Friday, October 31, 2003

TTA Conference Report Will Continue Soon...

My PC at home still has graphic card disease, and it's difficult to write long stretches of text. I'll get back to the report as soon as I can, promise.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Fulmer Rumors

Calm down, move along....nothing to see here...

The big bad rumor that UT Coach Phil Fulmer was resigning today at a 4:15 Press Conference due to personal scandal had more hot air in it than under a Brodie Crowell pass. It was an update on ill player Chuck Pugue.

Everyone continue breathing, and resume your normal lives.

And to those who started the rumor, which apparently flew fast and furious all over the South today - pppppptttttttthhhhh!!!!! Jerks.

UPDATE: The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that UT AD Mike Hamilton has gotten wind of this rumor and issued a statement:

"Over the last several days, and even more prevalent today, there have been a number of rumors indicating that Phillip Fulmer would be resigning as head football coach in a press conference to be held Thursday, Oct. 30.

"Obviously, those rumors have no sound basis. Coach Fulmer in no way has indicated any intention of resigning his position. Credence appeared to be given to such rumors because of a special media opportunity held Thursday regarding Chuck Prugh and his first meeting with the football team following his acute illness.

"Dr. (Joe) Johnson (interim UT president) and I have the utmost confidence in Coach Fulmer's leadership and we step forward at this time to dispel any misinformation you may have heard about his leaving the University of Tennessee.''
Now, of course, the rumor barons will a) pass this off as the classic "vote of confidence" from the owner before the coach is given the boot, or b) be assured that Fulmer chickened out on the announcement and will either stick it out or do it at a later date. Neither is correct, of course, but their "sources" will continue to provide "inside" information "straight from the Athletic Department". One wag I noticed online got their information straight from their wife, who (let's see if I get this straight) works with Fulmer's daughter-in-law and contacted the Athletic Dept. for more information. Another was told by a prominent -- PROMINENT, I TELL YOU! -- athletic department contributor that he should be in front of a TV around 4:15 for the big announcement.

Right.

These so-called "sources" are never right, because most of the time they either don't exist, have bad information themselves, or are pulling someone's leg.

So remember, your "sources" may not always be correct - be patient, and the real story will likely come out in the end.

After all, it only took 40 years for this to finally be laid to rest...

Volunteer Tailgate Party - Vol. XIV

Tommy of Big Stupid Tommy is hosting the latest Volunteer Tailgate Party, a bi-weekly compilation of the best and brightest blatherings of the Rocky Top Brigade.

This week he's featured the cast and crew of the RTB in his version of his favorite television-inspired holiday family party, Festivus.

Tennesee Theatre Association 2003 Conference - Part 1

First some definitions:

The Tennessee Theatre Association is Tennessee's official advocacy and informational organization for the theatrical arts. All state colleges/universities, secondary schools and community theatres are invited to join and participate. TTA presents an annual conference that brings together these groups from all around the state to perform, audition, attend workshops, and network with like professionals and amateurs from all levels of the art.

I have a BA in Theatre from the University of Tennessee, and as long-time visitors to the Inn know I still participate in theatre activies in East Tennessee, mostly at the Oak Ridge Playhouse. I'm a director, musical director and actor primarily though I have dabbled in accompanying and sound design. I love theatre, and I love drama in many forms. If you've never attended a play or haven't in a long time it's an experience that will stay with you for a long time - frequently longer than your average movie-going experience.

For a long time I've wanted to be more involved than just the hobby level - I do have a degree in it, after all - but work and family responsibilities have not allowed me to do more than one of maybe two shows a year. A good friend of mine who lives in Knoxville is the president-elect of TTA, and in the course of conversations he offered me the chance to design the TTA website. I agreed, and in the course of designing the site I realized that the organization was a perfect way to become more involved in the theatre business without sacrificing a lot of my already small but extremely valuable free time. He mentioned that there was an opening on the Board of Directors for an East Tennessee Representative - basically someone who keeps in touch with the various theatrical groups in East Tennessee, and serves as their liason, advocate and communicator to and from the organization. I jumped at the chance, and began serving a two-year term back in the summer.

The Conference is the highlight of the year for the Association, and most of the annual activities and plans are based on this conference. As I said before, there are competitions, auditions, and an atmosphere of networking and fellowship among people who love theatre and the theatrical arts. This year the conference was held in Clarksville, TN on the campus of Austin Peay University.

