Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Three family members drown attempting to save their dog at Big Lagoon Beach

        Good Day World!

I can’t get the image out of my mind.

A family’s pet dog runs out into the breakers at Big Lagoon Beach (a mere 15 miles or so from where I live) and get’s swept out to sea by 10-foot swells. The family, a man, woman, and teenage son – all standing nearby - jumped in…one by-one…the first to save the pet then the others followed for whatever reason.

Big Lagoon is located about 32 miles north of Eureka in Humboldt County.

It ends badly. Like it has for so many others who fell victim to our deadly north coast surf. It wasn’t a sneaker wave this time, something we’re also known for. No. I’m not sure what to call this tragedy. The waves were just to big and strong. The water too cold. They loved their pet too much? Is that possible? Love is a mighty motivator. A rescue that turned into a rescue?

The local authorities found the body of the man and the woman yesterday.They’re still looking for the teenage son as I write this. The U.S. Coast Guard reported the daughter of the couple called for help. Did she witness this terrible turn of events? It appears she did. My heart goes out to her. The final irony here; the dog managed to make it to safety.

I’m looking down into the eyes of my eight-year old pug Millie and wondering just how far I’d go to save her life? I hope I never have to find out.

Time for me to walk on down the road… sadly

Monday, November 26, 2012

Game Over! Walmart workers kill shoplifter who lifted 2 DVD players

       Good Day World!

I hope the individuals who ran down the shoplifter at Walmart feel it was worth it to kill for that stolen merchandise. When he was gagging for air under the weight of all three of them (one had a chokehold on him too) I wonder if they thought their actions were going to get them declared heroes? Maybe they thought they’d get a holiday bonus for saving Walmart’s bottom line.

More than likely though, the knuckleheads didn’t think at all. They over-reacted. They stepped over the line and death was the result. I will never condone stealing from stores, but no product is worth a person’s life. Logic was left at the curb with the two DVD players.


The Black Friday shopping weekend apparently took a tragic turn early Sunday morning when an alleged shoplifter died while being apprehended by employees and a contract security officer outside a Lithonia Walmart.

Two associates who helped catch and subdue the suspect before police arrived have been placed on leave; the security officer who police say may have placed the suspected thief in a choke hold, is no longer working for Walmart.

“No amount of merchandise is worth someone’s life,” Walmart spokesperson Dianna Gee said Sunday in a statement that emphasized that it was early in the investigation into the incident and all the facts were not known yet. “Associates are trained to disengage from situations that would put themselves or others at risk.”

DeKalb police say that the unidentified man took two DVD players from the Walmart at 5401 Fairington Road around 1:30 a.m. The man, who appeared to be middle aged, exited through the front door, but was caught by the trio in the parking lot where a “physical altercation” took place, according to the police report.

When police arrived, they found the trio on top of the man. An officer who handcuffed the suspected shoplifter detected no resistance from him and ordered the employees off. Police found the man to be unresponsive and bleeding from his nose and mouth. Emergency units responded and transported him to DMC-Hillandale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“This is truly a sad situation,” Gee said. “We don’t know all of the facts right now. We’re in the process of working with law enforcement to deterimine all of the facts and cooperating and providing any information we have to assist in the investigation.

The preliminary investigation indicates the victim was placed in a choke hold by the security officer. The cause and manner of death is to be determined by the DeKalb Medical Examiner’s office. A spokesman said no information on the victim would be released until Monday.The two Walmart associates involved in the incident have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, Gee said, adding that, “The security officer involved will no longer be providing services to us.”

Time for me to walk on down the road…disgusted

Sunday, November 25, 2012

As It Stands: Congress: A rest home for old politicians

 By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
I’ve got an idea that could break the gridlock in Congress. Not immediately, but by the time the next elections roll around. We’re stuck with the current crew of ideology-driven drones and party-first clowns for now.
It’s never too soon to work on changing things however. The idea? Simple. Term limits. We’ve already settled that issue in regards to the presidency with the ratification of the 22nd amendment in February of 1951.        
Several attempts have been made to limit the number of terms Senators and Congressmen can hold office. Most attempts seek to limit the time in office to 12 years, which would limit Senators to 2 terms and House members to 6 terms.

