Discredited: Microwaving Food in Plastic Does Not Cause Cancer

A long time ago, an old friend gave me a tongue lashing for heating up food on a plastic plate in the microwave. Let me add, this friend practically lives on the Internet.

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.com"Never ever never use plastic to heat up food in the microwave," she admonished. The proverbial they have conducted medical studies, she continued, "proving microwave rays release carcinogens into your food which is very very bad."

Yikes, I thought.**Gasp** Cancer.

I did my own research, diligently searching for appropriate articles. When the bulk of information seemed to confirm my friend’s admonishment, I decided to leap on the bandwagon. Scrupulously adhering to the prohibition against mixing food and plastic, preventing members of my immediate family from engaging in this seemingly innocent but dangerous practice, I bowed to the wisdom of the proverbial they. After all, they would know, wouldn’t they? These people must be experts if they’re conducting studies about such things. I vaguely recall my husband being extremely dubious, but eventually dropping the debate when he couldn’t cite any source of conflicting information. That’ll teach him for lacking the gift of automatic recall.

Well, today my husband is vindicated. According to Vaness Wasta, public relations officer for premier medical facility and Baltimore jewel, Johns Hopkins Hospital, I am neurotic. Only a neurotic person could believe a myth like the one about microwaved plastic. "Most people who come to us, looking to validate [the myth about microwaved plastic causing cancer], are skeptical of it," said Ms. Wasta. "But there are people who by nature are pretty neurotic and actually believe it."

Excuse me? Neurotic? I think not. Gullible maybe, but neurotic, no way. The more I blog, the more I realize how much disinformation is out there. It’s mind blowing, really. In the past, I certainly believed more of what I read on the Internet, but in my defense, even Snopes isn’t infallible.

Ms. Wasta, and I quote, says, "You think maybe older people are more gullible than younger people, but you find that younger people have grown up with the Internet, and it may be more difficult for them to figure out what a reliable source is." I guess I’ll just have to stop hanging around those younger people. They’re such a bad influence. For once, baby boomers rock.

As it turns out, microwaving food in plastic containers, or probably anything plastic does not cause cancer. Just another "myth from the Internet ooze," pronounces the local rag. As an aside, the local rag lately appears much more impressive. Less bias, better investigative reporting, better columnists. The shake up in their editorial staff seems to be paying off. I’m not ready to jump the fence completely, but if their publication continues this trend towards journalistic integrity, I may have to stop referring to it as "the local rag."

The article also debunks the Mayo Clinic myth concerning the egg, meat, and grapefruit diet, as well as the Harvard Medical School myth about cash for human testicles. Good to know. I don’t recall reading viral e-mails on these subjects. Then again, I delete anything that slips into my inbox without a proper subject heading.

New Networking Site Says "Paid for Page Views"

I love Facebook. Clean. Intelligent. Active. Plenty of free applications. I see so much good content there. The networking possibilities are endless. Never had time for MySpace, mainly because it would require too much effort to get noticed. I'd rather blog.

Someone else liked the idea behind Facebook and MySpace and decided to tweak it times ten. It's still in Beta, but already, word is making its way around the Internet. The idea behind Yuwie is to pay people for the same thing they do on Facebook or MySpace. Then The Y Guy and company pimped the concept one step further. Members get paid for using the site AND for content they create when it is viewed by other members.

The concept is pretty simple actually. Yuwie pays for page views. How much they will pay depends upon their own advertising revenue and how many times you view content and get other members to view your content. If you don't plan on viewing any content yourself, you can still get paid. In theory. Kinda cool.

Pretty soon, everyone online will migrate over there just to see if they can really get paid, and then you'll start to see articles about whether people are really getting paid. Until then, it's anyone's guess, so I figured, why not?

I've got nothing better to do than chase rainbows.

Anyone who wants to join me in this experiment, feel free. I will answer any comments posted here if you have questions or just want to spew.

Traffic Tricks for Desperate Bloggers

I love this. Desperate Bloggers. No one dropping by, not to browse, not to have coffee, not even friends who might otherwise leave comments. What does it take to get noticed in this racket?

Well, according to one blogger, all it takes is the following bit of creativity:

"A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article on this website with a sentence in it that contained these three web addresses: www.sex.com www.religion.com and www.hell.com. Now look at the effect in our web log"

About a hundred tracked URLs followed that post.

Hmmmm. The idea gave me cause for pause. So, starting today, I've installed a site tracker. No muss no fuss. Just a bit of code. I'd like to see whether three URLs actually can increase traffic. If it does, great. At least I'll know people with a proclivity toward deviance are alive and well and searching for blogs. If not, ah well, it was worth a shot.

All I have to lose is my dignity, right?

Downy Ocean Vacay

In about three hours, the girls and I are leaving for a trip downy ocean. In Baltimorese, that means we are headed to Ocean City, Maryland for a little sun and surf. Don't know where we'll stay, but do intend to relax and soak up those waves, hon. In the meantime, the ginner's cage needs changing and there is still a load of laundry in the dryer. Gotta get some shut eye before it is time to beat the heat. Monday morning traffic makes me nauseous.

Who knows? Might just make an entry for this Francis Scott Key Family Resort video contest. The batteries in my digital better be juiced for this one. Last time I tried to take pictures, they died right in the middle of the shoot.

Enjoy the updated features while I am gone. I tried to leave enough to entertain through Tuesday.

Also, through October 31, 2007, vacationers can win a thousand bucks, a week's stay at The Francis Scott Key Family Resort, and some other fancy bling just by submitting their own video of a great vacation in O.C. There are some contest rules, like the video must be under two minutes, but other than niggly details, this looks like something I might want to enter.

Click here for more details.