My friend, Les and I left last Wednesday afternoon (the 22nd) and drove straight out there. There were a few early birds that arrived early like us - the Conference didn't officially start until the next day - and we spent the evening having dinner and getting ready for the big weekend.

Our hotel was the Quality Inn. Um, an interesting place - some of the hallway floors weren't level, apparently due to some sinkholes, or perhaps the San Madrid fault, I'm not certain, but we would walk up a rise, then down a slope, then lean to the left, then the right...well, you get the picture. It was all the fun of walking drunk, but none of the hangovers.

Les, as President-Elect, is in charge of the whole Conference and as such was constantly checking on last-minute details: accomodations for attendees and special guests, badges, registration, etc. He's an Electrical Engineer by trade and has a lovely wife, a 1-1/2 year old son and another on the way and the poor guy was so stressed his stomach was bothering him for the first three days of the conference. I felt sorry for him, and was planning on helping with registration as much as possible but being a rookie I didn't have a lot of prior experience. I wish I could have helped more, but I was able to learn as I went.

Next up: Thursday, Day 1 (officially). Sometime later this afternoon....

UPDATE: Oh, one more thing. We stopped at the Nashville airport on the way down to pick up an adjuticator who was flying in from Florida by way of Charlotte. All the play festivals are judged and a winner is announced later in the conference for each category: community, college/university, and secondary schools. They are graded and commented on as well, which helps improve their performances. The adjuticator we picked up is the Producing Director for a community theatre on an island in Florida near Sarasota. On the drive to Clarksville, we got to talking about my background, and how I have musical directed several shows. She mentioned that she was needing a musical director for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" for two weeks in February, and would I be interested? Well, the offer was to fly me down, put me up for 2 weeks in a condo on the beach, pay a salary and it wouldn't even be a full production but a staged concert - me playing piano and a pre-cast group of players to do the show. I said that sounded very interesting, and I'd love to talk some more about it later. Ohhhh, yes. We'll talk about it later. Absolutely we will talk about it later!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

TTA Conference

If anyone's interested in hearing about my trip to the Tennessee Theatre Association Conference this weekend, let me know and I'll blog about it. It was an interesting trip.

And the Winner Is...

The award for Concept That Has Long Outlived its Usefulness goes to...

Switching back and forth from Standard to Daylight Savings Time.

I will step out the door from work today and it will be dark. Darrk (or almost dark). At 5:30.

There are two - and only two - advantages to switching back to Standard Time in the fall:

1) Extra hour of sleep Saturday night/Sunday morning (this was great when I was a kid and could sleep another hour before getting up for church, less big of a deal today).

2) It's relatively dark and spooky on Halloween.

Other than that...that's it. You have malaise and depression thrust upon you every evening going home - little time for enjoying that brief hour or so after work to run around outside with the kids, rake the leaves if necessary, walk the dog without tripping over...well, you get the picture.

No, now it's:

a) Wake up!
b) Go to Work!
c) Come home from Work!
d) Bedtime!

Or so it seems. There's no advantage whatsoever to switching back.

Therefore, I propose we stay in Daylight Savings (which is a non sequiter any more - you're not saving daylight, you're preserving it) Time all year round.

Ok, I just thought of a third advantage to the time change - changing the batteries in your smoke detectors. But that's supposed to happen both in the spring and the fall, so it doesn't really count

Who's with me? Abolish the old Standard Time, preserve daylight as long as possible!

Seasonal Affective Disorderlies of the World - Unite!

I am Federal Agent Jack Bauer. And today is the longest second-longest third-longest day of my life

24 starts its third season tonight, sans commercials thanks to a generous grant from the Ford Foundation. Or Company. Whatever. Anyway, go buy an F-150 to show your gratitude...

24 Official Website

Official Discussion Group (pretty good)

and Danielle from Missives Anonymous will be watching. I will too, at least after the kids have gone to bed and assuming I set the VCR correctly.

Tivo - bah. Who needs it when you have a VCR?

Call for Hosts

Rocky Top Brigade members wishing to host the Volunteer Tailgate party please contact me at innofthelasthomeinsolace@yahoo.com.

Check out the updated calendar at the top right of the page, or just go to http://calendar.yahoo.com/innofthelasthomeinsolace.