As part of the Contract with America in 1994, House Republicans attempted to established 12-year terms limits for Congress. However, they failed to achieve the 2/3 majority required to pass such an amendment.
Whatever the role of the Contract, Republicans were elected to a majority of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1953, and several parts of the Contract were enacted. Some elements did not pass in Congress, while others were vetoed by, or substantially altered in negotiations with President Bill Clinton, who would later sarcastically refer to it as the "Contract on America.”
  I’ve always contended that having life-long members in Congress is detrimental to our system of government.
As of November 24, 2012, 66 of the current 100 members range in age from their early 60’s to their late 80s. Four senators are in their 80s, 24 are in their 70s,  and 38 are in their 60s.
Let’s face it, that’s a little “long in the teeth” to be actively introducing and voting on legislation. There’s no way they are as alert as a 50-year old member. I don’t care what anyone says. Talk about being rigid. Many of those old coots are mentally living in the 50s and don’t truly represent what Americans feel today.

In February of this year the senate soundly rejected the idea of term limits with a 24-75 vote. Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) amendment would have expressed the non-binding sense of the Senate that the Constitution to place limits on how long members of Congress can serve.
I’m not surprised. The members of Congress have a good deal and don’t want anything to change. The perks they get are seldom found outside of government. So it seems we’re stuck. Or, maybe not.
People have been going on about this term limit thing for decades with no progress. But the times, they are changing. We have the internet and social media like FaceBook and Twitter that can galvanize movements and generate change.

Up to now the American people have had their hands tied as the members of Congress protected themselves and made sure no one rocked the boat. The subject would come up, and they’d act like they were really considering it, but lo and behold, nothing was ever passed.
We’ve all heard about the Arab Spring, Occupy, and other social movements by people demanding change from their governments.

Social media has been a key in those changes. There’s no reason a groundswell movement involving millions of Americans couldn’t put these insulated lawmakers on notice.
We know they’re never going to fix the problem. They don’t see it as a problem. Dying on the job is what they all hope to do.
I would be remiss in not noting that these geezers keep getting re-elected. 
That’s the part I don’t get. How do people expect change to happen when the status quo in Congress is maintained? Don’t expect the mainstream media to take up this issue, as most of it is owned by one of the two ruling political parties.
Twelve years in office should be more than enough. I don’t have anything against a person’s age, but at some point in our lives we all need to retire and let young blood and fresh ideas take over.
   As It Stands, when you have a group of old timer’s hobbling down the halls of Congress it’s time to call it a rest home for politicians!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What a surprise! I had no idea that my blog was worth so much


I’ve really noticed a big increase in my viewer traffic this year, but I had no idea what that equated to in terms of the value of my blog. Since my partnership with Learnist a lot of good things have been happening. When I checked a hosting site for blogs today I was stunned to see this one is worth $69,000!

Since sharing this information I’ve had some people ask me if I’m going to sell my blog? The answer is no. I enjoy doing it too much and don’t want to start another one. If I keep going in the direction I am, the worth will continue to increase. Maybe some day (if I need too) I’ll sell it.

As for now, it’s blogging as usual and thank you for contributing to my success by visiting! A big hug to all my readers! Thanks!

A piece of music history for sale: Rejected Silver Beatles audition tape to go up for auction

    Good Day World!

Have you ever made a colossal error in your life? Did something that later turned out to be so dumb you vowed never to share it with anyone? Not even for a price?

Don’t feel too bad my friend, because I doubt you could have topped Dick Rowe’s bad move. 

The Beatles audition tape rejected by a record label executive in arguably the biggest blunder in pop history has resurfaced and will go on sale at a London auction next week.

Ted Owen of The Fame Bureau, an auction house specializing in pop memorabilia, said the 10-song tape was recorded on New Year's Day, 1962, at label Decca's studios in north London.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best - who would later be replaced on drums by Ringo Starr - performed up to 15 songs at the session, 10 of which appear on the tape to be sold on Nov. 27.

The band members had been driven from Liverpool to London the night before, and, despite getting lost on the way managed to get to the studios in time for the infamous session paid for by their manager Brian Epstein.

Decca's senior A&R (artists and repertoire) representative Dick Rowe, who later became known as "the man who turned down the Beatles," decided against signing them in favor of Brian Poole & The Tremeloes who also auditioned that day.