Chris Makepeace

Chris Makepeace is a former child star best known for his role in the 1980 high school drama, My Bodyguard. Makepeace was born on April 22, 1964 in Montreal, Quebec. Makepeace's acting career began a role in a 1974 Canadian television special, The Ottawa Valley. Five years later, in 1979, he was cast in the comedy, Meatballs, in which he starred opposite Bill Murray, playing one of the teenage

Blogger Mistakes and Other Misfortunes

On a positive note, The Spewker has a new look. It only took the entire day to design. I'm ready to call it a night.

...they're coming to take me away ha ha they're coming to take me away ha ha ho ho hee hee ha hah to the funny farm...Warning to the blogging unwary. Before spending gobs of time and effort adding content, better spend time perfecting your site design. I feel like I lost an entire month due to stupid mistakes and my inability to recognize them. It's not as if blogging comes with instructions. Luckily, I realized the error of my ways. Now perhaps, I can get back on track.

For some reason, my site feed wouldn't burn content, and as all good bloggers know, without a working site feed, one might as well pack up and go home. Not only that, the tiny little handful of subscribers I had so carefully culled dropped out of sight. Guess I should have subscribed to the medic blog of Feedburner. Let this be a lesson to everyone out there who may be even more clueless. Your blog will slip into obscurity without a properly working feed.

Please come back little subscribers. I promise to treat you oh so nicely this time around.

On a less than positive note, today I discovered that The Spewker had slipped so far down in the search engine ratings, not even ReviewMe would let me sign up. Perhaps that had something to do with my site's lack of meta tags and other such misfortunes. Listen. I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to site design, okay? All I know is that I like to rant and poke fun at stuff. Does that make me a bad person?

Don't answer that.

Anyway, I'm tired and the hour is late (or early, depending on the point of view). I had such high hopes of accomplishing so much today. Unfortunately, none of it ever materialized. Here's hoping that the upcoming month of September sees an increase in visibility and readership.

Jenna Elfman is Hilarious

Here is a video of Jenna Elfman playing basketball with some guys and using the "pregnant" woman card to wreak havoc amongst them. Very Funny!

Mama Jams with Jenna Elfman

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

Publication Fails to Accurately Examine PETA Protesters

Sex sells. Just ask The Examiner, newfangled competitor of the local rag trying its darnedest to get noticed in an already overcrowded field of tabloid journals. Today’s edition, page 4, certainly grabbed my attention, but not for obvious reasons.

PETA protester in foreign KFC gains attentionYesterday, PETA members, Ashley Byrne and Shawn Herbold, apparently having nothing better to do, decided to picket a KFC on West North Avenue. Looking much like the fetching young lass pictured here, they drew curious inquiries from local police and rubbernecking from passing motorists. The article didn’t bother to explain why PETA is claiming KFC tortures chickens, but investigative journalism has never been The Examiner’s forte. The editors must have thought it would be enough to report the event and move on.

They thought wrong.

The overexposed picture and accompanying story proclaims, “Protesters Bare All” and “The Naked Truth.” Reporter, Kelly Carson, describes the two ladies as “nude protesters.” However, one astute reader quickly pointed out that the women wore pasties, underwear, and high-heeled shoes. They could not be “nude” as reported because they covered the private areas of their bodies with accepted articles of clothing.

Hmmm. The last time I looked in the dictionary, nude was defined as “naked or unclothed.” These rabblerousers were neither. Therefore, I have to agree with astute reader. The description of them as ”nude” was inaccurate and/or misleading. One would hope not to find such carelessness in a publication seeking regional recognition, but there is such a long list of things one would not hope to find, why quibble here?

I’ll tell you why. Journalists have a moral duty and ethical obligation to report just the facts, not their personal opinions. They are supposed to be held to a higher standard. Unless Carson meant to include a snide reference to their teeth, these women did not in fact “bare all.” I have no problem with the use of “The Naked Truth,” a reference to their protest banner, as a subheading for the article, but don’t expect me to believe they were actually nude.

Sexy or not, the real story was whether KFC tortures poultry before serving it up hot and spicy or with a blend of seven secret ingredients. Today, The Examiner had a chance to truly distinguish itself from the local rag. On this account, it failed miserably.

The Future for "Premonition" is Bleak

I just finished watching the movie, Premonition, starring one of my favorite actresses, Sandra Bullock. A riveting premise taking a wrong turn down to the place of no return.

Get off at the nearest exit.

I don’t know who is more responsible for this clunker, the writer or the director. My bet is on the latter. I don’t care if he and Sandy shared little German moments on location, this movie did not gel.

For starters, which part is the premonition and which part really happened? Don’t just expect the audience to know. Presenting the days out of order is a brilliant disorienting device, but the plot still has to tie together at the end. Once the progression of days appears illogical, the movie can’t possibly work unless when unfolding sequentially, the days convey some sort of rhyme and reason. Otherwise, the audience is left with a “Huh?” or their lips, kernels of popcorn in their teeth, and nothing to write home about.

Second, like an unwrapped present accidentally discovered in a closet recess, Premonition never delivered the goods. Even after watching the bonus features, I couldn’t understand why on Thursday, Sandy couldn’t remember how her kid cut her face on Tuesday, and to add insult to injury, got carted away for it on Saturday. Even if her character suffered a complete mental breakdown, the two girls should have remembered how the accident occurred and told their story to the men in little white coats, or at the very least, to their grandmother.

Third, I cannot stand when music is purposefully injected into a film to manipulate the audience. Over the years, I have grown immune to such cheap ploys. Cut the violin from the shower scenes. It doesn’t work. Ditto the long pauses. Sandy looked ridiculous. Two seconds – at most – is long enough for the meaning behind her wonderfully expressive facial features to register in the minds of village idiots.

As the plot became more intense, the movie simply spiraled out of control. Loose ends hung so miserably, someone ordered an alternate ending. The original ending must not have tested well in California, because the alternate ending became the real one in theatres. How sad.

