The More The Merrier

On the other hand, the netroots activism of the Democratic party might be better for the Republicans than expected. I mean, look at the potential Nader ponders run, calls Clinton ‘coward’:

Ralph Nader says he is seriously considering running for president in 2008 because he foresees another Tweedledum-Tweedledee election that offers little real choice to voters.

Coupled with this news, it’s looking like a great race:

  • Any Republican
  • Any Democrat
  • Michael Bloomberg
  • Ralph Nader

Come on, you don’t think Michael Bloomberg is going to steal from the Republican votes, do you?

The only way this could be better would be if Markos Moulitas himself ran, too.

The Republicans could almost elect Mark Foley in that field.

(More on Instapundit and Outside the Beltway.)

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Litigious Culture Imperils Doctors

The litigious nature of our society is again imperiling our access to health care and doctors: Mo. doctors to sue over midwife law:

Legislation allowing midwives to deliver babies at home in Missouri will probably be challenged in court by doctors’ groups.

The measure was approved by lawmakers last month as part of larger health insurance bill signed June 1 by Gov. Matt Blunt. Most of the bill won’t take effect until January, but the section on midwifery becomes effective in August.

Opposition to the midwifery provision is led by the Missouri State Medical Association. The organization’s lobbyist, Tom Holloway, said the group expected to file suit to block the provision next week in Cole County Circuit Court.

Oh, sorry, my fault; this is actually a bill about doctors suing to prevent access to other health care providers because the doctors know that they should be the only ones legally eligible to receive tax money for delivering babies.

Doctors suing to keep health costs up so that they can continue to receive their rates for delivery and hospital stays or whatnot.

I’m not going to argue about whether it’s better to have a child in the hospital surrounded by expensive scientific instruments unneeded in most deliveries or at home, chanting in a Gaia circle with a midwife. You know, that’s where freedom comes in. People can choose the stupid or the merely less ideal.

But not if this collective of Missouri doctors has its way.

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Republican Party Improves Slightly

NYC mayor leaves GOP amid White House speculation:

After some six years as a Republican, the 65-year-old former CEO announced Tuesday that he has left the Republican Party and become unaffiliated in what many believe could be a step toward entering the 2008 race for president.

Face it, Bloomberg belongs to the Bloomberg party and puts on or takes off party designation like baseball hats. He only became a Republican so he could ride Rudy’s coattails into the New York Mayor’s office.

Frankly, that the Republican Party would have him in spite of his political views was an early indicator of its ease of sacrificing principles just to have one more official with an (R) behind its name.

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Headline Offers Cheap Psychological Evaluation

Paranoia grows over Google’s power

Reuters headline writers were unavailable to surmise how people concerned about the reach of Google’s data depth and related data mining actually went crazy, but Reuters headline writers did not have the time to work up a complete mental profiles. They had only time to diagnose that those people suffer from a delusional disorder or perhaps schizophrenia.

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Post-Dispatch Finds A Land Developer To Dislike

The front page of the Sunday St. Louis Post-Dispatch and an Flash-enhanced online rendition finally take a land developer to task.

Well, no, not “finally,” since this land developer is only guilty of urging lawmakers to pass a tax incentive package that he’ll take advantage of.

The Post-Dispatch wets itself in joy whenever a developer throws citizens out of their suburban homes using eminent domain or when a developer strong arms the city into co-signing a loan from which the developer can (and often does) walk away. To say nothing of tax incentives, which the Post-Dispatch thinks is a good idea to lure any private retail, condominium, or sports endeavor to the city.

I don’t know why the paper decides to unload on this developer who acquired all the properties legitimately, although not obviously. Because he’s one man who’s white buying land in poverty-stricken areas? Because he live in St. Charles and hasn’t made the proper show of buying a downtown loft?

Who knows? All I know is that it makes all other Post-Dispatch pieces that laud crony capitalism absurd and hypocritical.

