Monday, December 31, 2007

Getting Lucky

Last Tuesday one of my Christmas presents from my daughter and son-in-law was a Raffle Ticket. To be precise, it was a $20 Florida Lottery Millionaire Raffle ticket.

What you get for your $20, is a chance to win Twelve $1,000,000 prizes, Twenty-Five opportunities to win $100,000 and Two Hundred shots at $10,000.

The drawing was held on Saturday, December 29, 2007.

When I open the card, I chuckled and thanked them for the gift. The reason I laughed is that I viewed it as a wasted gift; I would have rather received a $15 bottle of Gin or Vodka.

I am not a gambler. I’ll gamble with my life before I will gamble with my money. Yes, I have played nickel, dime, and quarter poker and have bought squares on the Super Bowl pools. But, I do not consider this gambling. Because the object was not necessarily to win; it’s for the camaraderie involved with these events. If you come out ahead it’s a bonus. If you don’t, so be it.

To be a winning gambler you must be lucky. I am not a lucky person. Even with gambling games that require skill, there is a luck factor involved. Let me reiterate, I am not a lucky person, therefore I do not gamble.

I never play the Florida State Lotto. Why? I am not lucky! I don’t by raffle tickets. Why? I am not lucky!

Playing the Lotto is for fools and as a friend once told me “the State Lotteries are a fool’s IRA plan”. I’ve seen people spend twenty to one hundred dollars on a weekly basis, for Lotto tickets, wishing to win the millions of dollars. They look at their losing tickets and say “probably some tourist or a snow bird won the big bucks.” Like me, they are not lucky, but still haven’t realized that fact. You must be lucky to win; believe it or not there is absolutely no skill involved in Lotto. It’s all luck! And I am not lucky!

So today, on a whim, I checked the Florida State Lottery site to check my Raffle Ticket number. I did this with no hopes or aspirations of winning.

Unsurprisingly I didn’t win; I didn't get lucky!

Happy New Year

The Beach Bum

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 28, 2007

Functional Obsolescence

A fellow blogger, the Curmudgeon, a Chicago Lawyer wrote an article about Computer Printers. I laughed because; I’ve been there and done that.

I worked with computers 40 years ago. Back in the days when a computer would take up an entire wall and had less working power than a $397 Acer does today. Just wiring a patch board would take 3 to 6 hours. The printers used no ink.

In 2002 my printer ran out of black ink. Not that I use a printer that often. It seems that every time I need to print something that is important, I am out of ink. A friend told me that the cartridge had probably dried up from non-use. This is why I masturbate. I don’t want my personal stuff to dry up from non-use.

Back in 2002 my 18 month old Canon Ink Jet printer had a single ink cartridge – the colored inks and black ink all in one. The cartridge that I needed was priced at $31.95. Directly below the cartridge, sitting on display, was a brand new Canon printer on sale for $69.95. It had a $30 mail in rebate and a $10 in-store rebate.

For those of you that are not too good at math; the new printer cost me less than the replacement ink cartridge would have.

Before I moved this past August I discarded 4 old printers (three Canons and one Lexmark) that I was punishing, for not working properly, in my Junk closet. I also tossed 3 old useless computers. Yes I am a pack rat.

The black cartridge in my 2002 printer dried out in the fall of 2005. I had to borrow my daughter’s printer to print out some important stuff. So as a Christmas gift she gave me a new HP Printer-Scanner-Copier.

I hadn’t taken it out of the box or set it up until June 2006; when I needed it to print an important letter. It took me nearly two hours to print a two page letter. But, much to my surprise, it did work.

Last July, the Black ink on my newest printer bit the dust. I had printed a total of 16 pages and one photo. All the cartridges appear to be 3/4 full. The scanner still works, but I have regular scanner that is far superior to the HP unit. So now if I need to print something, I must first e-mail it to my daughter (in the next room) and then print it on her printer (she uses her printer often and has just purchased a new Black ink cartridge).

If you get a chance, take the time to read the Curmudgeon’s Second Effort Blog. I have placed a link here, just in case you are too lazy to scroll back up and find my link to the Second Effort blog on the right hand sidebar!

The Beach Bum

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Heckler

Several years ago a good friend, who unfortunately lives in Wisconsin, sent a link to his son’s web site. His son lives in Chicago and is a Cubs fan. I have never met him but I like him and his writing style.

Like me, Pal Val is an old fart. We shared some good times together, years ago, in a place far, far away. No we weren’t on Tatooine. And no, we were not Jedi Knights!

Val was a “Do Good” person and I was a "Gross Guy". We were two worlds apart but still on the same planet.

