The Police Wrapped Around Your Finger EP



I wanted to post this to show the contrast between what was marketed as a major label release and the previous post, which featured a single from Love and Rockets.

The Police were not quite at the end of their career when this came out, but no one really knew it was the end. Wrapped Around Your Finger peaked at number 8 and kept the Synchronicity album flying off the racks well into 1984.

I like the cover, but it shows what was important in the 1980s--the physical attributes of the band or the artist.

One thing I didn't know--the Police released their singles in one order for the US and in a different order for their British audience.

Again With the Dog?


It was Mitt Romney who told everyone that he had put the family dog on top of the family car on a family outing. It wasn't the President's campaign that used that; it first appeared in a hoary piece of hagiography in 2007.

The disconnect between reality and history continues unabated.

Station Armed Guards in Every Burning Home?


America's failure to station armed guards inside of every burning home is what caused this to happen, if you believe the way that the National Rifle Association wants to frame this issue. I don't.

This was an act of horrible, horrible retaliation against those who are called to protect us, and that's the tragedy here. In order to save lives, firefighters have to be able to respond to events like this without fearing for their safety. Now, there will be delays in responding because firefighters are going to be leery of doing their job without cops on the scene, ready to trade fire with people crazy enough to set their home on fire and go out in a blaze of violent glory (that's my theory here--someone set their home on fire and then waited in ambush--and I could be wrong on that).

Now that people are focused on gun violence, and on the fact approximately 268 Americans are shot every single day, perhaps we can start to have a meaningful, adult discussion about gun violence in this country. I'm guessing that it simply will not happen, but I've been wrong before.

Wayne LaPierre Has Lost His Mind


There is nothing politically astute about inviting the general public to agree with you when you asked to be called crazy. Wayne LaPierre has lost the plot.

The American people are ready for some form of limited, thoughtful gun control and for a ban on assault rifles. That's just a fact. But, what's happening here, is a classic misdirection play. As long as LaPierre stays on the message of putting armed guards in every school in the country, no one will talk about handguns and the proliferation of handgun violence in America. And no one will talk about how children are being killed by unattended handguns even as we speak. In fact, when you introduce a gun into a home, it becomes twenty-two times more likely that that gun will kill a family member.

LaPierre represents a lobbying organization, not a public policy organization. The National Rifle Association is the lobbying arm of the handgun manufacturers. It has one purpose and one purpose only--to thwart any effort to keep guns out of the hands of the people who want to buy them. Safety doesn't matter. If it did, the NRA would not be in the position that it is in right now.

Putting an armed guard (and, really, let's think about this) in every school is absolutely unfeasible and introduces more opportunities for death and mayhem than it would ever prevent. First, you would have to allocate resources from strapped school districts to make this happen. That means hiring at least two, if not three to five, armed guards for every school, not just one. You have to give people time off, you have to cover multiple entrances in large schools, and you have to have people protecting two vital elements of each school--the playground area and the main entrance. If you are going to have a single armed guard--a single point of failure--then you have to have someone backing that person up when an armed intruder walks up and shoots the one person in the school who has a firearm.

Second, you have to pay that person and you have to conduct a background check on that person, further adding to the costs of protecting public safety. You could certainly use off-duty or detail police to do the work of protecting schools--that's already in place in many cases. But what happens when that individual is also cut from their position because of budget constraints? This is the classic Republican dodge of reality, and the NRA is overwhelmingly an organization aligned to Republican policies of governance. Budget cuts are the result, more often than not, of a lack of political will or acumen with regards to raising revenue. Taxes, taxes, taxes. If no one wants to raise taxes, where is the money going to come from in order to hire rent-a-cops for schools?

Third, the answer is never "more guns." The answer is gun control. And that doesn't mean taking guns away from law-abiding citizens. It means keeping specific models and types of ammunition magazines out of circulation because of the damage that they can do. It means background checks and limiting access to guns by mentally ill individuals. And it means coming to grips with the fact that there are too many handguns in circulation right now with too many people being able to get them quickly and cheaply.

