affluent counties with a majority African-American population in the nation.

Dominating the southeast side of the Beltway, but hardly seen at all from ground level, is Andrews Air Force Base. Every so often, we luck out and see Air Force One out on the tarmac to the right. Andrews hosts an annual air show in May.

We have to get clearance from Andrews before we can return to Hyde Field, which is not far away. There's a hill on part of the runway, so you can't see both ends at the same time.

And Brad brings us in for a nice smooth landing. It's downhill to the northern end of the runway.

Thank you for flying Cygnus Airways. Watch your step on the way out. And the spot-a-pot is over there.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Don't Worry, Dems

You have nothing to fear from the Maryland GOP, not that you ever really have:

Maryland Republican Party Is Nearly Broke

Lackluster fundraising is to blame. A report from the party's accountants shows that the state GOP's major fundraising event netted just over $15,000. The party had hoped to top $150,000 at the event.
Small wonder why this is such a blue state. Still, I expect the Democrats to try GOP fear-mongering again and again, as unnecessary as it is.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Promotion and Relegation in U.S. Sports

This post was inspired by one from Jorge Sedano (host of The Third Shift on Fox Sports Radio, 2-6 AM ET weekdays). The little kid involved really has been invited to one of Manchester United's developmental camps after moving to Manchester from Brisbane, Australia.

I am not the closest follower of British soccer football, but I've always enjoyed it . . . from afar. I always thought my buddy Steve and I would get to go to an England-Scotland game one year, but that series was suspended quite some time ago. My favorite teams have been Leeds United and Aston Villa. I don't care for ManU or The French National Team Arsenal.

Leeds, however, has slunk through "relegation" from the Premier League (formerly Division One) through the Championship League (formerly Division Two) all the way to what is now called League One, formerly Division Three. There, they face such powerhouses as Leyton Orient, Swindon Town, and Yeovil, which is in danger of falling into League Two (formerly Division Four). There's even a possiblity a team could fall into non-league status; more on the concept from Wikipedia.

I don't know about you, but I love the idea of relegation and promotion (where a top-finishing team in a lower league gets promoted a step up), and we so need it in this country. Could you imagine the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Pittsburgh Pirates playing to avoid being sent to AAA ball? The Arizona Cardinals and Da Oakland Raydahz trying to stay out of (the now-defunct) NFL Europa? The Memphis Grizzlies and the (pre-Kevin Garnett) Boston Celtics trying not to fall to the CBA? There'd be no more tanking players in those games!

It'll never happen, but I can dream. Actually, it sort of happens on the high school and college levels, although it's not an automatic process; schools usually request a move up or down a division in a given sport based on the team's record.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Mixed-Race Dating and Marriage

I've always been fascinated by the topic of mixed black and white relationships, strictly from a sociological standpoint. It's been brought to the fore by this article highlighting the increased willingness of black women to date outside their race.

I have seen quite a few black women with white men here of late, not least of all one of my best friends who married a black teacher, and now they have a daughter of their own (she has a son from a prior marriage that has been annulled). Also, a co-worker of mine introduced me to his black girlfriend, and the "young married couple" on our Engaged Encounter retreat was a white man and his gorgeous black wife who worked as a model (not hard to see why!).

The closest I had to a girlfriend in college was a black girl named Mia, and I toyed with the idea of dating another one, but got cold feet. So you can see I don't have a problem with interracial dating. But it still interests me that despite all this, the ratio of these relationships is still 75% to 25% black male -- white female. And I don't have a problem with that either; one couple that we still try to keep in touch with from our old neighborhood is a black male nurse and his wife of Italian extraction. Finally, one thing I didn't like about my last girlfriend before LC was the fact that she was fundamentally opposed to any mixed-race dating, saying it was not Christian. I couldn't disagree more; there may be many reasons why a couple shouldn't be married, but race alone isn't one of them.

I've always wondered why the ratio is so skewed toward black male -- white female. Apparently it's a status thing for many of the men, or it's at least seen as such. One white woman who has a black husband says many white women see black men as their social equals. Again, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with white women dating or marrying black men, but I'm just wondering why so many white women go for black men. Any thoughts?

Finally, I wonder when, with all the immigration (legal and illegal) of Latinos into this country, more interracial relationships will occur there. And how much dating takes place between whites and Koreans, Filipinos, Japanese, etc.?

La Shawn Barber touches on this topic also.

Girls Gone Mild

I so need to read this book, Girls Gone Mild by Wendy Shalit. The anti-skank revolt is one of the most under-reported stories in modern culture today. I look forward to a day when not every young woman has to shoehorn herself into tops and pants that are a couple sizes too small. Please, ladies, leave a little something to my imagination. I consider modesty attractive, more so as I grow older. And I've always appreciated my wife's modesty.

Here's a great quote from reviewer Cheryl Miller (not the former USC basketball player, I take it):

The so-called "do-me" feminists "use it to indicate that they want to fight the very notion of being dignified at all." But in their rush to abandon the old models of "dignified" femininity in favor of "bad girl" liberation, the sex-positive feminists actually limited the roles available to women. Feminists used to complain about the "Madonna-Whore" dichotomy, but now the only Madonna girls have to emulate is the cone-brassiered pop star who is merely like a virgin.
I'm so done with "do-me" feminism (great term!). Do these women get their marching orders from "Sex and the City"? Keep telling yourselves there are no consequences to sex outside of marriage. Same goes for men, who have now been conditioned to expect sex from women whenever they ask (and, I should add, to ask for it early and often).

Although I no longer link to it, check out the Modestly Yours blog from a collection of women from different backgrounds who are united by the laudable quest for modesty, one of whom is Wendy Shalit.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cyg Fights the (Lack of) Power

After I awoke yesterday, I went out to start the Cygmobile so LC and I could go to Weight Watchers. It turned over briefly, then stopped. From that point on, it merely clicked. I checked and saw that the positive battery terminal was quite corroded.