The best correlation that I can make is that Val was the equivalent to Luke Skywalker and I was nearly the equal of Darth Vader (I was once a good person-turned evil by my lust for life). He stood for all the good things that an American Serviceman could do while overseas in the 1960’s. I have very much respect for him for this reason. He could have been easily seduced by the “Dark Side”, as I was, but he didn’t succumb to the foibles of mankind. Not that he was a saint; he was just a bit better than most the rest of us.

Excuse me, I digress!

Val’s son, Brad, is the Editor-in-Chief of a tabloid about Chicago Sports. He also has a Web Site by the same name –The Heckler.

The Heckler consists of humorous stories about Chicago Sports. More than humorous they are wry and sarcastic, plus they tend to distort the facts and figures. All in all it’s a good read. If you like sports humor you should take the time to visit this site. Although I do not visit it as often as I should, a visit is well worth 30 minutes of your time per week.

The Beach Bum

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Die Hard - It's More Fun

Roughly 25 miles south of Nowhereville on US 19 is the town of Port Richey, Pasco County, Florida.

As in a many of Florida cities, there are strip clubs with naked dancing girls in Port Richey.

It’s not that I do not enjoy looking at naked women, which happens to be one of my favorite pastimes, next to Baseball, that is. I don’t want to pay to see them or have them sit (grind their butts) on my lap for a few dollars more. I've always been a man of action. And if I cannot complete the act, it is a waste of my time. It's like masturbation without the payoff.

Last Friday, at about 8 pm, a 28-year-old man went to the Brass Flamingo, an all-nude gentleman's club on U.S. 19.

I’ve never understood why they call them a gentleman’s club. The few times that I have been at one of these clubs, I noticed that, the male attendees have been far less than gentlemanlike. Of course the dancing girls were not too ladylike either.

The guy sat near the center stage to take in the entertainment.

One dancer named Vicky noticed he was spending money freely (probably sticking 5 and 10 dollar bills to his forehead), so she invited him to the "Champagne Room" for a private dance.

Of course, he accepted.

He then paid for one 30-minute dance, and then wanted another, and another. He probably had a 90 minute erection during this time.

The newspaper article went on to say that the private session lasted more than two hours. Vicky told the investigators that all the while, that he was "drinking heavily," At about 1 am., she asked some male employees (Bouncers) to move him to another room so he could sleep.

I read this as he either ran out of money, tried to get her to give him head or lay her, or he had already passed out from being over served.

Club employees checked on him periodically, according to an investigator's report. At 2 a.m., someone ( "Yo, this guy ain't breathing") had noticed he had no pulse and was not breathing. A manager called 911.
By that time he was already dead. I wonder if he Died Hard.

The Pasco County Sheriff's spokesman said there were no signs of foul play. Toxicology tests will be performed to determine his cause of death. The results could take up to six weeks; obviously they have no CSI technicians working for them. Vicky told investigators that she did “ (I did) not see him take any drugs”, he was just drinking mass quantizes of booze.

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

This post is dedicated to all who serve in the military and cannot be home for Christmas.

John Lennon was a gifted dreamer who wrote some magnificent lyrics.
To quote John Lennon from the song "Imagine" -
"You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one."

From the Shaved Fish album (1972) by John Lennon/Yoko Ono

Sing along if you remember the words.

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over
If you want it
War is over

If you don't shed a tear while viewing the following You Tube video, I feel sorry for you!

View Happy Christmas on You Tube
Happy Christmas (War is Over)

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, December 20, 2007

All We Need Is Love

From the Beatles Rubber Soul Album (1965):

In My Life

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Lyrics by John Lennon

I dedicate today's Blog to a friend and a former lover!

Two days ago I received a snail mail Christmas message from a former lover and very good friend. We split up as a couple nearly 20 years ago, but our friendship has endured the test of time. If I had been a better person, we might still be together today (read this as being married).

She has been sending me a Christmas letter every year since I have moved from Maryland to Florida in 1998. The letter is a recap of the year’s significant events in her and her son’s life. A Christmas photo of her and her son is also enclosed. She is a great mother (a single working mom, that hasn’t gotten didly squat in support from the boy’s father) and has taught her 12 year old son well. He has authored the well written Christmas letter for the last two years.

I called to compliment him on his writing ability on Tuesday afternoon. Actually I was hoping to speak to his mother about the enclosed Christmas photo. She wasn’t home!