The next available slot is November 27th (as of this writing).

Thanks!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

See Ya

I'm headed to Clarksville for the 2003 Tennessee Theatre Association Conference. Be back Sunday. Looks like I may be adjudicating some of the high school auditions, which sounds like fun....

Don't do nothin' while I'm gone.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Why We're There

I'm no political or military expert. I don't even play one on TV. But here's my two cents worth on why we are, and should remain, in Iraq.

Bill Hobbs says:

"The flypaper is attracting the flies.

A taped message purporting to be from the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden declares for the first time that Iraq is the new battlefront in the jihad against the US.
Beats having them bringing the jihad to our shores. Much better for the jihadis to come to Iraq to be killed by the American military than to fly planes into buildings in New York.
Isn't that the bottom line of the "we're losing 2 soldiers a day over there since the war's over - we have to get them out of there!!" debate?

We're fighting a war against an army of militant fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, which number in the who-knows-how-many thousands. They've proven they can and will attack America on our own soil. If our armed forces have a chance to combat them away from American soil, and reduce their ranks on a daily basis so that the chances of other terror strikes against the US is diminished, how is this different from any other armed conflict we've engaged in in the past?

The liberation of Iraq - lack of real resistance notwithstanding - was much more like the traditional war. An invasion, territories attacked and held, people freed, battle lines drawn and re-drawn, inexorable push toward a geographic destination and achievement of a goal - the ouster of the Saddam regime. This task was finished in a couple of months. Now Iraq has become a new battleground where American troops fight those who've been co-opted into the fight by their ideoligical leaders, and are keeping them from traveling to American shores. This is an unfamiliar battleground - on the surface it doesn't make sense to see servicement falling for what seems to be no reason. But soldiers die in battle, just as surely as if it were a push up the beaches of Normandy, across Guadalcanal, or guarding the progress of freedom in Iraq - only the tactics of the enemy is different. We've had to take the attack to them, on their soil, on their terms.

That said, we must be able to see progress...

South Knox Bubba sez:

"What I want to hear is that either the situation is secured or our troops are coming home."

(...)

Otherwise, save all your "things are going great in Iraq" bullshit, or better yet tell it to the families of these people, especially the ones who died after George AWOL Aviator Bush declared victory on May 1st.
I don't believe the job could possibly be over now, even if we wanted it to be. There's no way the situation could possibly be secured, nor could or troops come home. The area is still too unstable, and the potential risk is too great to leave now.

Every day that there is not another terrorist attack on American interests is another day of victory, but it can only be a partial victory if every day does not also see hope and building for the future in Iraq. Setting up a free, noncorrupt and stable government in Iraq will be extremely difficult and tedious, but it will be a very important step toward lessening the tension. Again, it has to be above-board and honest - something people are looking for, and that the US boasts of in its "charter" but has been seen in short supply in practice. We must be true to ourselves, and to what the US is really all about.

And then, nothing succeeds like success - if the future terrorists in the Middle East see how the people of Iraq can improve their lives by viewing it first hand, maybe that will give them less reason to believe in and join the jihad. And that will indeed be a victory.

Kinda Sad

I went to O'Charley's today for lunch, the first time I've been back to one since the Hepatitis A scare a month ago.

I didn't go to Turkey Creek, but the one in Alcoa near the airport that's close to where I work. At lunchtime, it was only about 1/2-full and a lot of the wait staff were standing around looking for something to do. In fact, they were going out of their way to be courteous and welcoming. Probably under instructions from the management to make O'Charley's more inviting and friendly than ever.

I had no problem going there and there's no real reason I hadn't gone before now. But it was sad that half of Knoxville is still uptight over a problem at one restaurant that, as it turned out, had nothing to do with the cleanliness of the employees or the food or utensils themselves. It was a bad shipment of onions.

I like O'Charley's, and I hope business picks back up for them soon.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Radio

I had the good fortune Saturday evening of attending a Knoxville sneak preview for the movie "Radio", starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Mr. Gooding was in attendance and spoke to the crowd gathered at Knoxville's West Town Mall Regal Cinema.

I've only seen Cuba in a couple of movies, "What Dreams May Come" being the one that comes to mind first. I was quite impressed with his warmth and spirit.