So, yes. Mr. LaPierre has lost his mind, but he has done so in a way that keeps the focus off handguns and common sense. This is a play for emotions, and logic need not apply. If it did, we'd be talking about solutions instead of these hot-button topics that will not solve anything.

So Long, Breitbart Empire


What Dana Loesch does isn't journalism, punditry, or opinion. It's borderline hate speech combined with an entertainment aspect that appeals to the lowest common denominator, hence her decision to bail on the sinking Breitbart empire and try to attach herself to Glen Beck's sinking star.

That's why this is a celebrity news item, and not a political one. Politics is not what any of these people do; politics implies a desire to reach compromise and solve problems after the voters have voted. Loesch and Beck are in the same business that the late Andrew Breitbart was in--using politics as an excuse to infuriate weak-minded people into consuming the products they make and sell after they've been scared, misled, or confused about the state of the world.

My hope is that Loesch can go sell her wares to the people still buying gold and adult diapers in bulk. She's very good at what she does, which is whip up a frenzy over something that doesn't matter to anyone who can think rationally.

The NRA's FAIL Parade Marches On

I replaced the original image that went with this post because some gun nut got his undies in a bunch because it was a purchase list for plastic toy guns for action figures. This may or may not be a real picture of a real uzi, but if you don't placate these babies, they'll cry all day about their precious little details about weapons they cannot afford in a world that simply doesn't understand how much smarter they are than everyone else. Wah!

Do you know what shocks me about Wayne LaPierre's speech today? It was completely and utterly tone deaf to the political reality of America right now.

The NRA has brought legislators to heel because of a superior command of politics and the political process in Washington D.C. Given what has happened in the last week, that would mean knowing the pulse of Republicans and Democrats in the Midwestern states right now. Many of them are ready to do something about limited gun control in order to make the issue go away.

LaPierre did nothing to cover those politicians today. He drew attention to the failure of his organization to make a meaningful attempt to sway public opinion in favor of a constitutional right to bear arms.

Now, we have the ability to focus on the fact that video games don't cause violence and putting an armed cop in every school in the country is a budget-busting impossibility. The NRA has thrown those two things out there because they appeal to emotions (enough people think video games cause mass shootings) and they make people feel good about doing something (even though rent-a-cops with handguns are more likely to increase shootings, not decrease them because each and every gun you introduce into a school leads to the possibility that that gun will be used in the wrong way).

Today was a massive failure for the NRA. They went for emotions over logic, and emotions are decidedly aligned against their organization.


Chuck Hagel Can and Will Serve This Country With Honor

This piece, by James Fallows, is worth the time to read it (it's short, and it nails the character issue of Chuck Hagel quite well).

Do you want someone who will stand up to the President and who will stand up to the bureaucrats? Then you'd better find someone better than Chuck Hagel to run the Department of Defense.

My guess is that you aren't going to find that person, and I hope he will stand up and demonstrate through his actions that we need a leaner Defense Department and that we need to put people in government who have already shown what they believe in. Hagel is by no means perfect, and things like this are upsetting enough, but what we need is someone who can say no to the people who want to spend billions on stuff we do not need.

Who is Still Paying Attention to Wikileaks?


One of the greatest marketing ploys in history comes to a crashing end, and more than likely sooner rather than later.

Wikileaks, as an organization, made one hugely advantageous decision: it linked itself, via the name, to Wikipedia, thus ensuring that people would always confuse the two and lend credibility to the idea that, unless you've got a great dot.com already picked out, forget about going anywhere with your big idea.

Julian Assange is now stuck in an embassy, and it's only a matter of time before they either throw him out or the British get tired of this nonsense and go get him. The sell-by date on what Assange is marketing (really, only his own notoriety) and the usefulness of the information that he has is based entirely on what people will give him.

Why would you give him anything?

The Best Photo of the President Ever


There are so many things going on right now that warrant our immediate attention. But if this picture doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.

Being Married Was an Inconvenience of Some Kind

This is how celebrities should divorce.

