News 2006

Fox on the run...

The headline in the print version of an article I saw in a local newspaper yesterday read "Michael J. Fox stumps for Duckworth." So, when considered along with the accompanying photo, can someone please tell me why I feel so enraged?

Foxduckworth

After some research, I discovered that this headline was part of an Associated Press article. Of course, when they type something, their subscriber papers run with the articles hook, line, and sinker.

Thankfully, the local newspaper I was reading changed the headline in their online edition. It was replaced with "Fox's drive for stem cell research stops in Wheaton." But that doesn't help the fact that the bad headline made it to press and was in circulation with the suspect headline in several newspapers including The Chicago Tribune.

How does that one make it past editors? Inexcusable.

For the record, Tammy Duckworth is running as a Democrat for the 6th Congressional District in the western Chicago suburbs. She is an Iraq War veteran who lost both her legs above the knees in an accident on November 12, 2004, while serving as an Army helicopter pilot.


Who in the world do you think you are...

I just read word about a third school shooting within the span of a week. In this case, a 32-year-old man broke his way into an Amish school in Nickel Mines, PA, and, much like the situation in Bailey, CO, last week, kicked most people out save for a few girls.

After some to do with the state police, he killed three girls execution style and then shot himself.

Whatever happened to the relative safety that we enjoyed when we were kids?

For the record, I am 31 years old(I will be 32 in December). I started kindergarten in 1980 and high school in 1989... just in case you needed some point of reference.

Did I live in a bubble when I was in school? Did this sort of stuff happen back then and I was just completely oblivious? Or did it happen and just not wind up as such an enormously newsworthy bit because there was no World Wide Web to proliferate it out to the ignorant masses?

I hate to pull the "Grumpy Old Man" bit from SNL, but back in my day (oh dear sweet God), we never worried about this sort of shit. We never had nor needed metal detectors at school. We didn't need state police-trained security. My parents and other visitors were able to come and go so long as they informed the front office and, occasionally, my dad even dropped by for lunch when he had a free moment. I went to school and, while I may have feared the occasional fight with a bully, I never had many worries other than that.

I would hate to be a kid in this day and age, though. There is so much crap happening that is beyond their control that threatens to take away their innocence with no warning whatsoever.

And to be a parent sweating out each day that your child is in school is probably the number one thing making me wary about the jump into parenthood. Public. Private. Large. Small. Rural. Urban. Religious. Non-denominational. It doesn't matter anymore. Nobody is exempt.

It truly terrifies me.

Why is our world so messed up? And why did it suddenly seem to go downhill so damn quick?


Darkness falls across the land...

And yesterday started out so beautiful. A cool start to the fall. Bright and shiny.

And then it all went to hell.

About a half hour before work was to end, I got a call from my father-in-law that the western edge of the suburb where I work all the way north to where Katie works was under a tornado warning.

Of course, being me, I left work instead of seeking cover. It was still decent enough out so I hightailed it to my truck and got my cameras ready.

Within about five minutes, everything around me was covered in swirling grey clouds. Occasionally, I experience a fast-moving scud cloud of pure white whipping in front of the more ominous clouds above. By the time I got home, the rain was coming down in sheets and tornado sirens were blaring everywhere. Katie was hearing sirens up by her and was also getting hail during her ride home.

We both made it home okay. Obviously.

But, damn if it didn't make for great photo ops. Unfortunately, my digital camera only took one good shot. The rest, I hope, are on my Minolta. I'll have to wait and have those processed to see how they turned out.

For now, though, check out how Batavia and Geneva, IL, looked at about 5:00 p.m. last night...

Storm clouds
Click for a larger view.


It's a shame about ray...

I knew this was going to happen, but I restrained from writing about it because I really wanted to believe that the very prospect of it was ridiculous, at best. However...

Last night while closing the gym, Katie became transfixed by whatever was playing on one of the TVs. I stopped to check it out and discovered they were reporting about how upwards of a dozen stingray corpses had washed up on beaches along Queensland, Australia.

One theory, of course, being that these are revenge killings because of the death of Steve Irwin last week from a stingray barb piercing his heart. This would strike me as the logical explanation considering the timing and the otherwise nearly nonexistent probability of having that many "mutilated" stingray corpses washing up on beaches.