The movie was good, and a tearjerker in parts. It tells the true story of a mentally handicapped man who for the past thirty years has been an assistant football coach for a high school in Anderson, SC. I thought it was very similar in tone, structure and even dramatic "beats" to another recent high school football movie, "Remember the Titans".

If you're planning on seeing the movie, I won't spoil it but if you do, come back and tell me your opinion of the coach's relationship with his daughter, and how you think the movie might have improved on that aspect of the story.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Spammed...?

A lot of bloggers had their comments spammed recently.

(Looks down at his mostly-empty comments sections)




I'm not sure whether to be relieved or insulted...

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Volunteer Tailgate Party - Vol. XIII

Les Jones is hosting the latest Volunteer Tailgate Party, a bi-weekly compilation of the best and brightest blatherings of the Rocky Top Brigade.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Broken Hearts

Any UT Fans who are also Cubs fans can't take much more of this....

1) 99 yard fumble return for Georgia at end of first half to take 20-7 lead into the locker room

2) 8-run 8th inning for the Marlins after the Cubs were 5 outs away from going to the series.

Game 7 tonight....

You Gotta Believe.

Welcome to the Rocky Top Brigade

Big RTB welcome to the newest Brigadiers:

SemiPundit, Evil Hippy at Filthy Hippy Speak, Diana at Beyond the Whispers and Jay at Drawing Dead,

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Put Me In, Coach

To the world's biggest baseball fan, SayUncle, and all you other fans out there:

Ball, strike, out, safe, foul, single, double, triple, home run, first, second, third, home, outfield, infield, pitcher, catcher, hitter, batter, left, right, center, suicide squeeze, bunt, pop-up, fly ball, grounder, Spring Training, Opening Day, All Star, diving catch, play at the plate, "Holy Cow!", "What's interesting here...", the Babe, Mick, sandlot, in the dirt, four-bagger, around the horn, bases loaded, ducks on the pond, double play, triple play, riding the pine, off the bench, pinch runner, pinch hitter, designated hitter, inning, wins, losses, saves, Pete, Earned Run Average, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, Sandy, Ted, "if you build it, they will come", Little League, "Walk of Life" video from Dire Straights, Jackie, Cal, sacrifice fly, hot dogs at Fenway, Budweiser at Wrigley, sushi at Dodger Stadium, "...and DOWN the stretch he comes!!", Johnny Bench, hit and run, double steal, extra innings, Mr. October, bottom of the ninth, runners on the corners, fast ball, slow ball, slider, curve, change-up, eephus, knuckler, Neikro, "K's", The World Series, The National Anthem, "Take me out to the Ballgame", low and away, high and inside, brush-back, bean, bench-clearer, balk, walk, strike-out, hit-by-pitch, cut-off man, rounding third, relaying the throw, making the tag, out at home.

Glove, bat, ball.

Kids.

Put Me In, Coach, I'm ready to play.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Love Thy Neighbor, Even if it is Rush Limbaugh

One of the signs of a mature soul is to be concerned about your enemies.

I don't like Rush Limbaugh. I don't like what he stands for, I don't like his ideas, his scruples or his attitude.

But I hope he recovers from his Oxycontin addiction, because he's a man, a human, an American, and all people deserve to improve their lives and put their past behind them.

If it causes them to make changes in their life - great. I hope he's able to be enough of a man to learn something from the addiction, the recovery, and the legal troubles.

If he doesn't, well that's his fault and his loss.

But caring for others because they're people and not just because you agree with their politics is one thing that makes us human.

To wish for his early death, or trouble in prison, or any of the other things I've heard advocated on other sites - that's unconscionable. And you should be ashamed.

We're trying to help the Iraqis build a new country, by showing them the best things about America and Americans. Why would you expect someone to emulate an American when the examples they see aren't ones of compassion, understanding and forgiveness but scorn, vengeance and hatred?

And if you profess to any Christian values, you'll realize your teacher never scorned, hated or wished revenge, but forgave.

Even if you don't profess to Christian values, those are pretty good lessons from a pretty good teacher.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Friday, October 10, 2003

Um...Never Mind.

Full night of shut-eye opens door to memory

"A study found that sleep apparently restores memories that were lost during a hectic day.