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Caption Contest

Normally, I don’t do this sort of thing because the paucity of responses is bad for my ego, but here’s a photo begging for a quip:


Here’s my best shot:

Dude, we know where your treasure’s buried.

Think you can do better? Leave it in the comments. Remember, if there are no comments, I will win by default! You don’t want that on your conscience, do you?

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All Right, All Right, I’ll Post It

That’s the sound of me finally giving into myself. I saw this video on Ace of Spades and have watched it over and over:

It’s a nice tribute to Bob Ross of The Joy of Painting. I recollect catching Bob in his early years (ca. 1986-1988) and watching him on the local PBS station, broadcast over the air if you damn kids can believe it. I was twisting the knob, which was how we changed stations between the three to seven stations we could get with antennae, and I found his show early in my late middle school to early high school period, watching the grainy television from the top bunk in a bedroom in a mobile home sized to fit only a television, a bunk bed, and a dresser.

I liked how easy he made painting landscapes look, and I watched it a couple weeks running. He tempted me to try some painting on my own, using stray watercolor paint set gift packs and the only canvases I had handy–the glazed tops of doughnut boxes my mother brought as our special Sunday treats from the local U-Gas. The doughnuts were the treat, not the boxes, you dang literalists. Man, I can picture one of my self-portraits in my head even now, wherein a rudely-depicted blond young man reclines under a tree. Fortunately, that picture reclines in a landfill somewhere now. Even if I could post it, I probably wouldn’t; let’s leave it at that.

The year after I graduated, I was shipping/receiving clerk for an art supply store, and the shop carried a small set of the Bob Ross line of products. I remembered him fondly and probably caught an episode or two of his show for the then-kitsch value. He died while I was working there, a stunning blow that no doubt the sales staff, local students in art programs, brought to the back room with a combination of sadness and smugness. Based on the quality of my art work, I didn’t have youthful superiority to spare, so I was only sad.

The aforelinked video touches me with nostalgia and a hint of that sadness, but also pleasantly amuses me with the music and with the sense that maybe, yes, Bob Ross would have felt that way about the message his laid-back style conveyed.

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Book Report: Harvest Poems 1910-1960 by Carl Sandburg (1960)

I read this collection of poems at my son. I say “at” instead of “to” because he’s getting mobile and is no longer a captive audience. Still, I pick the book up and read it at him as he plays so he can hear my voice.

Wow, I’ve read McKuen, Cohen, Dickinson, and L’Engle in the last couple of years. I’ve also worked on a small survey of John Donne (yet to be completed). In doing so, I’ve really missed out on good poetry with rhythm. These poems by Sandburg direct your cadence and really are fun to read. The turns of phrases make me pause and remember them so I can say them aloud and sound smart. As a matter of fact, I’ve used several lines from Sandburg as IM statuses, so that indicates how clever and insightful I think they are.

As its title suggests, this book collects poems from over 50 years, but most of them come from before the depression, when the poet lamenting war was still referring to World War I. Sandburg’s themes include a sort of homily to the common man in the Midwest, a distaste for war, and a belief in God. The charged themes are handled lightly enough that they’re observations and not proselytization. So they’re palatable where we differ.

As I said, this is a collection taken from several books, so it’s a step up from the poems from an author you’d find in an anthology (Yes, “Grass” is in here as is “Fog”). So if you’ve liked Sandburg from the anthologies, check this book out and see if you like the rest. Me, I liked this work so much that I’m going to look for the complete collections from which these poems were selected, and I’m also almost inspired to actually write more poetry.

Books mentioned in this review:

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That’s Not A Bug

Centene ruling may have ‘chilling effect’:

“Getting eminent domain for a project is already tough and this decision is going to make it tougher,” said Jay Case, principal of Chicago-based Orchard Development, which is rehabilitating several historic buildings in St. Louis. He also is developing Trianon, a high-rise residential development in Clayton. None of his projects required eminent domain.