I called again last night, spoke to her, and we had a 90 minute conversation. The Christmas photo was taken on the 11th of November. They both had attended the Bruce Springsteen concert that night in Washington, DC. I noticed that the tee shirt that her son was wearing was from the 1992 (No-Name backup band) Concert that we attended (I had bought 2 shirts – one for her and one for me). We were not together (as lovers) at this time. I was dating a younger woman and she had recently divorced her wife beating husband after a 9 month marriage.

She didn’t recall going to that concert, however she did recall attending the 1984 “Born in the USA” concert with me. It was her first Bruce Concert. She never had cared for his music before that time.

Last night I apologize for being the asshole that was during our relationship. She said “I loved you then, I still love you now and always will, you are my best friend”. I cried!

After we hung up the phone (both saying “I Love You” as our last words), I immediately thought of the Lennon Lyrics from the song “In My Life”.

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy.

I usually spend several hours a day reading the on-line editions of the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post and the Saint Petersburg Times. This is a late breaking story that appears on the Web Edition of today’s Chicago Tribune:
“Prosecutors are seeking to have R. Kelly arrested after he failed to show for a hearing today in his criminal court case after his tour bus was delayed.”

Strange as it may seem, I know who R. Kelly is. My son introduced me to his music last year while he was living with me on Treasure Island.

But this was not the biggest story in today’s Tribune Entertainment section. The hottest story of the day was that Britney Spears' 16 year old sister, Jamie Lynn, is pregnant.

“It was a shock for both of us (boyfriend, Casey), so unexpected," she said. Spears is 12 weeks along and initially kept the news to herself, she told the celebrity magazine, which hits stands in New York on Wednesday and the rest of the country by Friday.

The younger Spears also stated "I definitely don't think it's something you should do; it's better to wait," …. "But I can't be judgmental because it's a position I put myself in."

Their mom says that she cannot believe this happened because Jamie always respected her nighttime curfew. I guess that mom doesn't believe that teenagers would possibly have sex in the morning or afternoon. Before turning 18 years old, I never had sex after 7 PM. I didn't want to break curfew!

Finally we have found someone that makes less sense than Britney. There must be one hell of a bad gene pool in the Spears family. Some men will argue that good looks and no brains equals the perfect lover. Actually I prefer women with brains, but good looks and a shapely body are a bonus.

Jamie Lynn must not have been paying attention during her Sex Education courses in school. It’s very simple, if you want to have a sexual relationship (and which teen doesn’t) you must protect yourself against an unwanted pregnancy. If she wasn’t on the pill, and I assume that she wasn’t, she should have insisted that her boyfriend Casey Aldridge wear a condom while he was knocking bottom.

I don’t enjoy wearing condoms; therefore I had a vasectomy in 1984 to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. At that time, I was having wild sex, with a woman in her prime childbearing years, on a regular basis. She had told me that she did not want children and that she was on the pill. Not that I didn’t believe her, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

(A note to both Britney and Jamie – there is only one way that you can become pregnant) (Also I'm safe)

Also in the Chicago Tribune Entertainment news, and this is a big one; “NBC chose Michael Douglas as the announcer to introduce Brian Williams on the "Nightly News" each night. This is great news and I am sure thousands of Michael's fans will be tuning in to NBC tonight to hear his voice over.

As for all three of the above stories (news items); who the hell cares!

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Under Pressure

As a general rule the first thing that I do every morning, after I’ve made my cup of delicious Decaf Coffee, is to log on to the internet and check my email.

Today there were just 22 emails, mainly because I had checked mail at 2300 hours last night and deleted more than 200 emails.

One of today’s 22 emails was from a friend who lives in Annapolis, Maryland. I haven’t heard from him for more that a year and hadn’t seen him for nearly 10 years (at my combined birthday and going away party in June 1998). Another friend ran into him at the Annapolis Mall and gave him my new email address. Needless to say I was shocked when I saw his name as the sender.

It was a brief message including Merry Christmas wishes. In the message he wrote “I think you’ll like this” and added a link to You Tube. It was a music video featuring Queen and David Bowie doing “Under Pressure”.

Back in the early 1990’s this was one of our favorite party songs. My roommates and I had at least 3 major (60 to 80 attendees) house parties each year. The highlight (other than me usually making an ass of myself) of these parties was my pretending to sing two songs by Queen.

The first was “Bohemian Rhapsody” where I would get all the guests to sing along by holding a turned off microphone towards them. I had the microphone turned off for obvious reasons; my voice. The stereo volume was usually high enough to drown me out.

The second, and most requested song, was done by me and my friend “Bones” - Under Pressure. I did the Freddie Mercury part and he did David Bowie. We had a choreographed routine that was better than the original. Our act was so good that my current girlfriend (read this as the girl that I was having sex with) asked me if I was a closet homosexual (I have our performance on video and I can see why she asked that question – we were that good at acting the parts).