Both endings were such a disappointment no matter how many ways sliced. Here I thought the plot was working its way toward something very powerful, like the pay off in The Sixth Sense, but it never materialized.

While lamenting the choice of directors in this film, I came up with my own alternate ending, one I believe works much better with the disorienting technique, and which makes much more sense to the plot. Get this. Her daughters die with their father in the horrific crash, but this is too traumatic for Sandy to process, so she continues to imagine them alive. At the outset, we see she has grown disoriented. Like Nicole Kidman in The Others, she can’t come to grips with her misfortune. As she works with the shrink, the painful memories come flooding back. She cannot forgive herself for failing to recognize the signs of her daughters’ death in her premonition, only that of her husband. In the end, she becomes insane.

Movies like this are largely responsible for my decision to rent most movies rather than pay obscene amounts of money in theatres. My alternative was to find a job as a full-time movie critic, but I probably would have quit after a few weeks. Love the thought of being paid to watch movies; cannot imagine the torture involved in reviewing turkeys like this.

Thankfully, Sandy was in just about every scene or the movie would have been unbearable. Ever since Vanished, I have loved that little crinkle in her nose, the little skip in her step, and the way she eyes the camera with those slightly parted lips. Those who croon, “But you’re married,” please simmer down. I’m merely praising the woman, not wooing her.

Finally, the last outtake in the bonus features blooper reel is hysterical. If anything, rent the DVD just to see that.

The rest of this flick you can throw in the shower.

Joyful Life

Jason V. from Brazil has sent me two photos of work done by Stanley of STATTOO in Minas Gerais.

The first one was just three characters thrown together, but the second one was terrible:


Not only these five characters are randomly thrown together, the second one does not even exist, and fourth one is upside down!

Amber's Tattoo from Big Brother 8

I don't watch reality television shows, therefore I have no idea who Amber is. Apparently she is one of the house guests in Big Brother 8.

HS reader & Big Brother 8 watcher Jenn G. emailed me this screen shot of Amber's tattoo,

According to Jenn G., in one of the previous episodes, Amber claimed her tattoos are:


If anyone has seen the particular episode, please confirm if Amber has made such claim.

Bloggers Will Help Shape Election 2008

I am blogger, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore.

No, I am not just parroting Helen Reddy.

Without a doubt, 2008 has the greatest potential to go down in history as the year Netroots slammed a monkey wrench in the mainstream political machinery. Wherever I look, bloggers are taking names and kicking patooty.

Just look at this clip from the YearlyKos Convention. A liberal cache of bloggers utilizing name recognition from DailyKos managed to secure the attendance of top Democratic leaders as well as presidential candidates. The convention’s panel rivaled anything coming out of today’s Iowa debate. In contrast, CNN has yet to secure commitments for its YouTube Republican forum (major Republican candidates are still on the fence).

Is this a great country, or what? Anyone with an opinion and a keyboard can join the media elite to help shape the course of America.

Ellen Goodman and Bill O’Reilly are two recent examples of national newsmakers with ears pinned to the ground. Colleagues who choose to ignore the telltale signs of an encroaching political blogoshpere risk becoming the twenty-first century media dinosaurs. I feel sorry for stalwart journalists unable to see what’s hurtling down the pike. Not.

Like so many other bloggers devoting their time and energy to the Internet, I grew weary and leery of the national news media. I want facts, just the facts, ma’am. If I wanted opinions, I could read editorials. If I wanted to be influenced by American conglomerates, I could read the New York Times. If I wanted sound bytes, I could watch YouTube. I mean, why watch the CBS Evening News when Comedy Central has similar content with better irreverence? It’s all commentary.

Bloggers know America can and will do a better job of story reporting. This nation prospered because freedom played a major role in its development. More and more, however, these freedoms are being curtailed. By the media, by the government, by radical fringe elements on both sides of the political spectrum. It's time to take back America. Serious bloggers are willing to oblige.

These are incredibly exciting times. With the advent of the Internet, Americans can once again participate in a true democracy. We can report information free from hidden agendas. We can try to influence opinion. It’s not a perfect medium, far from it, but at least a large portion of the blogosphere is being penned at the hands of Americans.

Power to the bloggers! Power to a truly free press! In the words of our beloved sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln, "…government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Hopelessly Devoted to HBO's Entourage

Buy from AmazonHands down, Entourage is the sexiest show on television. Ordinary people, rejoice!

Apologies to those who eschew the benefits of cable or prefer to spend money on basic necessities. If you count yourself among the former, the Complete First Two Seasons are currently available on DVD. Me? I’ll continue to quaff this farcical half hour expose of the Hollywood underbelly the old fashion way - via satellite.

I’ve been a huge fan of the show since its 2004 debut. The camera angles create a delicious illusion of being an insider looking in. I am a fly on the immaculately clad shoulder of Mary J. Blige, a penitent congregant shushing Trustfund Baby (Adam Goldberg aka Nick Rubenstein) between prayers, the melting ice quenching lecherous sunbather Jay Lester (Will Sasso), or a diner in the private enclave of studio honcho, Harvey Weingard (Maury Chaykin), eavesdropping a blusterous tirade.

the hottest ride in LASunday night invitations are out. My weekly cruise down Sunset Boulevard is in. The neon soaked view from that exquisite Lincoln Continental gives me reason to dream. It’s Tinseltown on steroids, sun swept scenery as far as the eye can see, commercialism times ten, up close and personal glimpses at real and invented beautiful people. I revel in every made-up minute.