It's not just a matter of sleep recharging the body physically. Researchers say sleep can rescue memories in a biological process of storing and consolidating them deep in the brain's complex circuitry."
I was going to say something really remarkably insightful and interesting about this, but I forgot what I was going to say.....

No Severance For You!

UT trustees rescind Shumaker's severance package

'The University of Tennessee trustees unanimously rescinded a severance package for former President John Shumaker on Friday after a state comptroller's investigation suggested Shumaker violated state law.
Sounds like a coach suspending or dismissing a player from the team who's just been charged with a crime. Not convicted, not even indicted - just charged. While the evidence may be overwhelming, as of now the investigation "suggests" that state law was broken.

'Gov. Phil Bredesen, who's also chairman of the trustees, recommended the board scuttle the severance deal that he helped negotiate.

"Given the fact that I don't believe he was truthful with us, I no longer feel any personal obligation to support the package," Bredesen told the board.'
You think he lied, therefore you're breaking your end of the deal. Why does this sound like Bredesen was planning for something like this all along, and only negotiated the wacky severance deal in the first place to buy time?

'"In misrepresenting his actions, Dr. Shumaker may have violated Tennessee statutes that require public officials to cooperate with auditors and that prohibit tampering with or fabricating official records," the report said.'
Again, "may have violated." Is there something wrong with the judicial system in Tennessee that they can't wait until the case is tried in court? Y'know, legally and stuff?

'The UT Foundation hasn't taken any action on the severance. Jim Haslam, the foundation chairman and a trustee, said all the foundation board members unanimously believed they were "under no legal obligation to pay anything and will not pay."'
Nice to know the board doesn't feel obligated to uphold their ends of deals. Isn't something like a severance package a binding contract - at least in the abstract?

Ok, Shumaker was a rat, and I respect Bredesen - I still believe both those things, but this whole severence package rescindment just smells of something that was hoped for and planned for way back when. Maybe they had real reason to believe Shumaker'd be accused of breaking the law and never believed they'd have to go through with the payment at all. Regardless, demonstrating that state agreements and contracts can be broken at a whim does not settle well. It's not fair, and it's not just. Not in the legal system that I respect.

Walking in Darkness, Looking for the Light

Here's a report on how badly the Reconstruction effort is going in Iraq

I dare someone to fisk this with any degree of authenticity and accuracy, based on multiple eyewitness accounts and not on hearsay.

L. Paul Bremer - Coalition Provisional Authority Administrator - Press Conference Opening Remarks

Sample excerpts:

Note: "6 months ago" does not necessarily mean after the war - in many cases it means before the war, i.e. when Iraw was still under Saddam's control

Six months ago there were no police on duty in Iraq.
  • Today there are over 40,000 police on duty, nearly 7,000 here in Baghdad alone.
  • Last night Coalition Forces and Iraqi police conducted 1,731 joint patrols.
Six months ago there were no functioning courts in Iraq.
  • Today, for the first time in over a generation, the Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.
Six months ago the entire country could generate a bare 300 megawatts of electricity.
  • On Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts—exceeding the pre-war average.
Six months ago nearly all of Iraq’s schools were closed.
  • Today all 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.
During the 1990’s Saddam cut spending on public health by over 90 percent with predictable results for the lives of his citizens.
  • Today we have increased public health spending to over 26 times what it was under Saddam.
  • Today all 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.
  • Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.
  • Since liberation we have administered over 22 million vaccination doses to Iraq’s children.
Six months ago there was no freedom of expression. Satellite dishes were illegal. Foreign journalists came on 10-day visas and paid mandatory and extortionate fees to the Ministry of Information for “minders” and other government spies.
  • Today there is no Ministry of Information.
  • Today there are more than 170 newspapers.
  • Today foreign journalists and everyone else are free to come and go.
Six months ago Iraq had not one single element—legislative, judicial or executive-- of a representative government.
  • Today in Iraq chambers of commerce, business, school and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country.
We are also aware that the progress we have made is only a beginning. A quarter century of negligence, cronyism and war mongering have devastated this country. Such profound damage cannot be repaired overnight.
Could all these things be happening with active resistance from most Iraqi citizens? No. Could all these things be happening without at least the tacit support of most Iraqi citizens? Again, no.

Attacks are happening, yes. Terrorists and Ba'ath-controlled militants are still resisting, yes. But they do not, nor did they ever, represent the people of Iraq. For every serviceman killed, he or she has likely traded their life for dozens of civilians who would have been killed for actually thinking or acting incorrectly.