I wasted more than three hours today viewing videos on You Tube. It was a great trip down memory lane and a good waste of time. One video led me to another and another and another.

The final video that I watched was by "The Godfather of Soul" and "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business," Mr. James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti, doing the JB Classic "It's a Man's Man's Man's World".

How I arrived to this point after viewing the Queen/Bowie classic “Under Pressure” video is a great story. All I will say is that you should take the trip, you might like it as much as I did.

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 17, 2007

Too Many Commas

I have been criticized by my friends and family, in the past, for my over use of punctuation and the misuse of English grammar. Commas and semicolons are a particular issue!

My thought is I’ve been doing this all my life – why change now?

Yesterday I found a treasure, while attempting to find some herbal supplements in my hold baggage in the garage.

It was a gift that was given to me by my Company Commander in 1968. He had blackmailed me into attending a course that he was teaching for the University of Maryland extension school at Kagnew Station, Asmara, Eritrea, Ethiopia. He said “Attend the course or get 60 hours of extra duty.” The choice was a no-brainer; I signed up for this class. The Army was paying for it; I had to pay for the books.

After I wrote my first paper for his class on US Government, I was given this gift by my CO and teacher (he told me that I desperately needed it). It was a paperback copy of a book by Richard J. Mallery titled “Grammar, Rhetoric and Composition (for Home Study). Sold by Barnes & Noble for $1.75 in 1968; truly a bargain.

I have kept this gift for nearly forty years and had used it profusely while attending college classes under the GI Bill during the 1970’s.

To punctuate or not to punctuate, that is the question!

According to Mallery, who was an Associate Professor of English at New York University at this time. These are the following rules for punctuation:

The Period “is a full stop that indicates the completion of a thought.” And, as we all know, a paragraph is a sentence or a group of sentences expressing and developing a complete thought.

The Comma “indicates a very short pause”. The comma “is used in a compound sentence to separate clauses which are joined by a coordinating conjunction” The comma” is used to set off an introductory modifier.” The comma “is used to separate items in a series of 3 or more items.” And finally, the comma “is used to set off non-restricted modifiers.”

I view the comma as a caesura in the conversation with a friend. I always write as if I were speaking to a friend.

The semicolon is a whole different story. It represents a longer pause than the comma. The semi-colon is also used to separate two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction. The big warning here is not to use the semi-colon between an independent clause and a dependent clause.

Hopefully I will use this old book to improve my writing skills. More than likely, I won’t and will still make the same grammatical errors that I have been making for all my life.

The Beach Bum


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Barry Barry Bad for Baseball

Being a fan of the sport of Baseball and particularly a Chicago Cubs fan, I have been distressed this past week.

It started out as good Baseball week for me, with the Cubs winning the sweepstakes for Japanese Baseball star Kosuke Fukudome. More than likely he will be the Cubs’ Right Fielder on opening day. He will give the Cubs a desperately needed left handed bat. He is a two-time League batting champion, he led his league in on-base percentage three times and four times won a Gold Glove for defensive excellence in the outfield.

A left handed hitter that can catch a ball hit to right field on a regular basis. Wow! What are the Cubs trying to do? Win a World Series. I’ve always said “not in my lifetime.” But maybe the powers that be have decided to end my suffering and make my team a contender. The 2008 Chicago Cubs look very good on paper.

Just to burst my bubble the Mitchell Report is then released. I downloaded the PDF file from the Chicago Tribune. It is tedious reading; I have spent 6 hours reading it and have not yet finished the entire report.

There are some surprises in the report and there are some notable omissions in the report. I just can’t believe some of the names that were mentioned for steroid abuse. Others that did not appear on “The List” will probably make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame. If you are a player on “the list” you probably have a very slim chance of receiving this honor. Some of my favorite players from the past 15 years are on “The List”.

Personally, I am not against the use of performance enhancing drugs in Baseball. But I am against the players demanding more money because of the use of these drugs. That is what is bad for Baseball. Avarice by both, the Players and the Owners, threaten the game that I love.

Finally, I read yesterday that my beloved Cubs might be going commercial. That is dependent on the new ball club ownership; the ballpark may be renamed. To me it will always be Wrigley Field. I attended my first game there in 1954 and fell in love with Baseball. Since that day, the game has become my personal lifetime passion. Every year, year after year, I can’t wait for the first pitch of the season and last strikeout of the season.

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Shopping

There are just 11 more shopping days before Christmas. Surprisingly the Malls and Shopping Center’s parking lots do not seem to be that full.