Deschanel and Gibbard are, apparently, friendly with one another, not willing to stay married, and are looking for a way to get this part of their lives behind them. Was this just something that dissolved on its own or did being cute and having floppy hair intersect at the right time for a brief, shining moment of glory?

I always come down on the side of privacy. Nobody's entitled to know. But, I do think it is notable when two people who have public lives can handle their affairs with dignity.

The Debacle Continues


When Rex Ryan is eventually fired at the end of this season, the analysis will come down to one of the most dysfunctional quarterback controversies in NFL history. 

The Jets are not an awful team. They are poorly led.

This is a lost season for the Jets and there should be a number of players and coaches who follow Ryan out the door at the end of this season. Should the General Manager go as well? I don't know how you could argue that anyone should hold on to a decision-making position with the organization after this season. But, cheer up.

At least the Jets aren't the Eagles, right?

A Dispatch From the Ruins


I don't think that I am exaggerating when I say that this one affair ended two careers. In the case of David Petraeus, yes. In the case of Paula Broadwell, more than likely.

Whatever they end up doing in public or private life is now inextricably linked to the fact that this incident resulted in no charges being filed against Broadwell. It's as if the whole thing never should have been publicized in the first place.

Amazing.

Megan McArdle is Now the Stupidest Human Being on the Planet


Do you know how hard you have to work to be this stupid?
I'd also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once. Would it work? Would people do it? I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.
If we drill it into "young people" to do something stupid, that's what they might end up doing. And if we're willing to sacrifice 8 to 12 "young people," then I think we have reached a point where all of this is just ridiculous posturing.

McArdle is what passes for a modern intellectual. She is gainfully employed telling people her opinions. We are not blessed with a surplus of smart people these days, nor is common sense much of a comfort anymore. McArdle should be mocked for her opinion and fired from whatever job it is she holds these days. What a disgrace.

Here's what we should do. We should find the will to make it possible to stop future mass shootings by looking at mental health laws, gun laws, magazine sizes, ammunition types, and come up with a comprehensive program that respects the Constitution while ensuring public safety. If you look at what law enforcement, the military, and what people around the world do to limit the availability of weapons designed solely to kill, somewhere in there you can find an American solution that will be the envy of the world. And that's what we should aspire to. We should minimize the disruption to our way of life while using common sense to solve every problem we face by being willing to compromise and work with one another.

That might mean angering the gun lobby. Well, so be it. We don't have a "gun" lobby, really. We have a handgun lobby and that's all they care about because handguns are so lucrative. No one fears the bolt action rifle, but it's one of the cheapest and most effective weapons in the world in terms of being able to be used for hunting and target practice. The shotgun is great for duck hunting, home defense, and target practice as well. No one should imagine that these are the weapons that need to be banned.

Handguns and assault rifles, 100-round drum magazines, cop killer bullets, and anything that fires on full automatic? Please. We already limit machine guns and thus, we already have "gun control." We need common sense and we need it now.

If we're not actively seeking a way to prevent future mass killings, we are betraying the memory of those lost in Newtown, Connecticut.

When Is Enough Going to be Enough?


This is Mr. Danny Bettcher and he's in the news for something that will make your head spin:
Just 40 days out of prison, repeat DWI [Driving while intoxicated is the term in Minnesota] offender, Danny Bettcher, is back behind bars. The New York Mills, Minn., man is being held at the Wadena County Jail for allegedly violating the terms of his release. 
According to Sarah Berg of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Bettcher was apprehended on Dec. 8 after he was allegedly seen in an establishment that serves alcohol, and was consuming alcohol, both violations of his parole. 
Bettcher was released from prison on Oct. 29 after more than three years behind bars from previous alcohol-related offenses. The conditions of his release required him to stay sober. 
Bettcher reportedly holds the state record for the person with the most DWIs, with 27.
Unless he actually kills someone, Bettcher can't be jailed forever, and that's at the heart of the problem that his community has with him. The law is pretty clear, and it's pretty harsh on people who drive drunk. They've thrown the book at Bettcher and he cannot stop drinking and driving.