Three words... THIS IS SICK!

I can't believe some sick fucks out there in the world would think that the proper thing to do would be to take revenge on one of the most harmless creatures in the world for the death of Steve Irwin.

How can you people call yourselves fans and true believers of what the Crocodile Hunter stood for? Do you think he would want you to do this? Do you think he's sitting up in Heaven right now cheering on your "memorial tribute"?

NO!

He's just as disgusted as I am about this whole thing. He's cursing and swearing and wishing he could come back to life to bitch slap your worthless asses until you realize that what you are doing is wrong. WRONG! WRONG!

Goddammit. Get your heads out of your asses! If there is anything Steve would want you to do, it would be to educate yourself about the nature and habits of stingrays so that the same thing does not happen to you or someone you know and love. That's what Steve stood for... EDUCATION. And clearly you uneducated fucks can't grasp this concept.

Stingrays are some of the most beautiful and peaceful and magnificent creatures I have ever had the pleasure of beholding. They are elegant and calm and they wouldn't harm a fly unless provoked.

That's not to say that Steve provoked them. He came near one at what is typically perceived by them to be a hostile angle. So it lashed out. If it struck him anywhere else, he would've been laid up in bed for 48 hours with bodyaches (their venom is nonlethal to humans).

Instead, it unfortunately hit him in one area that is quite vulnerable. And it led to his death. It's sad, but it's not the fault of the stingray. If someone came from above you that you didn't recognize and looked like he was going to touch you, you'd react defensively, too. It's an animal response. It happens.

But, please, I know it's sad he's gone, but end these meaningless attacks immediately. This is the definition of pathetic. It's inhumane. It's barbaric. It needs to end.

I have swam with stingrays in the wild, held them, touched them, fed them. And I would hate to think that my fellow humans are capable of such vicious stupidity.

Swimming with rays

Please reassure me... my fellow man is not that ignorant is he?


There's simply no immunity...

Daniel Edwards is one sick bastard.

Drawing a blank on the name? Here is something to help jog your memory. He's the sculptor -- some might argue "artist" -- behind this...

Britneysculpture

Suddenly coming back to you, isn't it? Yep, that's Britney Spears giving birth on a bearskin rug. It's pretty twisted that anyone would want to "memorialize" this with a sculpture that is on public display.

I realize that childbirth is one of the greatest things a person can be a part of. Hell, you're bringing new life into the world. Well, the woman is, while her spouse/mate/significant other gets their hand crushed or passes out cold in the OR. That person is a bit more peripheral to the process, but I'm sure it's important to them all the same.

However, regardless of how amazing a process it is, capturing it artistically remains a taboo area in my book. My wife has already warned me that there will be no still or video cameras in the room during the birthing process. I wholeheartedly agree. I wouldn't want photos of that. So I can't imagine what she'd say if asked about having the moment memorialized in clay.

I digress.

Continue reading "There's simply no immunity..." »


Shoot to thrill, play to kill...

[Note: today's post is being dictated to one of Kevin's many editorial assistants as he felt the need to gouge out his own eyeballs after watching half of the new Paris Hilton music video. We got so sick of hearing him wail "Oh, the humanity!" that we made it a point to shut off the video and force the pencils from his hands just as he was about to shove them in his ear canals.]

Yeah, thanks a pantload for that link, RW. You'll get yours. You may not know when, you may not know where; but it will happen. Mark my words.

Hot damn there's been a lot of crap in the news lately. I've covered a bunch of it already this week and It's been a long time since I've been this charged up about current events, let alone dedicate almost an entire week's worth of posts covering them. I'm scaring myself.

Jason Grimsley
You know who this guy is? He's now a former Major League Baseball journeyman whose house was raided by the IRS recently looking for evidence of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Grimsley was brought in to the fold a while back when the steroid investigations were in full swing and he was let off the hook despite failing a drug test.

However, now that HGH is being tested for in the MLB, he's come into the limelight again as agents discovered back in April that he was receiving a shipment with a season's worth of HGH and served up an anticipatory warrant to investigate. He agreed to cooperate and spoke extensively with agents. However, he rescinded that cooperation when, allegedly, they wanted him to wear a wire in hopes of implicating Barry Bonds.