Last Sunday night’s episode "The Young and the Stoned," left me satiated, yet begging for more. Starting with naughty flashes of house porn (I want that house, I want that house now), segueing to E’s bumper locked serendipity with platinum-tressed Anna Faris, rollicking to the sensual friction between Mrs. Ari and her man, a quick wink and a nod for the strong silent bond between Vince and his half-brother, Johnny D., a wince at Turtle’s untimely encounter with the LAPD (all the recent Hollywood arrests made a happy ending unlikely), culminating in the ultimate climax. Mixed skinny dipping overlooking a breathtaking apex after dark. Need I say more? Be still my blasé-riddled heart.

Every recurring character is steamy hot, including everyone’s favorite personal assistant, Lloyd. Don’t listen to those who characterize the show’s spectacular premise as Sex in the City for men. Okay, okay, it’s four good-looking guys who like to hang out together, but that’s where the similarities end.

core cast, from left to right: Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold; Kevin Connolly as E; Adrian Grenier as Vincent Chase; Jerry Ferrara as Turtle; Kevin Dillon as Johnny Drama Vince, Johnny D., Turtle, and E have been BFFs since grade school. They can push each other’s buttons, reminisce about old times, go for the Gold (as in Ari), and still share a breakfast of champions. Yes, they’re riding the coattails of the star with the more meteoric rise, but that doesn’t diminish their individual accomplishments. Coat the main setting in plastic, throw in a smattering of personal growth, and mix with a smidgen of conflict. Voila. Pathos.

That would be enough to hook me (I was a huge fan of Thirtysomething in the 1980s). But Entourage is much more than childhood buddies using a cutthroat agent to dodge the bullets of fame and fortune roulette. Every episode is a stroll down the red carpet, a peek at the seamier side of Rodeo Drive, a dissection of cogs in the showbiz grind. Before Entourage, I got my celebrity fix from pumped up tabloid tales and Internet fan gossip. Rancid. I devoured stories like You’ll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again and The Devil Wore Prada. Needs salt. With Entourage, I get a heaping helping of the good, the bad, and the ugly with a simple flick of my remote. Tasty. Please, sir, I want some more.

My biggest complaint is my own Baltimore skew. It hinders any ability to separate possible reality from outright fiction. For instance, David from the gay nightclub in "Dog Day Afternoon" was not David Faustino (appearing in season one episode two), nor David Milch (Deadwood mega mogul and creator of pilot episode), but rather Jim Holmes, a character actor, writer/producer. His chance romp with the flustered Pivster was hilarious. Mr. Holmes apparently avoids the limelight because he barely registers on the celebrichter scale. Must be tight with some bigwig to snag such a juicy part. Some people have all the luck.

To Doug Ellin, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, and Rob Weiss, thank you for answering the prayers of the superficial. This gratified patron declares Entourage a delectable confection of delight. Now get back to work.

Click for Spewed Videos du Jour.

(This article reprinted with permission of Blogcritics Magazine)

Danny Pintauro

Danny Pintauro (birthname, Daniel John Pintauro) is a former child actor born on January 6, 1976 in Milltown, New Jersey. He began his acting career in the early 1980s on the television soap opera As the World Turns and in the movie Cujo. He later rose to prominence when he played Jonathon Brower on the hit sitcom, Who's The Boss?Who's the Boss was a popular family sitcom in which Tony Danza

Latest from Beck!

Snakes blog reviews this as follows:

The tune is titled 'Timebomb' and it will be available this Monday via iTunes, the single will be released on August 28th for all other digital stores. "The lyric of "Timebomb" echoes some of the dark themes from The Information but is packaged in digital gris gris thunder as only Beck can do it."

We're also told that the track features "a whole gang of studio visitors on back-up vocals." Can't wait!... well you don't have to (for a live ver.) click

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

Bloggers are Not Slackers - They are Virtual Reality Challenged

Has there ever been a time when you have looked at your life and said, "I must be crazy"? I have.


For starters, I am eating left over Chinese for breakfast. I'm supposed to take our youngest child to visit friends up in Philly this morning. Suddenly, I realized I hadn't posted anything on my blog since Monday.

Since Monday!

I think virtual reality assumes one is a slacker when one fails to blog about something every single day. People have said as much to me. If only they knew. No, I am not a slacker. I am incredibly productive. I'm just not doing it where virtual reality can take notice.

I never did finish the article I started Monday evening. Maybe because I was busy doing camp laundry, filling out school forms, going through snail mail, trying to clear out e-mail (still must have 400-500 I haven't touched), and doing my once a month pro bono stint.

Apologies to relatives (and anyone else) who have asked to be friended on Facebook. I haven't logged on in over three weeks. Don't worry. I'll get to it (hopefully soon).

Tuesday came and went in a blur. I must have been trying to go through old magazines, newspapers, and whatever other papyrus had piled up on our dining room table, do the dishes, feed the guinea pig, water the garden, empty the dehumidifier, cook dinner, buy new garbage cans, return the rejected school supplies I purchased while the kids were out of town, yada, yada, yada.

After our middle child arrived home early from almost eight weeks away at a camp, not only did he bring home three large piles of laundry, but a chin with sutures (this is why he came home early) which had to be removed no later than ten, count them, ten days from the time of stitching. For various reasons which I do not have time to go into detail about here, the stitches had to be removed yesterday. Otherwise, I would have to go through life knowing I failed to have my only son's stitches removed within the prescribed time. This could result in all types of awful consequences, don't ask me what.

I thought I was lucky to get an appropriately timed appointment with his pediatrician to have said stitches so removed, but to my dismay, when I arrived five minutes before the scheduled time, I learned their office had mistakenly scheduled our appointment a full hour later.

A full hour later!

If those people expected me to wait around one to two hours (the doctor had other scheduled appointments and the staff wasn't certain she would be able to "fit me in") to have what turned out to be nine stitches (not ten as advised by the doctor in New York) removed from my son's chin, they had another thing coming. Steamed, frustrated, ready to explode. What were my options? Luckily, there is a private care emergency facility up the street. I would probably wait as long as I would in the pediatrician's office, but at least their stupid office wouldn't get my money. We quickly left and, thankfully, the facility up the street took care of everything in about the time we would have started (if lucky) the appointment with the pediatrician. What an ordeal.