There's an old story - a soldier is in a raft with a civilian. There's only enough food in the raft for one person - is it the soldier's responsibility to give up his or her life to "save" the civilian, or does he or she take the chance on living in order that they might stay alive to "save" dozens or even hundreds down the road. What's the soldier's responsibility?

One answer is that it's their sworn job to protect the people they've been assigned to protect. That if they can't - or are not willing - to protect one, then they can't do that job for many. Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one? It's a goofy old sci-fi quote, but it's a relevant question. Do the needs of the one outweigh the possible needs of the many?

By staying to protect the people of Iraq, and show what kindness, justice and democracy are all about - even at the sacrifice of soldier's lives - we are showing them one possible answer to that question.

"For the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light..."

Hat tip to Simmins by way of Sofia Sideshow

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Recall Redux

My one and only post regarding the California election. Ready for it? Here it is - don't blink or you'll miss it:

This time next year the gears will be in motion for an Arnold recall.

Bank on it - it will be going.

Hey, I'm 3 wins away from the Cubs prediction coming true! Wait'll you hear my prediction on the Volunteers season: 4-1 by 10/10. Mark it down - ooooh, he's good ;)

Thank you

Brainyboy does not have pneumonia. Just a funky viral infection....

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Bad Ad! Bad Ad!

SayUncle has some advice for Knox County parents protesting a suggestive perfume ad appearing in Seventeen magazines currently available in local school libraries: Get over it.

Some Knox County folks with no sense of humor are upset about ads for French Connection United Kingdom:

A group of Tennessee parents are livid about a teen magazine ad for a company known for its provocative acronym, FCUK. Clothing store company French Connection United Kingdom ran an ad for one of its perfumes in Seventeen magazine, which is available at several Knox County public school libraries in Knoxville, Tenn.

Some parents were so outraged that they complained to school officials, prompting at least a dozen schools to review all their magazine subscriptions.
First of all, you're correct - pressuring schools to cancel subscriptions without process is not the right way to deal with it. Like boycotts, all this harms is innocent rank and file employees - in this case the employees of magazine publishing industries.

However, there's nothing wrong with parents being comfortable with what magazines their kids are exposed to in schools, and expecting the schools to be able to justify the decisions on what magazines they subscribe to. If they carry "Seventeen" and not, say, "National Geographic" or "Discover" then there's a disconnect somewhere....

Hate to break this to you guys, but kids are exposed to stuff at every turn (cable, billboards, the internet) so it is up to you parental types to deal with it.
Well, at least they are dealing with it - better than ignoring the problem altogether. If you intend "deal with it" to mean "get over it," then, no - not when children are concerned.

I understand most of you can't deal with that and have to blame magazines, libraries, and crappy perfume. Take care of your own mess.
They are trying to do something about a bad message being presented to their kids. If you understand the whole story of the ad, it's not just the acronym that's objectionable but the fact that there's a photo of an obviously teenage boy and girl in various stages of undress, sitting next to each other on a bed. The word FCUK is printed below them, with a caption explaining that the kids were "Scent to Bed."

Nice.

It's simply the wrong image to send to a teen - and the fact that they're confronted with these images from all sides, as you say, is exactly why a stand needs to be made. They are "dealing with it", and "taking care of their own mess".

Yes, the tactics need to be refined. But the will is there and the recognition of the bad message is there and that's a positive thing.

Example of what not to do:

Minnesota (St. Paul) Group Plans Boycott Over FCUK Brand

"A parents' group based in St. Paul is threatening a boycott of Target Corp. and its Marshall Field's stores unless the company stops carrying the controversial line of clothing and fragrances.
C'mon, people. It's not Target's fault, it's not Marshall Fields' fault. There's probably nothing wrong with the product itself - it's just perfume for goodness sake. This is not where to apply the pressure, and the only thing that might possibly succeed is that Target and Marshall Fields rank and file minimum-wage employees get their hours cut. Yeah, that's progress.

In another article, there's good and bad at the same time:

Kaufmann's pulls racy fragrance ads - 50 stores in four states respond as customers turn up noses at displays

The Good:
The department store chain also will stop mailing racy advertising circulars that feature the scent, but Kaufmann's stores will keep selling it, said Robin Reibel, a spokeswoman for the Boston-based retailer.