However, he supposedly has already named some names to the tune of 30 or more professional athletes Grimsley alleges are users and abusers. We don't know who they are just yet and it seems like many may be sweating out the wait.

But if this is as inflammatory as it could be, it could shake baseball to its core. I think even moreso than what happened in the last couple years with the steroid probes.

Can the game ever be clean again?

Read the full 20+ pages of affidavit on The Smoking Gun.

Zarqawi
I know I should be happy that a strafing by U.S. jets wound up killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of Osama bin Laden's grand poobahs. Don't get me wrong, I am glad he's dead.

But it just doesn't seem like a step in the right direction toward solving the problem at hand. I'm not really sure that anything we are doing will ever make the world as "safe" as President Bush seems to think it will.

With each Al Qaeda chief that gets killed, another one just moves into his place. And the line is never ending. We will never be at a loss for people who consider us the enemy and will sacrifice their lives for what they think is right. It just won't happen. This is a losing battle. But it's one that I don't know if we can ever back down from now that we are so embroiled in it.

Or perhaps I'm just melancholy because I was on Google Maps yesterday and, for some reason, found myself scanning over New York City and I saw this...

Groundzero

Yep, that's Ground Zero as viewed from satellite. I've never actually seen this view before and I'm kinda shocked I never bothered looking at it via Google Maps before. Now that I think about it, I have looked at NYC via Google Maps before, but never on the "hybrid" setting. It was always just set on "map" view so I could see the streets.

Not that images of Ground Zero haven't been all over the news, Web, and print publications for years; but, today, for whatever reason, it just really hit me hard.

The last time I was in NYC was, I believe, sometime in late August 2000 and I saw the Towers. I never went up in them, but I saw them while I was staying down in Times Square and when I flew into and out of LaGuardia Airport.

And I'll never be able to see them again. And Katie will never be able to see them for a first time.

So I apologize for my somber demeanor right now.

Weird how indiscriminately memories and emotions strike you, isn't it?


Love me, love me, say that you love me...

I always thought of myself as rather average. Ordinary. Run of the mill. I don't have any particularly astounding abilities or achievements. I'm not a great man. Just normal. I love. I eat. I sleep. I work. I play. I breathe.

But, when it comes to thought, I'm clearly ahead of the pack. This isn't some conscious choice I made. I didn't wake up one morning and decide, "Kevin, you are now a forward-thinking individual."

And what would be this great thought that I have? This belief I hold that makes me greater than the status quo? I'll tell you...

I think gay people should be allowed to get married.

Yes, folks, you read it here. Kevin believes that the state of matrimonial bliss should be experienced by those who love people of the same gender.

No, this is not a technically groundbreaking belief. I know many people who share in it. Katie is one of them.

Yet, for some strange reason, a large percentage of this country holds an innate phobia of same-sex marriage. They cannot possibly fathom such a thing. In fact, our President is proposing a Constitutional ban on it.

Well, here's a point for you to ponder... it's not something that you need to fathom.

No one is asking you to be a partner in a same-sex union. All you need to do is acknowledge and accept that there are same-sex couples out there that do love each other in the same way that you love your hetero significant other.

Who are we to determine who "should" or "should not" fall in love? Who are we to say that one group of people can be legally recognized as a couple and another cannot?

You can throw all the "legal," "ethical," and "moral" justifications you want at me. You can point out all the Biblical claims that it is wrong.

But I won't buy it.

I know what it's like to doubt the power of love only to discover that it truly can exist, even for a loser like myself. When you find it, you want to grab on to it and never let go. If you have not experienced this yet, I hope you do. But don't deny someone else their right, as a human being, to follow their heart.

To be honest with you, the United States has a much bigger problem to worry about, in my humble opinion. The bigger problem is that we make it far too easy now for heterosexuals to get married and divorced. (Yes, it's an ironic claim considering I'm fighting to make marriage legal and easier for homosexual couples, but, oh well, deal with it.)