Also, the youngest child came home from camp yesterday with her multitudes of laundry. One of her trunks is still sitting in the foyer unpacked. I may get to it by September.

Oh, and the - ahem - brain addled lawyer I'm opposing in a hotly contested case had the unmitigated gall to ask for a postponement on our less than a week away trial without the decency to contact me first. At least have the courtesy to let me know this coming, huh? You better believe that guy was hit with some pre-trial motions. Only took about four hours to draft. Had to get it done on the same day I received his outrageous motion because I'll be in Philly for the rest of the week and don't work on Saturdays. This after spending three to four hours preparing my client for Wednesday's trial. If there is any frivolous case more deserving of an award for attorney fees and costs, this is it.

Did I mention all the time I spent on the telephone trying to speak to an administrator at our children's private school about the draconian changes in their hot lunch program? Nobody bothered to tell the parents they were even considering any changes. Again, not enough time to provide details, but I am plenty peeved. Still haven't spoken to anyone with any power to change anything.

Did I also mention I had to pick up my new glasses? Or make additional doctor appointments and appointment changes for the kids? Or start taking their too small, uncool clothing out of their closets to make room for the new school clothes? Or that I'll never get to Philly by the time I promised our friends because I can't stop writing this article (wow - I'm really on a roll)? Or that last night's Chinese just made a beeline straight down?

No? Well, gotta run.

Oh, and another anniversary for Elvis. Long live The King.

Suri Cruise -- Wow What a Face!

What a great moment caught for posterity -- Suri Cruse at the Berlin zoo.

The magic of discovering the world around you -- guess that never changes! (no matter who your parents are!)

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

Maryland Needs a Little Turkey in the Straw Poll

A recent GOP treasury report indicates Maryland's Republican Party is clinging to life support, its coffers dwindling toward bankruptcy. Apparently, their annual Red White and Blue Dinner didn’t produce necessary funding.

Don’t tell me the minority party pins its financial stability on one annual fundraiser?! No wonder Maryland is dominated by Democrats.

Time for those folks down on Church Circle to study their well endowed brethren in the Hawkeye State. Even with a pitiful turnout of 14,302 (compared to 23,685 in 1999, not to mention the Iowa State Fair same day attendance of 98,207), pundits anticipate last Saturday's straw poll raising about a million smackers for GOP breadbaskets. Not bad for a one day haul on the picturesque grounds of Iowa State. Since 1978, this “political state fair for Republicans” has become the first litmus test measuring campaign strength, organizational abilities, and momentum building of GOP candidates. What more could a state party desire?

Let’s start with top-tiered candidates paying the per person $35.00 admission fee. Not exactly vote buying -- participants are free to vote for the candidate of their choice -- but a pretty hefty price to ensure supporter turnout. That alone could put Maryland Republicans in the black.

Getta loada dat buttahReminds me of these gobs of grease. Freebies littered the straw poll like wads of paper surrounding public waste baskets. Like a big fat butter sculpture in a spraying tent set in front of the University’s Hilton Coliseum, wrapped in free yellow t-shirts, handing out free barbeque from local smoke pits, under a colossal-sized tent with its own performance stage, within eyesight of a free climbing wall and inflatable children’s slide, with a free bus ride to and from the event ... um.... wait a minute. That was Mitt Romney’s campaign. Romney finished first with about 31.6% of all votes cast. Quelle surprise.

Hilton Coliseum is home to each candidate's mock nominating convention. They rally inside, attempting to whip supporters into a political frenzy. Ritzy tent locations like the ones erected closest to the Coliseum run $25,000.00 per, while less desirable spots cost as much as $15,000.00. Now that’s a lot of butter!

Personally, I think former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, actor and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, and Arizona Senator John McCain were wise to skip the event. As the only candidates whose family values wouldn’t pass muster with social and religious conservatives, their financial resources could be better spent. Predictably, Thompson’s absence didn’t stop FredHeads from setting up shop. Despite his undeclared status, Thompson garnered 29 more votes than participating candidate Congressman Duncan Hunter.

Earth to Hunter. When you're beaten by a guy who isn’t even sure he’s going to run, it's time to throw in the towel. Give it up while you can still use the money to campaign for re-election. Ditto, businessman John Cox. Three other candidates who didn’t pay for a tent, a snow cone machine, or admission tickets finished ahead of you. Time to purchase that one-way ticket back to Chicago. At least former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson got the message, admitted defeat, and moved on. Cheer up, Tommy. Senior law partners still have appeal and look great in briefs.

For what it’s worth, here’s how Iowa's non-binding straw poll separated the men from the boys:

1. Mitt Romney – 4,516 votes
2. Mike Huckabee – 2,587 votes
3. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback – 2,192 votes
4. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo – 1,961 votes
5. Texas Congressman Ron Paul – 1,305 votes
6. Tommy Thompson – 1,039 votes
7. Fred Thompson – 203 votes
8. Rudy Giuliani – 183 votes
9. Duncan Hunter – 174 votes
10. John McCain – 101 votes
11. John Cox – 41 votes

Johnny B. Goode got the crowd rockingIn keeping with his Baptist minister roots, Huckabee likened his second place finish to a parable from the New Testament. More likely, the Elvis impersonator rallied Huckabee's support. Rock star appeal is the theme of Election 2008. I'll bet Iowans were also smitten by Huckabee playing bass guitar. As for Tancredo and Paul, those are the real stories. Too bad the national news media didn't give either candidate much attention.