"We are sensitive to our customers' comments,'' Reibel said.

Kaufmann's said it received numerous calls complaining about the signs, displays and advertising inserts. The complaints intensified after Akron Beacon Journal business reporter Mary Ethridge discussed the fragrance in her Mad Shopper column Friday.

(...)

Karyn Halpern of Akron said she's thrilled the department-store chain has decided to stop advertising the perfume.

"I got the flier in the mail, and I thought, `Where are their brains?' '' she said from her Akron home.

"I think they have to be responsible for what they put on display and what they sent out to people's homes,'' Halpern added.

(...)

"If they want to sell it, that's fine. But those big signs aren't necessary,'' [father of 3 Brian] Keel said.
The Bad:
Eva Buhite of Wadsworth said just selling it is going too far.

The grandmother said she canceled a subscription to a teen magazine that runs FCUK ads. Next on her list is a boycott of Kaufmann's for selling the perfume.

"They really hurt themselves big time by doing this,'' she said. ``If my granddaughters go in there and I see it, I'd probably stand there and bust every bottle.''
Some people get it and some people don't.

Panic

My son lost another of his baby teeth last night. It's old dad's job to, ahem, you know...do the that silver- dollar thing that dads do. Except in our house it's Gold Sacajawea dollars. Anyway, BrainyBoy (v7.6) has lost about seven baby teeth so far, and once again it was my responsibility to, um, do that thing. He put the tooth in a Ziplock bag and put it under his pillow, and went fast asleep.

I stayed up to watch some of the Colts-Bucs game, then went to bed.

Notice what's left out of that sequence of events?

This morning, GiggleGirl wanders into our bedroom about 6:30, starts chatting with my wife. I roll over and lightning strikes me right between the eyes.

I FORGOT !!!!

I leap out of bed, struggle to extract myself from the covers - my wife's dumfounded at my antics and is worried something's really wrong - I say, "Tooth! tooth!" and make vague gestures toward BrainyBoy's room and downstairs where the coins are stored. Since GiggleGirl was in the room, I couldn't actually say anything, I just made odd noises and movements for a moment, and fled.

"He's already awake - his sister's been talking to him" I hear from my wife behind me...

I then hear movement from BrainyBoy's room - he's moving around, rattling the rails of his bunk bed.

Hurry!! Down the stairs, to the kitchen - open the cabinet, pull out a coin from the secret hiding place, rush back up the stairs....

*Creak* *Rattle*as he climbs down the bunk bed ladder. I walk nonchalantly toward his room, expecting any moment to hear a cry of dismay as he checks under his pillow...

Nothing so far - I am cautiously hopeful.

We pass in the hall. "Morning, Fred." "Morning, Ralph."

He ambles toward our bedroom. I nonchalantly continue toward his as if I do this every morning. Which I don't - I'm usually still catching a couple more z's.

Into his room, around the bed, grab the Ziplock bag - drop the coin in, fumble inside for the tooth - there it is! Replace bag - no time to Ziplock it back up! Walk calmly out of the room back down the hall. I have the tooth in my hand - no pockets in a pair of boxers - and peacefully set it up on the top of my computer desk, out of sight, to put away later.

Back in my bedroom, back into the bed. The kids are there watching TV, my wife's getting up to take a shower. I plop back in the bed. My wife looks at me from the door to the bathroom - I give her the "OK" sign.

A few calm minutes later, I ask him, "Hey, don't forget about your tooth..."

BrainyBoy (eyes on TV): "Yeah, I know. I'll check it later..."

Breathe, Barry, breathe...

Monday, October 06, 2003

Blatant Discrimination?

Ashe: KUB needs black woman

"Two men interested in a vacancy on the KUB board of commissioners have withdrawn after receiving a letter from Mayor Victor Ashe that he intends to appoint a woman. The woman is likely to be black, he said.

The term of Gloria Ray, KUB chairwoman, is expiring. While the mayor has told Ray he intends to replace her, she's applied for another seven-year term.

(...)

The mayor said the reason to replace Ray is "so more persons may serve." He also wants to replace a woman with a woman "because if a man is named then there would only be one woman serving on this important board which sets the tax rate for water, gas and electricity as well as manage this vital system," he said in his letter.