So, what do you do? If you're the town of New York Mills, or any town in America, and there's a man in your town who cannot stop drinking in public and then driving in a car, what do you do to ensure that he doesn't kill someone? What can you do?

My recollection is that there are people in the Albert Lea area who have racked up numerous DWIs through the years.

All we have is the law, and the law isn't working. If you have 27 DWIs, and a history of using aliases to cover up how many times you've been caught, you have no business being on the road. There has to be a modification to the law that will remove Bettcher from presence of the people in society that he is trying desperately to injure. Chalk this one up to a failure of the state to come up with a law that works the way it was intended, which is to protect public safety.



Bushmaster


Given that we now know that the primary weapon used at Sandy Spring Elementary School in Newtown, CT was a Bushmaster assault rifle, how long before we forget that these things should have been banned outright decades ago?

Mike Huckabee is America's Jackass


Today's nightmare at Sandy Hook Elementary School didn't take place because we have "systematically removed God from our schools." Today's nightmare happened because God took the day off.

It is a mere aside to all of this tragedy that Mike Huckabee would be out there, howling about religion and schools, trying to cash in on the fears of the weak and the feeble, and amplify the terror felt by millions by appealing to the lowest common denominator. This is where our media have failed us because, in a just society, a phony Christian and a common grifter like Huckabee would be pawing for coins under a bus station vending machine rather than commenting as if he knew what the hell he was actually saying.

The Treehouse at Tripsdrill


This is the treehouse that adorns part of the scenery at the German amusement park known as Tripsdrill.

I have to say that Tripsdrill was our favorite place to go. It was rustic, but not outdated. Thriving but never too crowded. And it was always fun to dodge the speed cameras on the way there. You literally have to drive in a circle into the middle of absolute nowhere on a two-lane road to get there. At least I did.

This treehouse is adjacent to an elevated ride that goes up and down, sways in a bit, but doesn't do a whole lot. This is just the "scenery" that appears near the ride and is not a part of the ride itself.

Who's the Lunatic Now?

If you're wondering who might be stupid enough to believe Fox News contributor Steven Crowder's version of events over all others, then you might want to wander into the always-entertaining world of FAIL where Megan McArdle lives.

Her dismissal of Marcy Wheeler as a lunatic links to this page, which is where Wheeler basically predicted the meltdown of Steven Crowder's account of the events which led to him becoming a media martyr for getting beaten up in Michigan.

Anyone who takes the Fox/Breitbart version of events as fact is automatically discredited, or will be in a matter of hours. That's practically a given at this point. And, really. If you're looking to McArdle for math, logic, or knowledge, you're probably never going to believe the facts when they emerge anyway.

Let's recap: McArdle calls Wheeler a lunatic, Wheeler is proven correct about a day later, McArdle shrugs and tweets about cooking.

Steven Crowder is a Fraud


The fact that it took a mere matter of days to unmask Steven Crowder as an absolute fraud and a man guilty of criminally assaulting another human being should come as no shock to anyone with a brain. Since he has admitted starting the altercation, he should be charged with assault. By his own admission, that's the minimum of what he is guilty of.

This incident should set off bells in every newsroom in America. If someone affiliated with Breitbart.com or Fox News, et al, makes any future claim of being assaulted in public, then that claim should be dismissed as another false flag operation designed to mislead and inflame the public. These people have no credibility.

The Walking Dead is Ruining America

I don't want to go overboard and suggest that Tim Winter of the Parents Television Council is somehow not a bright or intelligent person, but I'd really like to know how one depicts scenes of "grisly murder both of the living and 'undead'" when, in point of fact, the dead are just plain dead.

We have a lot of problems in this country, but a gory television show ain't one of them.

Privilege Makes a Monster Out of Some


I won't go into the stories because you cannot trust that they are accurate or real; they come from the gossipy, backstabbing world of Capitol Hill where the hired help always complains about their betters.

What's apparent here is that Virginia Foxx is entitled to be difficult and she is entitled to terrorize people who don't have any power. Is it fair to piece together the disparate elements of this story and suggest that Foxx has issues with using her authority to create a hostile workplace and that that, in turn, is something that is outside of the realm of accountability?