Traditional pundits say the straw poll didn't amount to a hill of beans. Less than 2.5% of active Republicans participated. That’s a huge gap from the number anticipated at Iowa's winter caucuses. According to Dennis Goldford, political science professor at Drake University, "68% of those who voted wanted someone other than Romney, even if they didn’t participate in the event." Stressing the lack of participation by Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and McCain while factoring Romney’s campaign spending along with the amount of family stumping, Romney's win was a Pyrrhic victory. But pundits fail to acknowledge the event's fundraising caliber. It's a clear winner for Republicans. A piece of fat to chew on and that's no beef.

Getting back to Maryland, I'd hate to see the Republican Party tank before 2011. Now that the District of Columbia has scheduled a January primary, there’s nothing stopping Maryland Republicans from planning a summer straw poll of their own. Fear The TurtleUniversity of Maryland's Comcast Center would be the perfect venue. With its "Fear the Turtle" centerpiece positioned outside, Republicans could easily imbue a Maryland straw poll with an electric competitive vibe.

I hope someone is listening. Especially since the Party's annual Red White and Blue Dinner left their cupboards practically bare.

Rob Stone

Rob Stone is an actor who played the character Kevin Owens on the sitcom Mr. Belvedere ,which was originally aired on ABC from 1985-1990. Kevin was the oldest child in the Owens family.Stone was born on September 22, 1962 in Dallas, Texas. He started acting in Dallas doing a lot of theatre at the age 13, primarily at the Dallas Theatre Center. He later attended the University of Southern

Wyatt Steven Crow is Sheryl's Son - Period

Dear Wyatt Steven Crow:

I heard through the grapevine about your birth on Sunday, April 29, 2007. Welcome and congratulations.

I don’t know what they told you in heaven, but planet earth isn’t all that. We’ve got our share of problems. You, on the other hand, have your whole life ahead of you. Just relax and enjoy. Nothing beats having your every whim met, every need satisfied, every desire satiated 24/7. This very well may be the best time of your life.

A most unhappy coupleBefore your arrival, your mom, the very famous, conservation conscious, successful singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow, went through a pretty rough patch. I know all about how she thought she might marry the athlete of her dreams and become an instant stepmother, only to realize she had chosen a self-centered clod. I think that was after her cancer diagnosis, but crafty woman that she is, she probably deluded the press into believing the break-up happened before. No matter. Speculation is pointless and the truth is between her and Mr. Nobody.

I also know about the fizzle of your mom’s biological clock due in part to the pursuit of her career. Please don’t hold that against her. I’d be ecstatic with just half of her career accomplishments. Unfortunately, that kind of success often comes with a price. Women from my generation were told we could have it all: successful careers, beautiful well-adjusted children, and the man of our dreams. Wyatt, I don’t know a lot of women who won this trifecta. Something somewhere had to give. For your mom, it was babies. At least that’s the rumor.

Soon enough, you will learn your talented and beautiful mom is not your birth mother. This is a fact every adopted child has a right to know and as far as I’m concerned, the sooner the better. Personally, I think it’s no big deal, but I must be in the minority. Everywhere I look, the print media is making a point to refer to you as Sheryl Crow’s “adopted baby” or “adopted son.” As if someone had issued an edict from the top down and no one dare disobey.

Research has shown adoption can be an early life stressor causing personality disorders and adjustment difficulties in children, especially boys. Putting aside your status as an adopted child of a famous celebrity, which must certainly increase the probability of future difficulties, it seems to me, Wyatt, that you are especially vulnerable.

That’s why I go medieval whenever I see the media going out of its way to remind everyone you are, in fact, adopted. This constant barrage of labeling must stop. Otherwise, I may blow a gasket. Dear sweet Wyatt, I need your help. First and foremost, please make this book required reading for anyone writing anything about you. I’ll deal with the rest later.

Sheryl craddling young Wyatt Babies are an incredibly special gift and responsibility, wherever they come from. What really matters is how they are raised. As a mother, I can definitively say that your mom has her work cut out for her. Let’s hope that with forty-five years of life experience under her belt, she’s ready to get down and dirty.

I wish you and your family the best of the best. You should only grow to be a fine young man and productive member of society. Never forget, you were chosen. That’s more than a lot of us can say.

Sincerely Yours,

Cheryl Snyder Taragin

P.S. Tell your mom I still intend to use as much toilet paper as necessary, although I appreciate her earnest attempt to stop global warming.

P.S.S. Tell your mom it’s spelled with a “C.”

TV Fans Mega Quiz Me

Brain Drain Wow! Look what I found. Not much effort either. Big TV fan? Think you know it all? Check these out. There's something here for everyone.

Hillary Clinton Must Not Be Named

So, there I am at a big family dinner, stuffing my face with prime rib and tender baby asparagus, enjoying a little table wine and some pleasant conversation, when out of left field, a relative of a relative matter-of-factly turns to me and asks, “Who do you like for President?”

Who do I like for President? Must I think about something so serious when I’m having so much fun? Besides, isn’t the 2008 election more than a year away?

Apparently, while I’ve been milking the dog days of summer for every last lazy bit, political temperatures have been on the rise. Up until that fateful dinner, I somehow managed to steer clear of the fray. Why pundit when more pressing matters demand center stage? Collapsing bridges in the Midwest. Escalating terrorist alerts in the Middle East. Imminent Korean summits. Hank Aaron’s broken home run record. I barely have time to keep tabs on Lindsay, let alone take an intelligent look at the hundred plus declared candidates for President of the United States.

Does the name Daniel Gilbert ring a bell? Nope? Didn’t think so.

Uh, does it really matter which presidential candidate I favor in August of 2007? Aren’t two or three of them bound for implosion anyway? I mean, take a look at Howard Dean. Who can forget all those bright-eyed optimistic Deaniacs chugging and chugging toward the White House, pushing their candidate ahead of the pack, stumping like crazy, with a glimmer of winner on the horizon? Then one little “EEEEEE-AHHHHH!” shrieked in front of a packed audience, and just like that, the guy is yesterday’s toast.