Are we really in the recession that I keep hearing bantered about on the television news channels? Maybe everyone shot their wad on “Black Friday”. Or perhaps they have wised up and avoid the Malls and opt for on-line shopping. Most of the major retailers have a Web Site and many offer free shipping during the Holiday Season.

If you know what you want to purchase you can even shop for comparative pricing. But some people I know still enjoy going to the Malls and being jostled around, ignored by the sales staff, and wait in line to make their purchases.

My last trip to a Mall (The Annapolis Mall) at Christmastime was in the early 1990’s. It was on the 23rd of December; I’ve always been a Holiday shopping procrastinator. One of my female roommates (who disdained shopping more than I did) asked if I wanted to go to the Mall with her and I reluctantly joined her because I needed to buy a Music CD for my son.

We entered the Mall through a large Department Store. The place was packed with last minute shoppers and the lines at the registers were long. This bothered my roommate, as she was accustomed to doing most of her shopping at the 7-11 and our local Liquor Store. Too many people! Lions, Tigers and Bears, oh my! Malls can become overwhelming to the non-shopper.

So then my roommate said to me “why don’t we first mellow out with a few cocktails, before we start to shop.” This sounded like a great idea! We then sat at a Mall Restaurant Bar for the next 7 hours, discussing the affairs of the day. By this time, most of the stores in the Mall had already closed and we were both shit faced and talking about the possibility of having sex together. We called my other female roommate to come and get us and to bring us home. She was not too happy, but came to get us anyway. Of course, we were admonished for our bad behavior and we never copulated.

At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , ,

Use my Link to Amazon

For your on-line shopping convenience there is a link to on the right sidebar of this Blog. They are offering FREE shipping on many of the “for sale” treasures on their site and have competitive pricing on a large variety of gift items. Check them out!

The best part is that I get at least a four percent commission from Amazon on the items that you purchase when linking to them from my Blog.

Happy Shopping!

The Beach Bum.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Songs Remain the Same

I spent a lot of time yesterday afternoon reading the reviews about the Led Zeppelin Reunion Concert at the O2 Arena in London on Monday night. It was a charity event that was held in memory of former Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun, who originally signed Led Zeppelin.

John Bonham’s son, Jason, took his father’s place on the drums for this concert. John’s death (by choking on his vomit) in 1980 caused the group to break up at that time.

Led Zeppelin News

Led Zeppelin was one of my favorite musical groups in the in the 1970’s. I still enjoy their music a much more than most of the Rock music of the last 20 years. But then again, I still enjoy Frank Sinatra more than I do the modern day crooners.

While sitting and waiting to receive a “Divine Inspiration” for a Blog about Led Zeppelin, my worthless brother-in-law (Uncle John) turned on the television. I feel that he does this intentionally to distract me from my writing. He obviously doesn’t care about what he views or he wouldn’t watch the garbage he usually does.

Lo and behold, he put on a program that was of interest to me. It was on VH1, a channel that I rarely, if ever, watch. It was the Woodstock Festival Concert from August 1969; 4 hours long including commercials.

In 1969 I was still in the Army and living off post (Fort Meade) in Laurel, Maryland. My across the hall neighbors were from Pennsylvania and had bought 4 tickets to the Woodstock Festival in New York.

They were planning to take two hot babes to the concert for a weekend of Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll; the babes bailed out, so they offered the tickets to me and my 3 roommates.

We all passed. 24 bucks, plus the cost of the trip, was more than we could afford on our military salaries. Instead we had a Woodstock house party on that weekend (the aforementioned hot Babes attended our party). It was the same Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll, with somewhat better sanitary conditions, yet in a different venue without the cost of the concert and traveling expenses.

To this day I do regret not attending the Concert on Max Yasgur's Farm in Bethel, New York. But when they had a Woodstock Reunion Concert in 1989, I also took a pass. No regrets, this time!

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Lost Ark

More than 40 years ago, I was stationed at Kagnew Station in Asmara, Eritrea, Ethiopia. Besides sampling the local nightlife (which was my favorite pastime), I did manage to take several trips into the Eritrean and Ethiopian countryside.

Before mid June of 1968 most of my close friends (AKA “The Gross Guys”) had left Kagnew for bigger and better things. Feeling lonely, I hooked up with a local girl in early June 1968. She worked on post and lived in a beautiful house not far from my favorite downtown Asmara bar (The Bar Fiore).

Her mother was half Italian and half Ethiopian and she was ¾ Italian and ¼ Ethiopian. Her mother was the mistress of an Asmara businessman (her Father).