We used LC's car instead for the rest of the morning. Upon returning, I cleaned the terminal to the best of my ability with hydrogen peroxide and a brush, and then the Cygmobile started. I drove it up to the nearby Advance Auto Parts to get a new terminal clamp to replace the one that had corroded. But it wouldn't come off, no matter how much hydrogen peroxide and/or WD-40 I applied to it. What appeared to be coming off instead was the positive battery terminal post. Now the car wouldn't start again.

The battery was a Sears DieHard that I'd gotten from the nearby Sears auto center, so I decided to arrange for a tow over there with my insurance company. When the tow truck arrived, the driver took a look at the battery and deduced that it would have to be replaced, having tested it with his charger. He saw that the post was loose and concluded that the corrosion must have leaked out recently. It may or may not have; the battery had a plastic cover on it, which I inadvertently fried on the engine block! Oops.

The driver steered me away from Sears, which I only went to because it was open on Sunday, a fact that turned out not to matter. So I trapsed back up to Advance and got a battery for only $70 (who knows what Sears would have charged me, even though the battery was only a year old). I didn't need it to be the longest-lasting battery, not for the Cygmobile and its 164K miles. In the process, I took back the old battery with the terminal clamp still attached to the post. I would need to strip some of the positive battery cable to reattach it to the new battery later, having had to sever it from the old one.

Confused yet?

I brought the new battery back in LC's car and proceeded to reattach it to mine. I turned the key. Nothing. Turned it again. Nothing. Turned it again. Still nothing.

I figured it could be because I was having a hard time tightening the bolt that secured the clamp to the post. So I went out again and bought a wrench set with open ends on one side and closed ends on the other, which we did not have. And a bag to keep them in, since I knew they wouldn't fit in our current toolbox.

Tightening the clamp properly, nothing still happened. I called my father in frustration, unable to think of what I was doing wrong. He couldn't think of anything either. But before we hung up, he had me pray.

That prayer worked, because I got the idea to ask my neighbor Chris who is always tinkering with his car. He and a couple friends came over, checked the charge of the battery, and checked the fuses as well.

Then upon closer inspection, they saw that I had forgotten to attach one other wire to the positive terminal post. No wonder nothing was happening. As soon as they touched it to the post, the car started. So I attached the wire to the clamp, hooked the negative post back on (not without a brief shock), and started the Cygmobile right up.

I'll be back with another presentation on "How Not To Be A Mechanic" next week. And did I mention that the temperature hovered near 100 degrees for most of the day? I so needed a bath.

After that, we went to our first Frederick Keys game of the year, where we met up with Silvergirl and Silverhubby. They were running late, but that enabled me to get a couple of free tickets for them from a group that had quite a few no-shows. We enjoyed the game, a 5-1 Keys win, the kids running the bases afterward, and the fireworks to wrap up the evening. And on the way out, we got several gratuitous loaves of Sara Lee wheat bread! Then we went to Chick-Fil-A for some of their shakes and lemonade. Good to spend an evening with friends.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Worst. Interview. Ever.

Now in my interviewing career, I have asked my share of dumb questions, but I think this interview takes the cake. Here, Merry Miller (I have NO idea who she is) attempts to interview actress Holly Hunter.

It's obvious that Miller was completely unprepared for this interview. She substitutes gush for knowledge, and note the pauses as well; apparently some of the longer ones were edited out. And note a major slip of the tongue as she ends this! Hunter should be commended for making the best of it.

Unless your name is Mike Wallace, do. your. homework. before an interview, mmmkay?

(Hat tip: Allahpundit.)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Face the Truth

At my job, we need to have television sets tuned to all the local channels in case there are any traffic problems that arise. On one of them one afternoon last week, a daytime soap opera depicted rather graphically a man and woman getting it on in an office bathroom. (Remember when the most Star Trek could show for Kirk having a tryst with some alien babe was candles burning down?)

That scene will probably result in yawns, especially now that the moral bar has been lowered sufficiently to the point that nothing is all that objectionable anymore. So I cannot understand all the self-righteous hoo-ha that ensues every year when the pro-life Face the Truth tour comes through my area, showing graphic pictures of what aborted fetuses babies look like (see a couple at the link above).

I realize that many even in the pro-life movement don't support the FtT mission, saying it's too negative or disturbing. I say disturb away, afflict the comfortable with these pictures. They're real. Remember that the liberators of the Nazi concentration camps knew that they had to get pictures to bolster the prosecution of the war crimes trials. Granted, no one's standing on corners showing those pictures, but there's plenty of people around who are denying the Holocaust. Just ask Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for one. Those concentration camp photos are still necessary. (I still need to get to the Holocaust Museum in DC, BTW.)

So, too, are the pictures of aborted babies. To use a cliche, "it is what it is." One day, we will wake up and see abortion for what it is: a tragedy that leaves one dead and one wounded. Until then, efforts like FtT are necessary.

Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America (the latter no longer even using the term "abortion" anymore) would rather you ignore those FtT photos. Nope, never happens. Never like that. Abortion doesn't look anything like it. Just like a checkup while "adult contemporary" music plays in the background. Ick.

And as this Sun article says, Maryland is arguably the staunchest supporter of the right to kill babies. If that's the case, why should PP and NARAL even be worried about what FtT is up to?

Me, I weep for my state. That's why FtT is so necessary. Good work, Jack Ames and company.

In a related story, Marybeth Hagan raises an important question or two about the terminology surrounding the gruesome discovery of four dead infants in Ocean City also during this week. Somebody needs to consult the AP Stylebook.