“The decision will have a chilling effect on any community government thinking about invoking eminent domain,” Case said.

Rule of law and the right to private property do so stand in the way of unbridled greed.

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One Thing, Unfigured Out

I read an article from about varied job backgrounds because, brothers and sisters, I was not just born the pestilence onto software that I am. So this article tries to tell me how to use that: A diverse background isn’t necessarily a problem, but two things struck me.

One, this quote:

Remember from the movie “City Slickers,” old Curley holding up his gloved hand and saying, “One thing — and you’ve got to figure out what that thing is.”

Um, no, both IMDB and I remember it like this:

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger]
Curly: This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out.

Secondly, dude, your mailto link is messed up and is carrying through the headline and the first paragraph:

Bad mailto link

Well, I guess I have found my one true thing, the story to tell my future interviews and clients.

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Sometimes Blight Means, You Know, Blight

Missouri courts block expansive definition of blight, disgruntling land-rustling developers and their greedy municipal sidekicks:

The Missouri Supreme Court narrowed the bounds of eminent domain Tuesday in rejecting the Centene Plaza plan for downtown Clayton and raising the bar for taking private property.

The upscale city failed to prove that property in the 7700 block of Forsyth Boulevard was blighted, the judges ruled in a 6-1 decision favoring landowners who fought condemnation.

City officials began the process to take the land in late 2005 as a site for a $210 million office-retail complex whose future is now in question.

Under the ruling, developers who seek to use condemnation to take land from other private owners will have to give proof that the property is not only old or of obsolete design but that it impacts health and safety as well.

This is very good news for property owners. Now they cannot be thrown out for owning uncool buildings or not producing the maximum level of revenue possible (at least, not until another court determines that impacts health and safety means “doesn’t provide sales tax revenue that funds local EMT services.”

And for the kids in the Mystery Machine, this is also good news, since it will force developers to once again rely on the trick of convincing land owners that the property is haunted, and hey, that made for great cartoons.

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One Stop Shopping

As Jack Travis said in Lethal Weapon 3:

The police department’s got it all: guns, ammo, drugs, cash… it’s a one-stop shopping center. If you’ve got the balls and the brains, there’s not a fucking thing anyone can do about it!

So it goes:

Explosives capable of causing “extensive damage” have been stolen from a St. Charles County firing range used by the sheriff’s office and the FBI, federal officials said Tuesday.

Officials are still trying to determine how much dynamite, C-4 and other explosives were taken and exactly who was responsible.

And special kudos to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for its discretion:

The explosives, including C-4, dynamite and safety fuse, were being stored at the St. Charles County training center and firearms range at 1835 South Highway 94, Schmitz said. The range is located in a rural area.

They were stored properly in the federally approved storage magazine, which resembles a large construction Dumpster, Schmitz said.

Awesome. Now everyone knows exactly where to find bomb making equipment in the future and exactly what sort of storage mechanism to look for.

In the novel or screenplay I build from this, the crooks/terrorists/bad guys will just use a construction truck that hauls away large construction dumpsters to pick it up.

Maybe I’ll even make the bad guys disgruntled land developers. They’d have access to that sort of thing and a strong urge to blight an area.

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Just Watching It For The Commercials

I’ve found myself watching YouTube renditions of various and sundry commercials and “viral” advertisements lately. Once a series grabs me, I like to watch a pile of them, which makes them amusing if not effective. Brand awareness and affinity? You bet.

First, thanks to a post on, I started watching the “Making Things Right with Pete and Red series” for Haggar:

These represent an extended version of some television commercials. You can find the HaggarFilms list on YouTube here and on the Haggar site here. And, if you search around on YouTube, you can find others and the 30 second cuts that appeared on television. Makes me want to go out and buy pants.