One morning, at breakfast, I had a conversation with her mom and told her that I was going to see the ruins at Axum in a few days. She then related the following story.

When she was young (probably in the 1920’s) she travel from Addis Ababa to Asmara with her mother to be with her father (an Italian builder). On the way to Asmara they stopped at Axum for a day. Axum is a holy site and it was a celebration day. She told me that she had seen the Ark of the Covenant (but had a different name for it) being carried by the priests. I knew what she was talking about and shook my head in disbelief.

My first reaction was that there was no such thing – it’s a biblical myth. And why, if it did exist, would it be in Ethiopia? I went to Axum in July of 1968 and never saw the Ark.

Years later, in 1981, I saw the Steven Spielberg movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and I laughed at the possibility that the Ark of the Covenant did really exist. If you have seen this movie, and who hasn’t, you can understand the potential power of the Ark of the Covenant. That is, if you believe that it really does exist.

In this month’s Smithsonian Magazine there is a story by Paul Raffaele titled “Keepers of the Lost Ark”. Paul claims (as my Eritrean girlfriend’s mother did) to have seen the Ark in Axum (Aksum). He also claims to have taken pictures of priests carrying the Ark. He explains how and why the Ark was taken to Ethiopia. This is almost believable.

Believer or non-believer, it is a good article that is worth reading.

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Take this Quiz

I was going through my old emails (to delete some of the dead weight and free up some space) today and found a link to a site that asks you several questions about your views on issues in the upcoming Presidential Campaign. The result of your answers match you with the candidate who has the same opinions as you do on the some of the main issues.

The first time that I took the quiz was last September. It told me that my best match was with Hillary Clinton. I didn’t like this assessment of my views, so I retook the quiz, paying a little more attention to the questions and weighing them (Low, Medium or High). Due to laziness, I had marked them all as medium on the first time. Silly me!

My second shot at the quiz yielded Barack Obama as the candidate that I most agree with and Hillary finishing a close second. I like Barack better than Hillary, but this was still unsatisfactory. I felt that somehow this quiz was a set up. Several questions (on issues) that are important to me were not asked in the quiz and if they had been I would have ended up with a different candidate.

Before deleting the original message today, I retook the test for the third time. This time I read all the issues carefully and rated them accordingly. The outcome was nearly the same as the last two times, but now I had a different front runner. I have always considered myself as an independent (although with the exception of Ronald Reagan, I usually have voted for the Democratic candidate for President). Last election I voted for the Libertarian Candidate – I dislike Bush and was afraid of Kerry.

The final outcome of my latest taking of the quiz is Mike Huckabee (R) a 67.74% match, Barack Obama (D) also a 67.74% match and both Hillary Clinton (D) and Joseph Biden (D) with a 64.52% match. On the “bottom of the barrel” was Ron Paul with 35.42% match.

I wonder if this Quiz is based on their voting record or the lies that candidates tend to tell to the public while they are campaigning.

The quiz is located here: Candidate Quiz.

Take your time and read the issues by clicking on the issue itself. Also be sure to rank them as Low, Medium or High. This is an important factor in this Quiz.

As I, you may not believe with which candidate you most agree.

The Beach Bum


Friday, December 07, 2007

Pearl Harbor Day Salute

This morning I received an email from an old Army buddy who lives in New Hampshire. It was titled Pearl Harbor Day. Here are parts of that email:

“My Dad as most of you know was at Pearl Harbor when it got bombed by the Japs.US Army Combat Engineers stationed at Schofield Barracks.”

“He was on the roof of Schofield shooting anti-aircraft guns when a bomb went through the roof within 10 feet of him, went straight through everything and ended up stuck in the ground and never blew up. I wouldn't be saying this if it had. That bomb is still in the ground today as a memorial. After Pearl he went to save the Marines at Guadalcanal. Fun times. Great nightmares. Dad will be 87 next month and is in great health.”

My friend goes on to say that it would make his father happy if we sent him an email or gave him a call. So I’m going one better and dedicating today’s Blog to those who (alive or dead) were at the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.

There aren’t too many survivors still around to tell us about “a date which will live in infamy”. In my lifetime I have only met two survivors and know of three (I have never met my friend’s father). The two that I met have both passed away, but I remember their stories of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor vividly.

They spoke of the carnage (2,333 killed and 1,139 wounded), the individual heroism of others in their units, and the effect that it had on their lives. They were young and hadn’t ever seen combat. They were not fully prepared for the events of that day. They had both lost friends and knew that this event would put us at war with Japan where they would lose more friends.