Who is going to hold her accountable if she is, in fact, enforcing a rule no one really cares about and is threatening the employment status of people who do not work for her? Who is going to explain to her that the "Members Only" elevators really are only "Members Only" for the purpose of getting members of Congress to the floor of the House when there are votes occurring? The answer is, who can hold her accountable? No one. The Speaker of the House, or the leader of the caucus to which she belongs, can say something to her but they're not going to be able to do anything unless she commits an ethics violation or assaults someone.

Until then, expect more nonsense and less accountability for creating a hostile work environment.

Really? McAfee Doesn't Need a Lawyer?


If you want to guarantee yourself a headache, just try and follow the exploits of John McAfee.

Apparently, he was able to get out of Guatemala and come to the United States and, by doing so, he has escaped the rather incompetent arm of the law in Belize.

My question is, are they simply going to seize his property in Belize and call it even?

The Destruction of the Middle Class Continues



I would have to agree with the premise of this article--the Middle Class in the United States has been hammered by the economy and the economic policies that were put into place at the end of the Clinton Administration. With the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, the seeds were placed to go after the one thing that made the Middle Class seem wealthy--the value of a decent home.

If you can extrapolate from the destruction of home values two main points--the Middle Class was cheated and that millions of Americans were denied entry into the Middle Class--then you can see where this is headed. Unless and until real reform is enacted to prevent another Real Esate bubble, what little equity still exists out there is going to continue to shrink and lenders are going to continue to be evasive and predatory.

You absolutely cannot have a Middle Class without a real estate market that reflects actual growth in terms of the sales of existing homes. Your typical Middle Class family lost value in their major asset five years ago, their home, and that value simply hasn't come back. Their value went into the pocket of someone who thought it would be clever to ride a manufactured real estate bubble out into the middle of nowhere and then just abandon people to their fate. Untold numbers of communities have been blighted ever since, littered with homes that used to house Middle Class families.

Now, we have shells in this country. Decaying shells full of miserable failure. Real reform can't come soon enough.


The Grit


A menu for a restaurant in Athens, Georgia shouldn't really be the subject of a post on technical writing, should it? Well, guess again.

This menu is an amazing piece of graphics, typography, and design. There are so many elements running through it. I'll just link to it and let you decide.

Check out their regular menu and the brunch menu, and you can see for yourself how the organization and the bare bones, minimalistic approach gives the user an easy, flowing experience.

Google's Penguin Update Infographic


I really like the intention of this infographic, but it fails on two key levels with me.

First, it's simply too vertical. I love the design elements and the illustrations are exceptionally well done, but it suffers from being difficult to read. In order to review it, I had to blow it up and scroll through it.

This is not a dealbreaker, however. In many cases, the size and scale are perfect for tablets and phones, but, again, I have a hard time believing it would be legible on a phone.

Second, it covers a subject that I don't care about. Black Hat SEO is nothing I'm concerned about because I don't use those practices. This infographic is wasted on an audience that simply doesn't care about user experience or ethics. Why create a wonderful graphic for a group that simply doesn't care whether you or anyone else is able to read and enjoy content on the web? They want your hits and your clicks and they don't care how they get them.

I think the bottom part should have been condensed and that it should have been wider and fatter, like a cartoon penguin ought to be.

The War on Organized Labor


Michigan is now in the front lines of a war on unions that has been going on for decades. Is this even news? Is this even a surprise anymore?

What people do not understand is that, once organized labor is gone, wages are not going to go up in this country. Working conditions are already bad enough, and they're not getting better. The decline in wages, or, rather, the absolute stagnation in wages isn't due entirely to the decline of unions. Far from it--it's due to the destruction of the American worker as an entity that has any ability to demand anything from this nebulous thing called management.

Our politics and rhetoric are, seemingly, entirely on the side of the mythical "job creators" who cannot be taxed and who cannot be criticized. The jobs that they were supposed to create don't exist and the policies that reward the confiscation of wealth upwards aren't going to end anytime soon.