"Guitar groups are on their way out, Mr. Epstein," he is widely quoted as saying.

Rowe did, however, sign the Rolling Stones, who went on to become one of the biggest acts in British rock, and experts dispute whether it was him or a more junior colleague who passed the Beatles over.

There are bootleg versions of the session in existence, but the "safety master," or back-up tape, on offer at auction is unique, Owen said.

"The most important thing about this is the quality," he told Reuters. "There are bootlegs out there, horrible bootlegs -- some are at the wrong speed, others are crackily and taken from a cassette off an acetate (disc).

"This quality we have never heard." Despite its rarity, the tape has been estimated to fetch $29,000 to $32,000, which Owen said had been set by the owner and was a "sensible" starting point.

He added that only a handful of collectors were likely to bid for the piece of pop history, and, given that the Beatles own the copyright through their company, a commercial record release based on the tape was extremely unlikely.

Marked as the "Silver Beatles," which the "Fab Four" were briefly called, the tape comes with a hand-written track list and black-and-white photograph of the musicians posing in leather jackets that would be been used for the record sleeve. (source)

Time for me to walk on down the road….

Friday, November 23, 2012

Who would have guessed? Drinking Soda Can Damage Your Knees

     Good Day World!

One of life’s little challenges for me is dealing with osteoarthritis in my knees. I do whatever I can to take care of my fossilizing knees and was surprised to read about some research that said soda was bad for them…men’s knees that is; not women’s!

If you have bad knees you might want to lay off the soda. New research has found that men with osteoarthritis of the knee who drink sugary soft drinks fare worse than those who avoid the sweet stuff.

The study, presented at meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Washington, found the more soda men drink, the greater the risk their arthritis will progress and cause more pain.

And here’s the kicker: It’s not because soda drinkers pack on more pounds, causing greater wear and tear on their knees. The researchers were surprised to discover the link between arthritis and soft drinks could not solely be explained by excess weight from drinking too many sodas, said Bing Lu, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and biostatistician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Lu, who led the study, said he and his colleagues don’t know why high-calorie soft drinks worsen osteoarthritis in men — but not women. But the researchers speculate that several ingredients in sugary drinks damage bone health. Caffeine, for instance, can promote osteoporosis, phosphoric acid may interfere with calcium absorption, and high fructose corn syrup — a common sweetener in carbonated beverages — can also negatively affect bone. Dr. Lu added that sex hormones may also explain the gender differences.

The American Beverage Association criticized the study and noted the researchers could not say for sure whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between soda and the progression of osteoarthritis.

Researchers examined 2,149 osteoarthritis patients — 3,066 knees — and surveyed them about the frequency of their non-diet soft drink consumption. They tracked the progression of the participants’ arthritis over a four-year period.

After taking into account excess weight and other risk factors for knee osteoarthritis, the researchers found men who drank five or more soft drinks a week had a greater progression of their disease — by twice as much, based on standard measures of osteoarthritis — compared with men who did not drink sugary soda.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Pfizer Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Merck Research Laboratories, and GlaxoSmithKline — the makers of anti-arthritis drugs.

An estimated 1 in 100 people have knee osteoarthritis — a condition in which the cartilage in the joint wears away, reducing its ability to reduce friction and act as a biological shock absorber, causing pain and other symptoms. Known risk factors for the disease include obesity, age, prior injury to the knee, and extreme stress to the joints — as occurs with some athletes and people who engage in physically demanding jobs or other activities.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common reasons for knee joint replacement surgery. (Source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…slowly!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Annual Turkey Pardon Event is a weird American tradition

  Good Day World!

  Don’t tell me Americans don’t have weird holiday traditions. We’re not satisfied just having a day for thanks and family gatherings, we have to to symbolically pardon the main course of the Holiday feast – the turkey. 

The leader of the free world meets once a year with a handpicked enormous turkey for a photo op, as other politicians look on smiling. If that’s not weird then I don’t know what is. 

American presidents have not been pardoning turkeys as long as you might think. It appears that Abraham Lincoln, in a way, was the first to spare a turkey. But it wasn't a Thanksgiving turkey. It was a Christmas turkey his son had taken for a pet.

So which president was the first to actually pardon a Thanksgiving turkey?