The USS Arizona took on the most personnel loses in the attack on Pearl Harbor and now stands as a memorial to all that had died (all military services – not only Navy) in combat on December 7, 1941. Every President subsequent to FDR has visited the Memorial.

Today I stand up and solemnly salute all that served at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 with a special salute to my friend’s father Bill Hallahan, a survivor. President John F. Kennedy once said “The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.”

The Beach Bum

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The State of the Unions

I recently received a comment on one of my posts that disturbed me. It did not anger me but it disturbed me. What disturbed me was that the person, who posted the comment, did not seemingly really read the entire post or perhaps did not fully understand the gist of the Blog. One of my first statements was that I was siding with the Writers Guild of America Union.

The Anonymous Comment was “You obviously have spent most of your life kissing ass and therefore didn't need a union. Look where you are now, Nowhereville.” And signed “from The Hoffa society for ass kissers.”

RE: “You obviously have spent most of your life kissing ass.” Not to defend myself, which I am probably doing now; but I have never been an ass kisser, a brown nose or a sycophant. People who know me will agree with me on this point. They will say that I am an opinionated asshole. Opinionated Asshole, Yes - Ass Kisser, NO! I can except this because I realize who and what I am.

Please note that the signature is “The Hoffa society for ass kissers”. Therefore I will assume that the person who made this comment is a member of this society. What does this mean? Is he or she an ass kisser? Was Jimmy Hoffa an ass kisser? Maybe his son and current Teamster Union President is an ass kisser. Or does it mean that this society is a group of people that have kissed a Hoffa’s ass.

In my blog I stated that I was basically against Unions. This is not the total truth. I should have said that I was against the Unions that attempt to justify their existence by demanding outrageous pay and benefits for their members. This subsequently raises the prices of goods and services for the average person. They are really not hurting the management that they work for; they are in essence hurting themselves. When one large union gets increased pay and benefits, other large union members say “hey these guys got this or that, we should be getting the same if not more”. This is human nature.

I also stated “Not to say that unions are not a good thing.” The key words here are “Not to say”. My implied meaning here is that Unions are an important factor to workers when they are fighting for better working conditions, fair benefits and a reasonable rate of pay.

But what are fair benefits and a reasonable rate of pay. Should a senior UAW worker be making more money and have greater benefits than a Resident MD at a small Hospital? And some UAW members do. I don’t know the answer, but it just doesn’t seem fair and reasonable to me!

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Shopping Day

Today was shopping day. This day is the best bonding day that I have with my daughter. But first, before shopping, my daughter had a Doctor’s appointment. This usually takes less than 30 minutes, but of course, since I was with her it took nearly an hour. I sat in the car smoking cigarettes wishing that I had a cold beer.

The next stop was the Bank. This is where she withdraws cash to spend in the stores. I don’t really understand this step because she has a debit card and several credit cards. The usual explanation is that her husband has the debit card and if she uses a credit card her purchases will eventually cost more.

Then she drops me off at the local Winn-Dixie. They have my favorite beer on sale. The next stop is the local tropical fish store where she buys food for her fish. This was the shortest stop, maybe 7 minutes.

Following that we go to the Home Depot. I sit in the car drinking beer and smoking cigarettes while she shops for 5 items; elapsed time 45 minutes. I watched several cars pull in and out of adjacent spaces during this period. Most had purchased far more than she did. She is usually a quick shopper; she blamed the delay on the inept clerks.

At this point in time my daughter was worn down by all this shopping. She needed to take the edge off before we headed to Wally World (The Wal-Mart) to finish our shopping. We stopped in a local saloon for Happy Hour. My kind of place it was dark and dank. The price for her two vodka and tonics and my beer was only $8. The only drawback was that the Men’s Room was “out of order” and I had to use a smelly Port-A-Potty outside.

The Wal-Mart was our second quickest stop. I bought some more beer (I can’t past up a bargain), some wine, a pound of shaved roast beef and some Cuban Bread. My daughter left the building before I did and somehow I got lost in the parking lot – forgetting where she had parked. This was another waste of 5 minutes.

On to the gas station where I purchased a carton of cigarettes in record time (there was no line). And the final stop was the Walgreens where my daughter dropped off her prescriptions.

The total time expended on today’s shopping spree was in excess of four hours. It was good to return home and sit and do nothing.

The Beach Bum

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On Strike

My son-in-law was a bit upset this past Sunday because 3 of his favorite television programs were repeats (reruns). Of course, he is blaming the Writers Guild of America (WGA) for this travesty. They are on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

I blame the AMPTP. From what I have read the writer’s demands are not that great. They just want a little more piece of the pie. Which in my humble opinion, they justly deserve. Many of these writers live off of residuals when they are not working. Unless they are writing for an on-going television series or talk show, they rely on this income to carry them through the lean times.

