July 21st, 2006

Keep Walking

T.G.I.F. (tm)

It's Friday! Ho-ray! With the state of the world, we need more weekends and lots more liquor! Chaz' soapbox of gloom and doom is below. But, all is not lost! The Boston Bears are hosting an out-of-town Bear Barnight at Hobo's in Salisbury Beach! If you are a reader of my blog and are there, please come up and say hello!

For party details, see the Boston Bears LiveJournal Community at http://community.bostonbears.us

Want to hang out with me? Check Where's Chaz (http://where.chazhome.com/) today!

As seen on Slashdot:

President Bush Blocks NSA Wireless Tapping Probe

By denying security clearance to federal attorneys from the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) seeking to gather evidence in the NSA illegal surveillance scandal, President Bush has effectively blocked the Justice Department's investigation into the matter of who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place. The president is apparently able to strictly control who does and does not have security clearance to examine documents regarding the program, citing that giving more people access would endanger national security. His denial is the first of its kind in American history. To quote the article, 'Since its creation some 31 years ago, OPR has conducted many highly sensitive investigations involving Executive Branch programs and has obtained access to information classified at the highest levels,' chief lawyer H. Marshall Jarrett wrote in a memorandum released Tuesday. 'In all those years, OPR has never been prevented from initiating or pursuing an investigation.'

... big surprise there! NOT!!

Tick tock, Tick tock...

Once upon a time, the "Doomsday Clock" was a big concern by a lot of people, but we all turned a blind eye when the U.S.S.R. became the Russian Federation and the cold war fizzled. Since 1991, we've been creeping back up towards midnight -- and with the latest actions in the Middle East, compounded with what was already going on in the region, I wonder what the clock looks like now...

Could it be Thirty miliseconds to midnight?
1991 ... Seventeen minutes to midnight
1995 ... Fourteen minutes to midnight
1998 ... Nine minutes to midnight
2002 ... Seven minutes to midnight

I used to be terrified of nuclear war when I was a child, nowadays it's like -- let's just get it over with and start society over. We're all pretty fucked up, and it does not look like it's going to get any better. When Bush was re-elected, the last remains of hope I held that the United States could "catch up" with the civilized world vanished.

Would the last one to leave the planet, please turn out the lights please?

“And this is how the world ends,
Not with a bang but with a whimper.”
- The Hollow Men - T.S. Eliot

"Mine is the last voice you will ever hear. Do not be alarmed."
- Frankie Goes to Hollywood - "Two Tribes"

Keep Walking

Snakes on a Plane redux and Who are your real friends?

A number of folks who replied to my Snakes on a Plane blog entry are really looking forward to this movie! I'm really stunned to see this. There hasn't been a heck of a lot of commentary to support the votes it's getting though... here's your chance to vote, if you haven't alreday!

This is a movie I wouldn't even want to watch for free! -- is ANYONE going to actually pay to watch this silly movie? Convince me it's worth it! Take my poll here!

Who are your real friends??

The question is: "How can you tell who your real friends are? Is it alright to test your friends friendship? What is a definitive way to test friendship?"

A suggestion, offered at http://www.teenadviceonline.org/archive/16868.html says:
"Testing" your friends wouldn't be a preferable idea. Though, you can ask yourself some questions to clear up who your real friends are and who are not. Usually it just depends on your point of view, but some general questions can get you thinking ;;

1. Can you see this friend(s) being there for you whenever you are in need of help? Can you see yourself calling them randomly with a problem and just talking it out?

2. Do you have respect for this person, and in light of that, do they have equal respect for you? (if they tease you/make fun of you constantly/ditch you/talk behind your back, then the definite answer is 'no.')

3. Does this person accept you for who you are? (if you have 'changed' for this person, or have 'become a new person' in order to satisfy your friends, then the answer is yes, which is a negative aspect.)

4. Do you feel controlled/manipulated/ or feel like they take advantage of you? (if yes, then this is negative, too).

These are pretty extreme questions, but it seems to me that a lot of friendship-relationships have one of these aspects in them that is breaking the friendship down.