Two people who have known each other for mere hours can get married in Las Vegas and a select few other areas with nothing more than a late-night marriage license, a fistful of cash, and drunken lust. On the flip side of the coin, two people who suddenly decide they no longer love each other can end it, no questions asked. And, for the right price, the divorce can be expedited through the legal system, just ask Hollywood. Money clearly does make the world go round. How is that right?

And you're worried about two people who love each other enough that they are willing to fight the legal system and put their love out there on display in front of the ignorant and intolerant masses so they can be together? These are people that clearly are truly, madly, deeply in love with other. Most of us can only dream about something that great and you want to take it away from them.

Now tell me whose priorities are out of whack?


Well there's floodin' down in Texas...

It is my firm belief that Texas must be the fattest state in the entire United States of America. Oh hell, it's probably a safe bet that it's one of the worst areas of the world.

I make this claim having never set foot in the state before in my life. And I'm pretty sure that after making it, I will never be welcome there, ever.

But I also make this claim with the utmost in scientific research by my side. Highly objective... thoroughly scrutinized... scientifically verifiable.

Texasdoublewhopper Yes, my claim is based on the naming system used by Burger King to designate their new two-patty behemoth known as the Texas Double Whopper.

No, it's not the worst burger developed in recent years. There have been far worse, in fact. But that does nothing to take away from the heart-attack-in-disguise status of this mother of an ex-bovine.

And if Texas is responsible for this burger, God only knows what else they have lurking down there in their heavily protected state recipe files. A San Antonio Super Sloppy Slurpy? Prodigious Padre Island Pancake Patty Melt? Corpus Cristi Crunchy Crusty Cristo?

Yeah, enough of that. My stomach's turning just coming up with those names.

Why did BK decide to sully the image of the Lone Star State in such a way? I realize that when the annual Top 25 Fattest Cities report is released, Texas typically has a handful of cities in the top 25 (four in 2005, alone). But do we really need to denegrate them further? Don't you think they're probably full of enough doubt and self loathing as it is?

But what scares me even more is the fact that I am unable to give you the nutritional facts on this beast. This new burger is conspicuously absent from the downloadable Nutritional Information PDF file on the BK Web site. Whether this is because it is so new or they are afraid to share the truth remains to be seen.

Regardless, I'm scared.

You poor, misunderstood Texans.


So here I am with open arms...

This sickens me.

Miscgaygames Katie and I were watching the news the other night when we heard a story about the Gay Games coming to Chicago July 15-22 this year. I thought, "oh, that's cool."

Unfortunately, that was not the entire news story that was being reported that night.

The rowing event was set to take place in one of the suburbs of Chicago, a small town called Crystal Lake about an hour northwest of the city and immediately adjacent to McHenry, where Katie was born and spent her entire life until she married me.

However, this is no longer the plan. The moral minority in the town put up a stink causing the town board to vote on whether the event really would be held on Crystal Lake or not. The final vote was 2-2 with the fifth voter not present for the vote. Since a majority did not vote in favor, it is not going to happen there.

So now the event is out of Crystal Lake and they need to find a new venue.

It truly still amazes me the level of ignorance and intolerance in the world these days. I never grew up around it to the best of my knowledge. I don't remember experiencing anything like it ever. I've always had a wide range of friends of different ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. It never bothered my parents, so it never bothered me. I never thought twice about the fact that the friends I invited to my birthday parties as a child were white, black, hispanic, asian. My best friend in the world as a kid was a pure-blooded Cherokee indian (well, okay, he'd been adopted by white parents, but that didn't matter) and another was black.

As I grew up, I became aware of "racial divides" from the news and from school. But I'd never experienced anything that I was personally aware of. In college, I met my first gay couple. One of them was one of the nicest guys I'd ever met (the other was an arrogant bastard, but oh well, self righteousness knows no boundaries).

Perhaps it is my own personal ignorance to the situation at hand. When you are not that exposed to it on a regular or even semi-regular basis, it's even more troubling when it does happen. So color me shocked at the depths to which people will sink to preserve "traditional family values" as one interviewee on the news called it.

People! Wake up! It's fine to be traditional. It's nice to hold on to some good old-fashioned values. God knows, in many instances, we need that kind of infusion of values. Perhaps you should start with corporate America, though.