The writers see the “Fat Cat Producers” getting richer while they must eke out a living to stay solvent. This is a sad commentary. But it is true in every aspect of our lives. The rich always strive to become richer and keep others where they are (financially). This almost sounds like Karl Marx. And I am not a Marxist.

Although I was a union member (Retail Clerks and Druggist) in the 1960’s, I am basically against unions. Not to say that unions are not a good thing, but when they come to that certain point where they must demand more than what is deserved, just to justify what you’re paying in dues to them, they become a bad thing. However, this is not the current case with the Writers Guild.

One of my son-in-law’s Sunday night favorites is the Family Guy on Fox. I started to watch The Family Guy on a regular basis when I moved here to Nowhereville. I had probably seen 8 to 10 episodes before that time. I didn’t really like this program at first. The concept of a talking baby and a talking dog (who happens to be the most intelligent member of the Griffin family) seemed inane. Plus the animation leaves something to be desired (in the same vein, so did my all-time favorite – Rocky and Bullwinkle). The Family Guy is a good program, and I will enjoy watching the reruns (while the writers are on strike) that I had missed during the past 6 seasons.

The Beach Bum

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 03, 2007

Making Love to the One You Love Best

A German research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Weekly World News said that men staring at women's breasts can in fact prolong their lives with years. "Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female such as Baywatch actress Pamela Lee is equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out," said author Dr. Karen Weatherby, a gerontologist.

Weatherby goes on to say "Sexual excitement gets the heart pumping and improves blood circulation. There's no question: Gazing at large breasts makes men healthier. Our study indicates that engaging in this activity a few minutes daily cuts the risk of stroke and heart attack in half." She said that this was as healthy as going to the gym for 30 minutes daily and can prolonged a man's life by five years.

This is great news for thousands of males over the age of 55. Now we have a good excuse for viewing internet porn. We can now tell our wives or girlfriends that we are viewing nubile women with large breasts for health purposes.

Personally, I’m not a fan of large breasts; I’m more interested in viewing other parts of the female anatomy. Long legs and a nice round butt get me more sexually excited and aroused than looking at large breasts. I have never had an erection by just looking at a “D Cup” babe. On the other hand, touching those breasts is an entire different story.

What was not mentioned in the article that I read about this five year study of 200 male subjects is whether they masturbated or had sex after viewing these large breasted women. Sexual arousal is one thing, but without the payoff I don’t see the sense in getting aroused. Having an orgasm always gets my heart pumping and improves my blood circulation.

Well, it’s off to my favorite Porn Site to get my heart pumping. I’m now doing this to prolong my life. Rather than to just get an erection while looking at naked women, and then relieving my pent up sexual frustrations by hand. This action will also keep my prostate healthy.

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Love Toys

David Levy, president of the International Computer Games Association and author of “Love and Sex with Robots,” claims that by the middle of this century, people will cultivate lasting relationships with robots.

Who is David Levy and why should we believe him?

David Levy has worked in the field of Artificial Intelligence since graduating from St. Andrews University, Scotland, in 1967. He led the team that won the 1997 Loebner Prize in Artificial Intelligence in New York. In 1968 Levy (who is an International Master and expert in computer chess) challenged four Artificial Intelligence luminaries to develop a computer program that could beat him at chess within ten years (he won the bet in 1978, but was eventually defeated in 1989). He has also authored “Robots Unlimited: Life in a Virtual Age” in 2005.

Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships is not as far fetched as one would imagine. My first thought was that this sounds like something from Star Trek: The Next Generation. If you recall LTC Data was an anatomically correct android and at one point in the series began to develop emotional bonds with his fellow crew members. I believe that he even had sex with one of them. Is this purely science fiction?

Its concept reminds me of two movies. The first movie Cherry 2000 stars Melanie Griffith as tracker trying to find a love robot for a lovesick guy that has broken his female robot. If you haven’t seen it, don’t bother. The second is Artificial Intelligence – AI by Director Steven Spielberg. If you haven’t seen this movie; shame on you.

Now David Levy tells us that not only will this be possible it will be probable. This is a great concept. Not only would it save a lot of money and heartache in divorce proceedings, but it would also reduce the world’s population. Unfortunately it will not occur in my lifetime. I was born about 40 years too early to reap the benefits of having a robotic lover.

But as my friend Mr. Richard Feder from Fort Lee sez; “Why worry about the future, the world as we know it will be ending in December 2012 (the end of the Mayan Calendar).

The Beach Bum

Labels: , , , ,