Do you think friendship is something that should be "put to this challenge?"

If you look at your LiveJournal "friends list", what can be said to this end? Do you even KNOW half of the people in your list?

Do you have a "best friend?" If so, what makes them your best friend?

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Keep Walking

Penis Lost & unrelated 90mph Car Chase in Rochester

Drunk wins bet, loses penis...

AFP - July 21, 2006 - 10:04AM

A man who cut off his own penis in a drunken bet had it stitched back on by Latvian doctors, the first such operation in the country's history.

While heavily under the influence of alcohol, the 30-year-old made a bet with his friend for 1000 lats ($2360) that he would cut off his penis, according to a Latvian public television report.

He was brought to hospital bleeding severely yesterday.

"We have had a few cases with penis traumas, when it was half-cut or damaged, but this is the first time that it was totally cut off - and brought to hospital in a plastic bag," said microsurgeon Aivars Tihonovs from Gailezers hospital in the Latvian capital, Riga.

The operation lasted three and a half hours as doctors had to sew six nerves back together, according to media reports. "The first operation of this kind in the world was carried out in 1977, and it is still very rare," Tihonovs said, adding that such surgery was sometimes needed after bomb explosions.

The surgeon said that he was proud of his work but also "really angry that he (the patient) did it to himself".

Doctors said that it would take four or five days to assess if the operation was successful. It would take about half a year to be sure that the man's penis was functioning properly.

... meanwhile, and back in Rochester, New York ...

'I'm an idiot,' says suspect in 90 mph chase

Patrick Flanigan and Greg Livadas
Staff writers Democrat and Chronicle

(July 21, 2006) — A Greece man who led police on a chase Thursday that reached 90 mph — briefly going the wrong way on Route 590 in Irondequoit — expressed remorse at his arraignment hours later.

"I'm stupid. I'm an idiot," said William Mellema, 41, handcuffed in Irondequoit Town Court.

"There's no argument from anybody here," said Irondequoit Town Justice Joseph Genier.

Mellema, who said he's living with his parents on Almay Lane, was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, criminal contempt, aggravated unlicensed operation and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property as well traffic violations.

Genier ordered Mellema held on $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond pending a yet-to-be scheduled preliminary hearing.

State Police Investigator Tracy Cass said Trooper Scott Stenclik attempted to stop a car with an expired inspection sticker on 590 near Browncroft Boulevard around noon; the driver continued, speeding north toward Sea Breeze.

The State Police Department's pursuit policy enables troopers to chase any driver who fails to the signal to pull over. Chases are monitored by supervisors, who can end the chase if conditions become too dangerous.

Once in Sea Breeze, the vehicle reversed course and headed south in the southbound lane, but then crossed to the northbound lane. The driver stopped the car on Sunrise Crescent, just south of Titus Avenue, and fled on foot into the woods. He was caught by Irondequoit police.

Wearing a T-shirt, shorts and socks with his handcuffs, Mellema appeared in court with his left leg bandaged following an unexplained hospital visit after his arrest.

Although he wasn't asked, Mellema explained his actions to Genier. Mellema said he was driving a 1993 Saturn from Lakeville in Livingston County to get it inspected when a trooper tried to pull him over, presumably for the uninspected vehicle.

"I got scared and I ran," he said.

Mellema said he only veered into the oncoming lane after police attempted to stop his car with a spike strip that would have deflated his tires.

Troopers said Mellema's estranged wife, Lucille, was a passenger in the car. The contempt charge alleges that Mellema ignored her pleas to pull over for the police. Mellema has an order of protection from Livingston County that prohibits him from endangering his estranged wife's safety, Cass said.

The stolen property charge stemmed from license plates that had been reported stolen in Rochester on Wednesday.

"I got the plates from a friend," Mellema told the judge. "I paid for them, too."

Mellema, who apologized to Genier for his actions, said he suffered from epilepsy, which might explain his behavior.

"I apologized 100 times for making them run," he said. "I don't know what makes me do stupid things. I'm just glad I didn't hurt anybody. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I did."

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