Ashe said he sent the letter to all those he identified as "having a male name." Of 27 applicants, that would appear to be 16.
All right, if I were hiring for a new assistant, and I made it public that I was only hiring a woman and that males need not apply - not only do am I not going to hire a male, I'm not going to hire a white female. And apparently, I'm proud of this fact, in the name of "diversity".

How is this not a major discrimination, Equal-Opportunity Employer, lawsuit-waiting-to-happen kind of story???

I know Ashe has had a long-standing feud with Gloria Ray (who hasn't he had a long-standing feud with? Oh yeah, Jack Sharp.) and makes no bones about the fact he's not going to hire her back, but should a lame-duck mayor ethically make this important a hire in his last months in office? What's to prevent Haslam from reversing whatever decision Ashe makes the moment he takes office (besides the obvious)?

I can't see anyone in the private sector making this kind of announcement and getting away with it.

One more thing, I respect Georgianna Vines as much as I understand the politics she writes about (which isn't a lot, but she helps make it a little more understandable), but am I the only one left uncomfortable referring to black people with the single noun "black"? To quote:

"When Ashe took office, there was one woman and one black on the board. During his four terms, three women have served at the same time while at the moment there are two. There is one black man.
Notice she uses the noun "black" to refer to a mamber of the board. Later in the same paragraph, she uses "black" as an adjective, i.e. a descriptor - a "black" man.

Am I a "white"? No, I would consider that a bit demeaning and separating. I'm not defined by my skin color, rather it's a descriptive part of me. Do we refer to Native Americans as "reds"? Of course not.

While I don't think Vines meant any harm, I believe it's a colloquial hanger-on from times past that just hasn't quite evolved its way out of the vernaculer yet. I remember my grandmother referring to them as the "blacks", but don't hear it much anymore - especially from people under 30.

It's an expression that needs to die out, and soon.

The Case Of Encyclopedia Brown's Mangled Corpse

This is just sad and tragic....

Idaville Detective 'Encyclopedia Brown' Found Dead in Library Dumpster

'Police discovered Brown's badly beaten, nearly decapitated body after the detective failed to respond to routine radio check-in calls. Pages from Brown's battered casebook, which contained such cryptic entries as "Whales are mammals, not fish," and "Dinosaurs and cavemen did not live at the same time," were found stuffed in the detective's mouth.'
It's rumored that famous Bayport detectives Frank and Joe Hardy are headed to Idaville to investigate this dastardly crime.

Cubs Win! Again!

The Atlanta Braves are my favorite team, but this is the year of the Cubby...

I remind everyone again of my opening day prediction - Cubs in the Series.

All they need is four measly wins against the Marlins, and they're in the Series.

Now, almost as important: the Red Sox are a win away from playing the Yankees for the AL crown. Could we have a Cubs/Red Sox World Series??????????

Armageddon. Yikes, better start stocking up on canned goods and duct tape again...

Friday, October 03, 2003

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Volunteer Tailgate Party - Vol. XII

Brian at Resonance has the latest Volunteer Tailgate Party, a bi-weekly compilation of the best and brightest blatherings of the Rocky Top Brigade.

I didn't submit anything in this one since blogging's been light due to my occasional absences, but read the rest!

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Conversations

(Myself and GiggleGirl, sitting in traffic waiting on a train to pass)

Me: C'mon, train....let's go!

Gigglegirl: Yeah, c'mon train! Move it!

(A few minutes of fruitless waiting)

Gigglegirl: C'mon train - hurry and get out of our way, or I'll kick your butt!!

(Pause of incredulous silence)

Me: What did you say???

Gigglegirl: mumblemumble

Me: What did you just say??

Gigglegirl: getoutofthewayorI'llkickyourbutt...

Me: E, I don't want to hear you saying that, you know that. That's not nice...

Gigglegirl: Ok....

Me: Ok.

(A sad, secret part of me wanted desparately for her to say, "or you'll kick my butt", after which I would have recovered from apoplectic fits of laughter I would've had the greatest blog ending ever. But alas, I see she needs more instruction in the snappy comeback. Gotta work on that.)

(Oh, and establishing that trains do not in fact have butts. They have a caboose (at least some of them do). Now if she'd said "I'll kick your caboose!" that would have lived in the Halls of Fame for many generations to come.)