When I look at things like this, I just shake my head. American history has shown us, time and again, when the wealthy are allowed to confiscate more and more of the pie, there is a violent, horrible reaction that shocks everyone into the realization that, "oh, we should have done something about this problem."

The time to do that is now and, instead, everything is going the wrong way.

Where Do the Wolves Roam?


This is not an awful question that someone should immediately make fun of. The reintroduction of wolves is a bit of a pipe dream for American society right now. Introducing wolves into Northern Virginia? Please. The uproar over such a thing would cause a miniature arms race. Virtually everyone with a backyard would freak out and purchase a high-powered hunting rifle.


The map I've shown you above gives you much of the history of these efforts. The wolf has never been eradicated from Northern Minnesota but I cannot see how it could safely be reintroduced into the Eastern United States without driving millions into a ridiculous panic.

Why Did They Turn in Their Guns?

The NFL is on Google+

Am I correct in saying that if the NFL did not have a problem, seven frightened young men would not have given up their weapons to officials with their respective teams?

The NFL has numerous problems which mirror society. Guns, domestic violence, alcohol abuse, and stupidity are all the ones we've seen in the last several weeks. I don't think much will change, but I do think it is irresponsible not to keep talking about guns and how guns in the hands of young men who have a lot of money and young families should be dealt with in much the same way that the NFL deals with their financial matters--with mandatory counseling.

A Curious Thing Happened at Radio Shack


Did you know that there are stores in this country where you aren't allowed to buy things unless you give the person behind the counter your name, your address, your phone number or your e-mail address?

Did you know that having cash in hand doesn't matter anymore? Unless you give up your personal information, these stores will not sell anything to you.

The only store more dreadful than Radio Shack to shop in is Sears; I have stood in Sears, hoping to buy things, and I have been told that I am at a cash register where cash is not accepted; I have been told that, despite the fact that we purchased something, we are not able to pick it up because Sears failed to update our home address after we moved and that our transaction looked like "theft." What a pack of incompetent lies.

But Radio Shack is heading for Sears territory. My wife went into Radio Shack yesterday to make a purchase. She was holding a product and had money in hand. And yet, she refused to tell the people behind the counter what our address was. Four employees suddenly swarmed around her, and so she walked out, intimidated and empty-handed. ***Note from Warren's wife: as a former member of the United States Army as well as a current Federal Government Department of Defense employee, it takes a great deal to intimidate me. However, the four employees were all large men and quite frankly I didn't want the confrontation. I think the thing that irritated me the most was when I asked for an explanation as to why my personal information was required before the completion of the sale, the first guy could not articulate the reason and when he asked the second guy for help, all he said was that was what they needed. After that, the other two guys drifted over and circled around me. That was rather bothersome, to say the least. As my purchase was going to be a gift for our daughter and entering into the store was actually a target of opportunity as the mall is not known for it's electronic stores, I'll just go somewhere else. Really, that's what I should have done all along - or, I can just continue shopping on-line.***

After her experience, I walked into the store and observed their behavior. They were indifferent to customers and engrossed in entertaining themselves. I watched one employee play with a toy helicopter and nearly break merchandise in the store. I watched two other employees ignore me because what the third employee was doing was more important than making a Christmas season sale. No one acknowledged me or looked up. And who could blame them? The store was empty, despite the fact that the mall was packed on a Saturday afternoon. Their customer service was nonexistent and their store looked like a ghost town.

American retail stores are awful, by and large, and it has gotten to the point where you can't buy anything unless you expose yourself to telemarketers and excessive advertising (also known as SPAM). Radio Shack has decided to entertain a curious business model--treat people like crap and wonder where their business went.

Giving an address or a phone number, as a condition of making an in-person retail purchase, should be completely voluntary. As in, ask nicely, then accept no for that answer, otherwise, you risk losing a customer and a sale. And, what's weird is that, ten years ago, Radio Shack had to abandon this practice. Now, apparently, it's back.

Sorry, you're not getting our money.

How Did the Firing of Cheryl Cole Make That a Better Show?