Secondly, when Carl’s sued Jack in the Box for its Angus commercials, I went right out to review the advertisements in question. Here’s one:

Using YouTube’s related suggestions and search mechanism, I found a number of other of the commercials I liked. I watched some that I’d seen on television. Particularly “The Intern,” which I watched again during the creation of this post. Carl’s probably made a mistake bigger than hiring Norm MacDonald to voice its star.

So then I went to find an old Bud commercial with the beavers because every now and then I think the tagline Naughty little beavers and want to use it in professional conversation but I cannot without it sounding, well, worthy of a call to HR. But I’ll embed it here because the more it becomes known, the less chance I’ll have to think of euphemisms for “fired for sexual harrassment” to use in job interviews for “Why did you leave your last job?”

Or the “Willy! It’s go time.” commercial:

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t drink Budweiser if I was drowning (which, ultimately, makes no sense). However, I like the commercials.

What’s my point? Oh, yeah, if you’re all slavering to get into Web 2.0 advertising–that is, to save money on actually distributing/running your adverts, you probably ought to spend money on the production of them and make them amusing and funny enough to warrant further watching. Sure, it’s cheap, but so’s a blog, and if this blog serves any lesson for you it’s that you can have a steady Web presence, but just because you put it out there doesn’t mean you’re doing your clients any favors or garnering any attention.

And here’s the only YouTube commercial I have ever bookmarked: Folger’s Happy Morning:

The last coffee I bought was Folger’s, partly because I was trimming expenditures from the $20 a pound stuff but partly, perhaps, because I enjoyed an amusing video that I could watch over and over again for the same set of amusement.

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Must Be An Al Qaeda Cell

Bogus storm reports probed: FBI joins search for fake warning source:

The FBI has joined the effort to find whoever has been sending false reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.

The service began getting the reports in mid-April through an online form on its Web site. The areas affected by the reports have included Milwaukee, La Crosse, Chicago, and Lincoln, Ill., said Tom Schwein, chief of the National Weather Service’s systems and facilities division for the central region in Kansas City, Mo.

“We’ve been detecting a regular pattern of a person who has been submitting false severe weather reports that are constructed in a way that seem very realistic,” Schwein said. “Whoever this person is seems to have knowledge of severe weather reports. When they send in reports, they seem very plausible.”

It’s fortunate that the FBI has nothing to worry about more than pranks.

Schwein likened the reports to calling in a false bomb threat or pulling a fire alarm when there is no fire.

Oh, puhlease.

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Maybe She Should Have Shot Her Husband Dead

Let your child drink at home: 27 months in jail:

Elisa Kelly did not want her teenage son, Ryan, or his friends to endanger their lives by drinking and driving. So she decided to let him have a 16th birthday party at home, where she would supply the beer, confiscate all the car keys and supervise a nightlong sleep-over.

Today she begins a 27-month jail sentence imposed by courts in Virginia – where drinking is banned for people under the age of 21 – for “contributing to the delinquency of minors”.

That’s reduced from the original sentence of 8 years in jail.

On the less serious end of crime, we have shoot your husband dead, 210 days in jail:

Knoxville native Mary Winkler will go to jail in connection with the killing of her minister husband.

A judge sentenced Winkler to three years of split confinement in connection with the shotgun slaying of her husband in March of 2006.

Of that, she’s been ordered to serve 210 days in jail.

But she apparently prays for her ex-husband’s family every day that they can find peace. That’s swell of her.

Respect for law and order continues to erode as society contemplates how serving liquor to teenagers is considered a far more serious offense than shooting someone in cold blood.

(Links seen on a big victory, Dr. Helen.)

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That’s An Expensive Twinkie

A blow-in from Capper’s offers something less than a deal:

Capper's Subscription Deal

The headline implies that the issues are $14.95 each, which is $179.40 for a year’s subscription.

Somewhere, a proofreader or QA professional might have indicated that the headline was unclear, but this was overruled by someone in a hurry to get the proofs off to the printer. No one would get that impression and mock the magazine/its brand for the headline.

Oh, how wrong you are. Mock. Mock.

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