It was John F. Kennedy in 1963. An NBC News archive search found a Los Angeles Times article dated Nov. 20, 1963 with the headline, "Turkey gets presidential pardon."

And that turkey was a monster. The paper described it as a "55-pound broad white tom." Despite a sign hanging around the bird's neck that read, "Good eating, Mr. President," Kennedy took a look down at the "frightened, panting bird" and said, "We'll just let this one grow."

Turkey’s still gobble happily whenever they hear Kennedy’s name during turkey games. The rest is history.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A bit soon to be collecting Twinkies: They’re going to survive one way or the other

         Good Day World!

Twinkie the Kid’s ride into the sunset hit a hurdle Monday when Hostess Brands, unions and lenders agreed to mediation to try to save the company, and its spongy, yellow cake, from liquidation. If all goes well, the iconic junk food will survive and addicts can stop worry about it’s demise.

I’ve been amused by the public outcry over the possible loss of the lowly Twinkie. I don’t thing it was ever in danger of total extinction. as a matter of fact if Hostess Brands does go bankrupt that doesn’t spell the end of America’s favorite bad food to snack on.

If it comes down to bankruptcy and selling off their assets, a Mexican company may be ready to resurrect the golden Twinkies very quickly According to the Christian Science Monitor, while food producers ConAgra and Flowers Food, the American company behind Nature Valley granola, have expressed interest along with Little Debbie baker McKee Foods, Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo may hold the inside track to saving Twinkies from extinction.

However, it may not come to that. If the union and Hostess Brands do find a way to work together, then it’s business as usual and all the stores will once again be flooded with them. I’ve heard some rumors that people are selling Twinkies for crazy prices on the internet. The video above talks about how Twinkies became an instant collector item.

Mashable notes, there's also an individual Twinkie that is up for sale for $5,000.

"This is your opportunity to own a piece of history, a delicious piece at that," wrote the seller, who apparently lives in Raleigh, N.C., in the auction description.

The eBay user added that the Twinkie will be "protectively packaged and shipped to the winning bidder." Elsewhere on eBay, three boxes of Hostess Chocodiles are on sale for a more reasonable price of $89.95 and a box of Ding Dongs is being offered for $19.95.

But before you whip out your checkbook, remember that Twinkies and other Hostess treats may still have a chance at survival.

Some people claim that Twinkies can last forever. That may be true, but I don’t see myself sampling a ten-year-old Twinkie anytime soon. It just goes to show you people will collect anything! 

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, November 19, 2012

As It Stands wishes you a Happy Launch Day!

          By Dave Stancliff
  Growing up and going to school in the fifties meant Thanksgiving was all about pilgrims and Indians getting along swell and eating a big feast that featured Turkeys and yams. The religious undertone to the holiday seeped into my history lessons unchallenged by any group or individual.
  Frankly, it was a boring holiday back then. Today Thanksgiving has changed so much I think we need to re-name the holiday. Just look around you and see how things have changed. For example, a common alternative to saying “Thanksgiving” is now “Turkey Day.”
  The lowly gobbler has reached such a pinnacle in public popularity that every president of the United States pardons one during the holiday. The lucky bird becomes exempt from ever being a main dish and gets to lead a natural life cooped up somewhere.
  Family’s still get together to celebrate and have a big meal.  Some have tofu turkey instead of the real bird. No one talks about how the pilgrims and Indians were buddies much anymore. Most Native Americans ignore the holiday for good reason; those pilgrims heralded the end of their great civilization. Nearly every treaty ever made with Native Americans was broken by their conquerors.

  So how do we pull together today as one nation to celebrate Thanksgiving? Well, lets see: we need something that’s not historically controversial. We need a common theme for all Americans to rally around that day while they’re feeding their faces from coast-to- coast. I don’t know about you, but I think Turkey Day sounds undignified.
  I’ve got it! We could call it “Launch Day” and make it the first official day for Christmas shopping! Oh, wait a moment. What’s that? I just heard a news alert on the radio:

  “In what is often seen as a bellwether for holiday sales pricing, Walmart has released its Black Friday ad, and TVs once again feature prominently. This year, Walmart will open its doors for Black Friday shopping at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving - 2 hours earlier than last year - and it will roll out sales serially, with toys and video-game bargains kicking off, then TV and other electronics going on sale at 10 p.m.”