There are some British celebrities that translate well when they come to America. Then there are some, like the Beckhams and Russell Brand, that go nowhere.

Cheryl Cole seemed like someone who would cross over and have some success. I watched that whole debacle play out, and I still can't see how getting rid of her the way they did made that show--or any show--better. If you want to dump someone, dump them and pay them. In this case, they dumped her and figured they could get away with not paying her.

How Out of Control?


Whenever the celebrity media starts to cover these train-wreck lives, I have to remind myself to take a step back and think about the agendas of the people who are feeding this information to the hungry writers and hacks who produce this stuff.

Is anything here definitively sourced in a way that would lend it credibility? No, and that means that people who are on the periphery are speculating based on what they are hearing. It's a safe bet that Lindsay Lohan is "out of control" because there are enough people out there who are talking about the fact that they think she is out of control.

And that may very well be. But legal problems aren't the same as what goes on in someone's life. You can have a life that is a complete and utter disaster and not have a legal concern or care in the world and vice versa. Lohan's problems tend to stem from the fact that she cannot stop "partying" in public. So, why hasn't she ever figured out how to cut loose in private? Is it because there has to be an element of public adulation involved? Is that because the risk of partying in public, which means attention and media coverage, is really the goal here?

I would say yes. Nothing I have ever read in People magazine has ever struck me as being journalistic. That doesn't mean it is wrong; it means you can't believe it.

ACORN Was Responsible for the Lindbergh Baby


The obvious answer here is to ask, what the hell?

ACORN stole the 2012 election? Really?

Almost exactly half of the people who voted Republican in this country believe that a defunct organization stole an election that was, without a doubt, an Obama landslide despite the fact that there was widespread Republican voter suppression? Really?

Obama's margin of victory would have been much higher if there hadn't been so much voter suppression. And yet, these individuals are so information-starved that it boggles the mind.

The real story here is--how'd you get so many people to believe so many lies? Because once people figure out how to make people react the way Republican voters reacted in 2012, hold on to your wallet because the advertising people are going to consume that process and make it their own.

A Threat Never Carried Out


Nothing could be more horrific to consider than the destruction of Napoleon's army in Russia; I have deliberately avoided researching it or going into it because I wanted to limit my focus to the last two battles of the Napoleonic era in Europe where we end it all at Waterloo.

It is interesting that this particular letter, concerning a threat that never happened, went for 150,000 euros. Did someone drive up the cost? Is it really worth that much?

My guess is that there are so few remaining privately held documents like this that it was worth every penny to whomever wanted to preserve it.

Bitchy and Destructive


There isn't anything around Derek Jeter's waist that won't disappear after a couple of weeks of spring training. So, I don't understand why the New York Post has to go after him in this way; if Jeter can't perform, he'll retire or he'll get in shape so that he can play. He's been hobbled by a leg brace and he's in the offseason.

You can't tell me that the New York media isn't bitchy and destructive; you can't tell me that it hasn't ruined lives and careers. I just don't understand why they would trash Jeter like this.

Four championships wasn't enough? Jeebus.

Christmas in Strasbourg, France


This is a photo of the Christmas market in Strasbourg, France.

Christmas in Europe is something special to behold, and if you ever get the chance to spend the week before the holiday in Europe, do so because it really is a special treat.

Getting Rid of Dollar Bills is an Idea I Can Support


This is actually a very good idea. And, this is also why it'll never happen.

If you have any experience dealing with euros, and with the one and two euro coins, then I would imagine that you would have a pretty good feeling about ditching the $1 dollar bill entirely; if not, then you don't know what you're missing.

One of the few really advanced and intelligent things that happened with Europe's conversion to the euro was the elimination of the paper single in favor of the one and two euro coin. When you have a handful of two euro coins, you've got money.

Will Americans be able to handle such a concept? Maybe gradually, but not at first. The problem, of course, comes from the popularity of the quarter and the fact that dollar coins have failed because they were too much like the quarter.

But, anyway--yes. Get rid of the dollar bill. Save the money. It would be a smart thing to do.