Okay, it didn’t really happen that way. My version just sounds better and can be told in less time.

I suppose I should not ignore the sheeple advantage, especially at this stage of the race. A well-known political phenomenon, the "sheepadvan" is best illustrated by the way Average Joe investor reacts to the stock market. Rather than buy at an initial public offering, Average Joe holds out for a significant price increase. If that many people own shares, then according to Average Joe, the company must be good. Of course, the stock was a much better buy when fewer people owned it, but why should that matter? So too goes the race for President.

Each presidential election, the "sheepadvan" seems to arrive earlier and earlier. I’d like to keep it submerged at least until the traditional benchmark, otherwise known as the New Hampshire primary. But with the Republican YouTube Debates scheduled to occur in September, this no longer appears to be an option. On the other hand, perhaps I’ve gotten a reprieve. As of press time, only two Republican candidates were willing to answer videotaped questions from the American public.

I tried to squirm my way out of answering the three degrees of separation relative by fingering presidential candidates I wouldn’t endorse for all the tinsel in Hollywood. At the top of that list is the junior Senator from the great state of New York. Must I name she who must not be named?

This woman absolutely rubs me the wrong way. Let’s see, how do I despise thee? Let me count the ways: (1) opportunist; (2) liar; (3) traitor to America; (4) power whore; (5) money grubber; (6) status climber; (7) Socialist in Democrat’s clothing; (8) bigot; (9) foreign policy ignoramus; (10) corporate sell-out…. Should I continue?

Oh, why bother when I can make a video that says it all? With apologies to The Beach Boys, Reprob8Hill leads off Today’s Spewed Videos. Yes, I know some images are a tad blurry and it moves somewhat fast, but I think my little celluloid packs a load'a wallop.

Just the kind of thing I could upload to entertain future tablemates while I nonchalantly sneak off to the bar.

Click to see Spewed Videos du Jour.

The Banta Family

This person went to Charlie at Asylum Tattoo of Covington, Kentucky and got some names tattooed, assuming they are family members names. The end result is posted in BMEzine's gallery dated Aug. 4, 2007.


My fellow katakana tattoo connoisseur Alan has this to say:

As these things go, I guess this one is not so bad. It appears to be the names of people in a family, with the family name バンタ [Banta] written horizontally and the given names ジム [Jim], アネット [Annette] and タナー [Tanner] written vertically under it.

The tattoo artist did make a mistake in that the final stroke in the name Tanner should be vertical instead of horizontal. This appears to be a common mistake that we also saw on Kimberley's tattoo.

Pocket-Sized Book

Reader Lynn sent me this photo of a pair men's swimming shorts from Wal-Mart. Since she is a Japanese major, it was odd to her to see hiragana characters meaning "pocket-sized book" printed on the shorts.

I confirmed this with Alan, and he says:

The hiragana is clearly しゅうちんぼん [shuuchinbon], which is the Japanese reading of , meaning a "pocket-sized book" which was perhaps the size of today's paperback books, a handy size for carrying in the sleeves of kimono.

But as to why someone would want to have this written on their swimming trunks, I have no idea. Bizarre!

Of course, we both think it was meant to be a jab at the wearer's testicle size or the popular sport of pocket pool.

P.s. why do people still shop at Wal-Mart?!

Brandon Call

Brandon Call is a former child star best known for his role as "J.T. Lambert" on the 1990s family sitcom, Step By Step. Call was born on November 17, 1976 and achieved a lot of success throughout his teen years.Call’s career began in the mid-1980s with small guest roles on various TV shows and movies such as Simon & Simon, Slickers, and Jagged Edge. He parlayed these early appearances into a

Can't Get Enough of those Simpsons

Sorry. I've been away on vacation. It's hard to keep blogging when you're away and having fun. I'll admit, the articles from last week were a little...meh....so what? At least now the whole world can understand why.

I first caught Life in Hell, a highly intelligent, avant-garde comic strip, in Baltimore's City Paper around 1989, give or take. Authored by Matt Groening, slightly dark, but funny as all get out, I could really relate to those rabbits. I remember being very disturbed when the paper stopped carrying it. After some digging, I found out why. The paper didn't drop the strip, rather, the strip dropped off the face of the earth. Groening stopped writing it. I was all set to start a letter writing campaign, you know, like the fans did with Jericho. Then The Simpsons came along. The rest, shall we say, is history.

Haven't caught the movie, but heard it is LOLF. In lieu of a review, here's my little tribute. The Simpson character is my own, courtesy of Matt and Fox head honchos. Special thanks to Zackkim.com. The featured guitar player is quite astounding.

Just one teeny tiny request to Matt (if I am ever so lucky for he of comic lore to drop by): Please bring back the bunnies.

Jose Canseco

In view of the fact that the disgraced steroid-abusing San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds recently tied one of Major League Baseball's most hallowed records, Hank Aaron's lifetime home run record, I decided that it was time to add a profile a washed-up sports celebrity. The first washed-up sports celebrity that I will profile is Jose Canseco.I. Jose Canseco’s Early LifeJose Canseco, born

Tom Cruise takes to the sky

As reported in People magazine: "This week, the star and amateur pilot took the controls of a 1941 Boeing Stearman on the German location of his new movie Valkyrie and off he went, into the wild blue yonder."

Tom Cruise Takes Control of Double-Decker Plane

Tom Cruise is a qualified pilot and it sounds like he had a blast flying the huge Stearman. As he said, "Wow, wow, what a machine this is!"

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

The Fair Review

Joining a blog community is supposed to be a good thing. Increased exposure. New friends. Constructive feedback. I am only too happy to participate. I found what appears to be a good site, became friends with the first person I found loitering on my page, and instantly became part of a new community. What could be bad about all this?