How about that? Some clever marketeers beat me to the punch on my Launch Day idea! It looks like Wal Mart won’t be the only mega store in the nation to use Thanksgiving as a Launch Day for Christmas Shopping. Ads popping up for other stores that plan on doing the same thing are now flooding the internet and airwaves as I speak. Presses are working overtime to print millions of Black Friday Thanksgiving sales.
Can’t you just feel the excitement?
  As It Stands, Why not? It was a boring holiday before. Now people can get in huge lines and wait to burst into a store and risk being trampled to death while they’re digesting their turkey!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

As It Stands: Some Reflections on collections

  By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Collecting things can be a long and winding road that never ends. The list of things deemed collectible is as colorful as a rainbow, and can stretch the limits of our imaginations. 
How many stories have you heard about people who used their baseball cards as noise-makers for their bikes while growing up? You might even have done that. I didn’t, but I cringe when I hear people tell me how they used Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Duke Snider, and Sandy Koufax cards so rudely. Those same people groan with regret when they learn how much those cards are worth these days. 
  There are always a few, like my high school buddy Larry, who saved everything he ever ran across. He started ridiculously young and actually saved his baseball cards neatly sorted in shoe boxes. He also amassed a collection of baseball hall of fame memorabilia second only to Cooperstown since then! 
  Visiting with Larry and his beautiful wife Nanci is like entering a baseball shrine. You get the urge to cry out, “Play ball!” He’s a Dodger fan and the majority of his collection reflects that. Someday, someone in the Dodger organization will find out about Larry and induct him into their fans hall of fame. If they don’t already have one, he can be the first entry.
  I, and my buddy Tom (now my brother-in-law and still buddy) collected comic books for a brief time in high school. We were fans of Marvel Comics in particular. We read a lot of the D.C. titles like “Superman” and “Batman,” but it was Marvel characters like the “Fantastic Four” and the “Amazing Hulk” that got our greatest admiration.
Our favorite Marvel character was Spider Man. We snapped up each new issue and eagerly read it while relaxing in a park near the liquor store where we purchased our comics. From 1964 to 1966, we saved enough money each month to buy all the Marvel comics available that month (and a few selected DC titles) on the rack.  We’d take our stack of comics, a bottle of Coca Cola , a candy bar or two, and settle on the park benches for an afternoon read-a-thon. Those were heady times.  Our conversations revolved around Peter Parker, aka Spider Man, and if he should reveal his identity to Mary Jane or his Aunt May.
  World events seemed far away back then, and comic books were our escape from such horrible things as the drudgery of school, not being old enough to get a driver’s license, and having to walk everywhere we went.
  You might wonder what happened to that collection of comics from the so-called Silver Age? Did Tom and I save them and divide them up when our paths diverged? The answer, sadly enough, is no. Neither of us has even one issue from those halcyon days.
The boxes containing the comics were stored in my parent’s garage while I was in the Army. When they moved from that house they didn’t have a lot of room in their trailer so they got rid of a lot of stuff. I was stationed at Ft. MacArthur in San Pedro, and didn’t have any extra storage room in my barracks.
  At the time, I have to admit, I really didn’t care much about them. My friend Tom was also in the Army and stationed in Germany. A school teacher moved into my parent’s house and I gave her the comics.

  Which brings us back to collectibles, people who save things, and those who don’t. I recently read that a copy of Spider Man’s first appearance in comics sold for a $1.1 million dollars! Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug 62) was sold in a private sale brokered by ComicConnect.com.
  Our comics, if you recall, were from 1964-66. I bought a copy of Comic Buyer’s Guide (to torture myself) and looked up Marvel and DC Comics from that time. One example: we paid 12 cents for Daredevil #7 (Apr 65) and now it’s selling for $650! After nearly suffering a seizure, I collected myself and realized my memories are worth more than those comics are now.
  I started collecting Los Angeles Laker memorabilia as a hobby back in the early 90s, and have put together a nice collection with the help of my friends and family. I’ve been a fan since they moved to LA. No one has to ask what to get me for Christmas, Father’s Day, or my birthday. I hope my grandchildren enjoy it someday when I’m gone and it helps them remember their “Pa Pa.”
  As It Stands, the best part of collecting is the memories that come with it.

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...