But, when these "values" foster ignorance, they've gotta go.


Sometimes I think I'm blind, or I may be just paralyzed...

I awoke this morning in pain.

Not an extreme or debilitating pain, but a dull, aching, pervasive, full-bodied pain.

It began in my eyelids. As though I were punched in both sockets the night before and now they were swollen shut. It took a Herculean effort to break the nearly hermetic seal that joined them together.

Yet, cracking them open was only the beginning as I now need to open them to see where I was and what I was doing. The clock read 5:55, or so I initially thought. I blinked my world into focus a second time and saw that it was actually 6:15.

I was in bed. I was not drunk. But I could not move and, if I tried, I feared something might drop off my body.

I sat up anyway.

And promptly fell back in bed.

I attempted it again and braced myself up with my arms. Under the weight of my upper body, I grew aware that my arms might crumble like aged and dry-rotted wood columns.

I set my feet on the floor and felt the tickling of blood in my veins as my heart pumped the necessary fluids to ennervate the muscles I would soon need to enable walking.

Painstakingly, I maneuvered to the bathroom and got in the shower. The warm water did nothing to relieve my aching. All I felt were heated needles sticking my body in rapid succession. I got out, dried off, got dressed, and made my way to the stairs.

The staircase was an exercise in agony as, with each step I took, lightning bolts coarsed from my feet up to my hips. Never before had I wanted to live in a ranch house more than at that moment.

That was my morning. And, sadly, none of it is an exaggeration. It is now nearly noon and, while it has dulled somewhat, I'm still feeling much of the pain. My head is throbbing and my eyesight is clouded over. My fingertips feel as though they are shattering with each keystroke I make. I've never felt this kind of aching before in my life.

So constant.

So complete.

And there is absolutely no explanation for it whatsoever.

I just want to make it end. Please, make it end.


Keep my heart somewhere drugs don't go...

Have you ever read a news headline and thought, "Wow! That's going to be a great story!" only to encounter the sad reality that it's just... well... boring.

I realize it's completely intentional as the job of any headline writer is to suck a person into reading it. That's how newspapers get sales and Web-based news sites get hits, right? Sorry, but it just frustrates me to know that the fantasy inherent in reading news headlines is typically so much better than the reality.

Take, for example, the following headline I found just now on my Yahoo homepage...

American wheelchair player banned 3-1/2 months for doping

Wheelchairsyringe How do you interpret this headline? For me, I instantly thought that there was a wheelchair-bound athlete who was shooting up 'roids in order to place better in marathon races or drive harder in basketball games.

I found myself asking, "buddy, was it really worth it?"

I thought, "what a shame that someone that could so easily serve as a role model to physically handicapped of the world is busted for juicing up."

I know the justification that pro athletes use for shooting up steroids... the money. In some sports, the stronger you are, the better you perform. That translates to greater excitement, more butts in the seats, more money in the coffers, and, eventually, higher-paying contracts. Just ask Barry Bonds.

I never saw this being an issue for Special Olympians who, correct me if I'm wrong, do not play for money and have minimal endorsement opportunities, at best. Not saying they don't deserve them. God knows I'd be more inspired if Wheaties featured someone who has overcome that kind of adversity as opposed to a play-it-for-me pro.

Then I read the article. Following is the full text...

LONDON (Reuters) - An American wheelchair player has been banned for 3-1/2 months by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) after testing positive for cannabis.

David Buck, 46, from Silverado, California, tested positive with a sample given at the U.S. Open wheelchair championships in San Diego in October, the ITF said in a statement on Tuesday.

That's it.

First, they suck me in with a completely enthralling headline that plays on the whole steroid craze that has been occuring in professional sports over the last decade plus but spun for a sector of athletics you would never think about only to find out that it's merely a marijuana offense. Okay, I should not downplay the illegality of marijuana like that, but I was expecting so much more from the story.

Second, they give you no real details whatsoever. No quotes from sources. No tie ins to other related stories. No nothing.

How boring.

And this was on Yahoo's frontpage. Must be a blah news day.

Not to mention a blah blogging day. I'm suffering such horrible writer's block right now. I hope March blasts in with a wave of creativity for yours truly.