Well, the jury is still out. Like the predecessor of Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, perhaps I did not choose wisely. Although, right now, all I am saying is, “Give Rhys a chance.”

That’s right. My new friend, Rhys, hailing all the way from across the pond, recently launched a feature called, of all things, The Fair Review. In exchange for reviewing a suggested blog, I can submit my link to his directory and expect a prominent listing. What a magical idea. At least the way Rhys describes it.

Can this be true, Rhys? Because I have to say, the blog I reviewed wasn’t worth its own bandwidth. The best thing I can say is the pink design is good and…well…that’s about the best thing I can say. For starters, I couldn’t figure out the logo. And grammatically incorrect personal reflections of someone I don’t know and probably won’t have enough time to get to know do not appeal to me.

What would I do if I found a massive amount of money in my account? JK, right? At least give me a reason to waste time with these trivial musings. Inform me. Entertain me. Seriously consider an appropriately placed picture. But do something more than creative navel gazing. Rhys and company are too kind to you. Wake up and smell the java. A time to retool and a time to lay down. A time to turn, turn, turn, turn…

I don’t want to out the blog that belongs in a cheerleader’s palms. As the new kid on the block with much at stake, I’m already shooting myself in the foot. Thank goodness for friends like Rhys, or this blogger might not have anyone dropping by for tea and crumpets. My sincerest apologies, but don’t wait around for me.

Now that was an honest review. I’m ready for my listing now, Mr. DeMille.

The Coffee Man

A weird brain test showed up in my e-mail. It's old, but bizarre. Here's how it goes.

After you find the guy - it's so obvious. Once you find him - it's embarrassing, and you think, Why didn't I see him immediately?

Doctors have concluded that if you find the man in the coffee beans in 3 seconds, your right half of your brain is better developed than most people.

If you find the man between 3 seconds and 1 minute, your right half of the brain
is developed normally.

If you find the man between 1 minute and 3 minutes, then the right half of your
brain is functioning slowly and you need to eat more protein. If you have not found
the man after 3 minutes, the advice is to look for more of this type of exercise to make that part of the brain stronger, and yes, the man is really there!

How Much is that Number in the Window?

A full week has passed since Baltimore’s own NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) began an insipid campaign to reduce the number of Baltimore City homicides. Details later. Suffice it to say, I would expect nothing less from an organization who not only cleaves to a horribly outdated and politically incorrect moniker, but also fails to advance its stated goal of relocation to the nearby nation’s capital.

As of July 25, 2007, Baltimore's homicide tally stood at 178When they started this revolutionary plan of action, the murder tally in Baltimore City stood at 178, give or take, depending upon whom you asked, and whether Teetoe tried to give Peanut’s woman a ride home from that wild block party.

As previously noted, Pigtown’s crime situation is out of control. Not that local crime has ever been tolerable, but around the time Martin O’Malley threw his hat in the ring for governor (this, mind you, after only three years as Baltimore’s mayor), violent crime took a decided turn for the worse. Just yesterday, two police officers were shot in a neighborhood populated by a mixture of working-class and affluent residents. About a month ago, only blocks from the Inner Harbor, a mother returned home from work to discover her 15-year old daughter slashed to death in a bedroom. For almost a decade, gang activity has escalated to new lows.

The problem is compounded by delusional residents who believe their civic duty requires releasing violent offenders back out on the streets. Police commissioners come and go in a bizarre musical chairs twist. Pausing to catch their collective breath, officials anoint the next great white hope, only to snatch the throne away as the latest set of alarming statistics surface.

The numbers are fugly. Baltimore occupies a top spot second only to Detroit, Michigan as the most violent city in America. Time and time again, outsiders pound this dubious distinction into our collective unconscious. Like war veterans participating in Memorial Day ceremonies with concealed battle scars, it’s hard to be proud, but we try.

What are local institutions doing to combat the problem? Not too long ago, the NAACP helped effectuate positive social reform in America. Not so much anymore. Perhaps I shouldn’t gripe about the apparent demise of the NAACP and its declining influence. After all, I’m not a card-carrying member. Oh, what the hey.

“Your leaders have sold you out, man.”

There. No putting that genie back in the bottle.

Sorry, but African-Americans generally are the worst affected by violent crime because they lack responsible leadership. Every other immigrant group in America has been able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and live the American dream through hard work, determination, and community support. Those who achieve a modicum of success set up institutions and services dedicated to the care and welfare of their own. Those in need of assistance take until they are able to give back. The cycle continues throughout each generation until gradually, collective life improves. If you don’t believe me, just look at the Italians, the Russians, the Koreans, or the Latinos.

For some reason, these concepts never caught on in the African-American community. One-parent households are the rule rather than the exception, contributing to higher levels of promiscuity and use of recreational drugs. Those in the lower echelons largely rely upon government support. Muckety mucks encourage such dependence because it helps them retain positions of power. Unfortunately, it does very little to help downtrodden African- Americans. And so, the cycle of poverty and crime continues with no foreseeable end in sight.

What did the questionable leadership at the NAACP propose to help stamp out escalating city violence? Well, it wasn’t responsible parenting. It wasn’t even increased construction of recreation centers to get younger kids off the street. No, these fine illustrious people at the N-double A-C-P recently urged Baltimoreans to post the current number of homicides in the windows of their residences and businesses. Hoo boy. Criminals, better watch your backs.

As if. As of today, give or take where you hear it and the status of Peanut’s woman, the homicide tally stands at 183. Wonder if there's anyone left in the city still foolish enough to post that.

Congratulations to Jenna and Bodhi Elfman!

Jenna and Bodhi Elfman
Jenna and Bodhi Elfman just welcomed a new member to their family! Story Elias Elfman was born on July 23rd.

Jenna Elfman Welcomes a Baby Boy

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard