Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Farewell Chucky

Today we held a farewell ceremony for one of our Captains. This ceremony is relatively new after our union decided that the former custom of "don't let the backdoor hit you where the good Lord split you" was ill befitting a honorable career in police work. So for the last few years forty or so of us assemble in the back parking lot with our honor guard, serenade the honoree with some bagpipe music and after some brief remarks give a final salute to our brother or sister who is going on to a well deserved retirement.

While I have attended a good number of these and and miss all of those who have left Chuck is a special case. You see, the police academy provides you with the basic skills you need to become a competent cop which in this day and age is a bit of a complicated affair. Unlike the days when guys like Chuck could get away with managing a domestic dispute in an informal way or kick a wise kid in the ass to get them on the straight and narrow today in law enforcement you have to be part lawyer, social worker, clergy and any one of a dozen other specialties rolled in to one disgustingly uncomfortable polyester shirt. Not that I am complaining, just explaining to the uninitiated a bit about the evolution of the job.

Chuck was a special case in that almost twenty five years ago when I walked in to the building a fresh faced rookie he was my first Watch Commander. While there are countless promotional classes that can be had to provide preparation to one day become a Sergeant or above in rank the actual nuts and bolts of being a good cop and then one day a decent supervisor largely rests in the actions of those who you work for early in your career. Early on, having set my sights on some lofty goals I decided I would watch the veritable buffet of personalities that our superior officers were and in my own way adopt the positive and cast off the negatives in order to acquire what I thought were good attributes. I like to think that the method has paid some dividends. While I am far from perfect I can say honestly it was men like Chuck who showed me the right way to do things.

While we didn't always agree and had our differences over the years I am in his debt for his guidance. In his youth (he was hired around the time Woodstock was being held) he was notorious for being in some of the most wild high speed chases ever in the annals of local law enforcement. Legend has it that in one episode he took the local toll booth at about 140 mph in order to catch a fleeing felon.

So good luck Chuck. May you have a healthy and happy retirement. May you celebrate with the glee that I am sure the Garden State Parkway toll workers are experiencing today knowing that being sucked out of their booth by the suction of a Plymouth travelling at light speed will no longer be a threat.

The other shoe has dropped

The latest sign of political Apocalypse is upon us. Now we have a comedian in the US Senate. He should be a welcome addition to the collection of clowns and buffoons who will now tax us in to serf like subservience to the Liberal Lord of the Manor. Spending Trillions of our money on failed "stimulus" packages and the fable of global warming these nitwits will not be happy until the proud American working family is growing crops in the median of the nearest interstate highway and anyplace else that will provide a sustenance crop. Oh, did I mention that the Obamacrats can now stuff their socialist agenda down our throats will a Filibuster proof majority. Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis.

Sly like a fox

One of the things that you can always find on The Drudge Report are the current ratings for news shows, particularly the cable news. I think it might be very telling that the Fox News Channel took the top ten slots in the Cable News ratings for the most recent period.

It is no secret that Fox has a tendency to lean right in its reporting. Notice I said lean. For the most part it seems that their reporting is fair and balanced to use their own advertising catch phrase. It seems to me that those in the center and those who defected the conservative cause are relying more on outlets like Fox to provide some unvarnished news rather than the pablum served up by the talking heads on the "mainstream" media outlets. While at times they can get a bit too cutesy (the Morning Show is usually a bit hard to digest) and I think everyone could do with a lot less Geraldo Rivera by and large it is a great channel for opinion and news. Despite a brief fit of rage when they did not renew and subsequently lost Kiran Chetry to CNN I have been relying on them for a long time for one of my daily news sources.

So, kudos to Rupert and company and let us hope that the trend seen in their viewership will reflect a change in political winds that will signal the end to the madness in Washington.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A special place in Hell?

Patricia Adams saw an opportunity during services at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church – and it wasn't for worship. While a devout parishioner knelt down in prayer, the 46-year-old learned over a church pew and stole cash from her purse, police said. An usher saw her do it and called the cops.

Cops arrested Adams as she left the church yesterday morning. They recovered the stolen goods and returned them to the unsuspecting victim.

People don't understand that predators lurk everywhere. Its sad that even in church there is some opportunist waiting to strike. Always be aware of your surroundings. I see stuff like this happen all of the time.

The rest of the story is here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Turnabout is fair play

For my friends in California who like to pick on New Jersey (usually with justification) here is one I received via email today.

Do you know what happened 159 years ago this fall... back in 1850?

California became a state
The people had no electricity.
The state had no money.
Almost everyone spoke Spanish.
There were gunfights in the streets.
basically nothing has changed except the women had real boobs and the men didn't hold hands.

Going Old School

After a good amount of preparation our Schola and the Chamber Choir from Saint Mary's will be singing a Missa Cantata at Saint Ambrose Church in Old Bridge.

For the better part of us Latin has been a really new experience since most of us were at best toddlers when the change to the Novus Ordo took place. However, trepidations aside we will be doing our best to make this liturgy the special event it should be.

Grateful thanks to Father Bob for inviting us.

Bonnie Dundee

Well, we are off to a thunderous start. Our as of yet unnamed Pipe Band had our first official practice today. It was very pleasurable. It is so nice to sit down at a table of accomplished musicians and play some new and challenging tunes. I expect that this venture will be nothing short of a rousing success. Honey in the Bag and Bonnie Dundee were the tunes of the day. If nothing else it beats the hell out of Minstrel Boy ad nauseum.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Can someone explain

Why in our homes we are smart enough to put exhaust fans in the bathroom to battle the gastric backlash of the occasional culinary misstep yet in an Emergency Room where vile odors should be something to anticipate noone has figured out an adequate ventialtion system. For goodness sake. When you get wheeled in to an ER with chest pain or with your kid who needs a few stitches do you really need to be assailed by the unmistakable odor of a Code Brown?

Not Charlie's Angel anymore

Another sign of getting older is the passing of a generational icon. While she didn't split the atom or cure cancer Farrah Fawcett was a cultural icon of my youth. She was the first "girl" poster to adorn my bedroom and lets face it. She was beautiful. May she rest in peace.

Death Watch

If you ever find yourself contemplating suicide DO NOT watch your State Legislature in action on public television. Such was my misfortune this afternoon as the State Assembly debated and then passed by an 11 vote margin the 29 Billion Dollar New Jersey budget. While I did manage to survive the session without driving to the nearest highway overpass and jumping off I believe I did witness a death of sorts.

According to several of the speakers the median household income in this State is 81 thousand dollars. As if the current tax burden is not enough for the middle class to endure the legislature has through this budget document added another $1200 to the average tax bill for a New Jersey taxpayer. Bad as that is there will be a marked increase in "sin' taxes on tobacco and alcohol and a host of other bad business decisions using one time funding gimmicks and payment deferrals. The short of it is that as bad as it is getting in California, we won't be far behind.

What disturbed me the most was the swarmy way some of the Assembly members addressed the criticisms of both their colleagues and constituents. It was a true "let them eat cake" moment Ala' Marie Antoinette. More disturbing is that come November, most of them will be reelected.

As if the steaming plate of excrement being served up in Trenton isn't enough check out this quote from The Home News Tribune:

Republicans said there will remain a deficit next year of $5 billion -- maybe even twice that, some senators estimate. Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-Mercer, said that will require more tough decisions and that the state will benefit from economic policies of resident Barack Obama nationally and Gov. Jon S. Corzine in New Jersey.

"I look forward to there being a more energized, energetic and healthy economy, predicated in part by new and more sane and reasonable policies coming out of the federal government with the capacity to provide more stimulus to our state,'' said Watson Coleman.

This my friends is what is steering the ship. President Obama is going to make it all better. I think not. More likely is that over the next decade this once proud State is going to evolve in to a two class organism. With the very rich living in Alpine and Bedminster and the befuddled masses living on the periphery trying to eke out a living in the few jobs remaining after business in this State has been taxed out of existence. While the ruling elite gather under the golden dome of the Statehouse wondering why all of us serfs have fled to the Carolinas.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


While cruising the blogs today I spotted an interesting post over at Rocco's place about Archbishop Dolan. There had been a great deal of run up to his assignment to the premier See of the US Church when he was named to New York. People that knew little of him wondered why he was chosen.

Stop over at Whispers in the Loggia and check out how a true leader reaches out to the folks that work for him. I was very impressed. I think you will be too.

Turn about is fair play

Martina Navratilova is being sued for millions by a former lover who claims she was dumped without warning after nearly eight years.

Toni Layton has filed a lawsuit for the ‘emotional, mental and physical trauma’ she claims she suffered.

She says she was ‘removed’ from the tennis legend’s life and locked out of the six multi-million-dollar homes they shared.

How does that saying go? Be careful what you wish for.....it may come true. The story is here at the Daily Mail.

Barney is at it again

No not the dinosaur. The Congressman from Massachusetts. Ignoring the fact that the Clinton Administration in large part created the mortgage crisis that nearly caused a global economic meltdown Barney Frank has decided to impart more of his "wisdom" on the financial community.

(Reuters) - Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.

In a letter to the CEO's of both companies, Representatives Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Anthony Weiner warned that a 70 percent sales threshold "may be too onerous" and could lead condo buyers to shun new developments, according to the paper.

Can someone please tell me why there is not mandatory random urine testing in Congress. If its important enough to test folks that have jobs that could require in heinous crashes involving hundreds of death doesn't logic then dictate that people like Barney who can cause a crash that will ruin the lives of millions to be tested as well?

The rest here.

How cool is this?

Remember when we were kids and the Teacher would tell you about all of the wonderful things that will improve our life in the future? Well check this story out.

NEW BRUNSWICK — Surgeons at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital became the first in the nation to successfully implant a self-contained artificial heart in a patient since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

The patient, a 76-year-old man, did not qualify for a heart transplant or other available therapies and was determined to be in severe end-stage heart failure. He therefore becoming eligible for the innovative procedure through the implant of the AbioCor, Total Replacement Heart — the world's first completely self-contained, fully implantable artificial heart.

Unlike the Jarvik 7 which required the patient to be tethered to a machine about the size of your average ATV this device is completely self contained. Kind of creepy but cool nonetheless. Of course this will mean yet another in service on a new medical device if I had to guess. Who'd have thought this possible?

The whole article is at the Home News Tribune.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mathematical Miracle in NJ

Second only to California in the knee dip in fiscal doo doo department New Jersey seems to be skirting a financial crisis by the skin of its teeth. Despite what is obvious to even the most casual observer the legislature in Trenton has used every smoke and mirror trick in the book in an ongoing attempt to fund an unsustainable government. Even the iconic Homestead Rebate that State Government doles out every year like an anorexic chicken passed from the back door of Tammany Hall to pay for a vote has pretty much disappeared. After months of bad news from Trenton that has still not caused one of our Assembly or Senate to take a hatchet to spending a miracle occurred this week.

Apparently our astute State Treasurer located 550 million dollars they did not know they had! Imagine that, misplacing 550 million dollars. Now, like everyone else I have lost things in the past. Keys leap to mind and the occasional small piece of hardware. But I am hard pressed to understand how anyone with the proper amount of chromosomes could "misplace" that amount of money. Now Corzine and his cabinet have explained to we dunces that this is found money that resulted from a State Tax Amnesty program. Does that then mean that the entire Department of Taxation is incapable of tracking down 550 million dollars worth of tax cheats?

Great. Crooked and incompetent. Welcome to New Jersey. Where apparently the tap water has eroded the free will of the majority of us who keep putting these people in office.

Gotta love those crazy Firemen

HONOLULU — Oahu firefighters have been issued a reminder to be sure to turn off cooking equipment when responding to emergencies.

The advice comes in the wake of a May 22 blaze at the Waipahu fire station that caused about $25,000 damage.

Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Terry Seelig says food was inadvertently left cooking on a stove when the firefighters responded to an emergency call involving a traffic accident.

The rest of the story is here.

Another layer off the onion

As more of the Obama Healthcare Scheme unfolds more disturbing data is beginning to surface. Here are some facts for you to digest today.

About one in eight U.S. workers who receive health benefits from an employer -- more than nine million workers -- could pay higher income taxes on benefits as part of a Senate proposal that aims to raise billions of dollars to finance health-care reform, according an independent analysis of the proposal.

So in addition to your income tax this new back door method will ensure that anything that can remotely be considered compensation will be subject to tax. Liberal apologists will say in defense of this idea "but they are only going to tax the rich". For sake of argument lets take a look at the initial proposed numbers from chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

  • Tax benefits of single workers who earn more than $100,000 a year and couples that earn more than $200,000. The presentation cites a previous estimate from the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation [JCT] that the proposal would raise $161.9 billion over 10 years if the changes were effective on January 1, 2010.
  • Tax benefits that exceed a value of $6,182 for a single worker and a value of $15,700 for a worker who also receives coverage for his family. The document cites a previous JCT estimate that the proposal would raise $418 billion over a decade if the changes were effective January 1, 2010.
  • Tax those “base” benefits plus 10%, or a value of $6,800 for an individual worker and a value of $17,240 for families. The higher cap would eliminate taxes for some workers. The document says Baucus has requested an estimate, presumably from the JCT, of how much this proposal would generate in new tax revenue with the change effective January 1, 2013.
  • Tax base benefits plus 20%, or a value of $7,420 for an individual and a value of $18,840 for families, which would shelter even more workers from tax liability. Baucus also has requested, presumably from the JTC, an estimate for this proposal also effective January 1, 2013.
Watch how this unfolds. They roll out a tax that will only be applied to the rich, defined in Washingtonese as households that make over 200K per year. As the debate on this process unfolds do not be surprised as this number begins to creep downward to the point that the scope of this new tax will exceed the 9 million households it is expected to affect. This will affect every working family in the country who has the gall to have two working adults that are trying to eke out a better existence for their family.

This my friends is Socialism. Others will spin the story hither and yon but this is all about taking something you earn and giving it to someone else. In addition to increasing your yearly burden of feeding the Washington machine this will certainly impact your ability to be charitable. See what happens to organizations that truly help the poor. Churches and volunteer social programs that feed the hungry and clothe the naked will see dramatic dips in donations. Remember that most of these organizations can reliably provide social services with a minimum of administrative costs thus making sure that more of every dollar donated gets to the people who need it. How lean do you think the Washington bureaucracy will be that manages this new pile of untold government pork. Pork my friends that will have to be sustained by generations of our descendants long after we are dead and gone. Now can you see that when you are duped in to following Socialist ideas and you choose to cast your ballot for their vision of Utopia the reward you will receive. Less of your hard earned money for your family and more for someone else.

You can read the whole article here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

RIP Father Tim

I found this over at the Deacon's Bench.

Five years after being gravely wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq, the Rev. Tim Vakoc, a well-known and much-loved Roman Catholic priest from Minnesota, has died, his family said Sunday.

Father Tim, as he was known, was the first military chaplain grievously wounded in the Iraq war. He was injured by a roadside bomb as he was returning from celebrating mass with troops on May 29, 2004, the day before the 12th anniversary of his ordination as a priest.

In your charity please pray for the repose of his soul. You can read more about this brave Priest here.

The cat is out of the bag

Obama's proposal to provide health insurance for some 50 million Americans who lack it has become a contentious point for a Democratic-controlled House and Senate struggling to reach a consensus Obama desperately wants.

Much of the concern came after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the plan would cost $1 trillion over 10 years but cover only about one-third of those now lacking health insurance.

Democrats protested that the estimate overlooked important money-savers to be added later.

Not to pee on anyone's Cheerios but if there are money savers that can fund this program why can't they be revealed now. Anyone want to hazard a guess? If your brain is larger than a pea you can comfortably surmise that there is a) no funding available, b) there will be no savings to be found if and when the plan is implemented and c) once it becomes part of another government entitlement and these clowns are voted out of office they will finger point and blame the next administration for failing to fund it adequately.

If you need any more proof than looking at the ongoing struggle to fund Social Security in perpetuity you may need to open a window for some fresh air. Its basic math. The thing that really perplexes me it that during the Manhattan Project we could pool resources and solve a mystery or two of the Universe and not one clear thinking individual could be located in Washington who could locate even a myopic actuary to flesh the numbers. Oh, who am I kidding? A clear thinking person in Washington?

The rest at My Way News.

For Dad

You might wonder who the bearded man in the over sized Boy Scout uniform is. Simply its my Dad. This snapshot is probably circa 1971 or so and shows my Dad bestowing one of the many gifts he showered my siblings and I with over the years. No matter what the activity, Scouts, Pop Warner, Little League Dad was always there and usually after a month or two running the program. He was and is a believer in that you get what you give. And for over forty years if he has given to his community in spades he has given to his children in truck loads. And while age has creeped up on us all he is still Dad in addition to the added responsibilities of being the world's greatest Dzadjie (that's Polish for Grandfather for the uninitiated.) Sto Lat Dad! And happy Father's Day.

Best laid plans

So, how was the trip do you ask? Well, since I was supposed to be in Washington until Monday afternoon and am posting from home you can surmise that things did not go as planned.

After leaving Baltimore Saturday morning and travelling to DC I had discussed with my wife stopping for the only "DAD" stop on this trip. Moms and Dads will be familiar with this idea. Out of an entire trip you pick one brief stop you would like to make to satisfy a particular personal need and after making it as brief as possible so as not to interrupt the flow of family events you forge ahead to all of your other planned stops. Such was the case as we entered Washington and headed directly to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Located on the campus of the Catholic University of America, where my beloved Sister obtained her undergraduate degree it is probably the most beautiful Cathedrals this side of Rome. Dutifully following our GPS we cruised in to DC under cloudy skies and finally reached the parking lot next to the Basilica which was packed. Luckily we were allowed to make a space where none had existed before by a most generous fellow running the parking lot whereupon my wife collected our Daughter and I retrieved my camera bag. As I gleefully rubbed my finger tips together in anticipation of removing the treasured Nikon from its safe confines (much in the same way I imaging Bill Clinton anticipating the first bite of an Egg McMuffin) the skies opened and began to dump floods of biblical proportion on us. Not your usual driving rain mind you but rather Noah get your lazy ass off the couch and finish the Ark rain. As I opened my mouth to shout to my wife to alert her to the evolving maelstrom the sound of my frustrated voice was drowned out by thunder seconds after a sizable "oh now you've made me angry" lightning bolt zipped from the heavens. So off we trotted the five hundred yards or so to the safety of the lower level of the Church.

As we entered it was hard not to notice that about all but ten or so of the Catholics in Vietnam had picked today to make their pilgrimage. In celebration of the feast of Our Lady of La Vang the Vietnamese community were preparing for a Mass in the Crypt Church complete with orchestra, choir and more Knights of Columbus than I have ever seen in one place. Not to be deterred from our own aims of some quiet prayer and poor amateur photography I explained to my wife that we would simply see the chapels in the lower church, skip the Crypt Church until later or another visit and proceed up to the main floor to drink in the site of some fantastic iconography and mosaics. Knowing how badly I have wanted to make this stop she eagerly assented to my plan and all was well as we ascended the steps that would bring us to the entrance at the polar opposite of the Main Altar. That's when like three raccoons caught in the beam of a bright light rummaging through a suburban garbage can that we realized that we had walked in to the Ordination Mass of 9 Priests for the Archdiocese of Washington. Not to be deterred I decided to camp out in the back, attempt to remain unobtrusive, groove on the pipe organ music and enjoy what remained of the Ordination having only seen two in my life. I quietly pointed out to my wife the distant red splotch that I assured her was Theodore Cardinal McCarrick attending the Mass in choir. The Cardinal was the first Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen when it was erected by Pope John Paul II. Missteps aside I was happy to find myself at the terminal end of the main aisle of the Cathedral. I was sure that despite most of my photographic hopes having been dashed that I would have a golden opportunity to get great pictures of the procession of the Cardinal, Archbishop Wuerl and the several hundred priests as they left the church. Imaging when my surprise when at the last possible minute the hooked a left and went up a side aisle to make a hasty retreat to the sacristy. By now completely crestfallen we took our leave of the Basilica and headed to the hotel.

The balance of the day was spent at the National Archives and the Museum of American History. If you have even the slightest interest in American History these are two must see spots in the DC area. While there are countless sites of equal magnitude where else are you going to see originals of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta?

Day two was supposed to be the major monuments and a trek to Arlington National Cemetery. Supposed to be.

We had planned to get up early and get to Mass at Saint Patrick's Church just about four blocks from our hotel. My wife is really good about making sure we all get to mass on Sunday and I thought it would be neat to go to the oldest Parish in DC. Well it would have been.

Short of getting a call from home that your teenager has accidentally set one of the cats on fire nothing will cut a trip short faster than an eight year old with a 102 fever. Thus, the end to our visit to the Capitol.

Not the Father's Day that I had planned for sure but then when is life really a Hallmark moment. After all it is really kind of a bogus holiday after all. And frankly a badly matched tie or bauble that will find its way into a forgotten drawer faster than Congress will find a new way to reach in to your pocket isn't at all what being a Dad is all about. Not that I am any kind of expert but for me at least it was about the peaceful look on my little girl's face when we told her we were going home early and her acceptance of gentle assurances that we would return soon when circumstances permit. It is about the two hours we promoted my little girl to the front seat and demoted the Mrs. to the back as we wound through the Maryland countryside just kidding each other and giggling like two idiots. And in a different kind of way it was about tipping off my oldest that we would be coming home a day early so he could clean up the house and not be in the deepest of trouble when we got home (though at some point we will be discussing why my metal "extra company is coming" folding chairs were left out in the rain).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lucky Shot

Unlike the Diginatrix who has talent in the world of digital photography I am still learning to shoot without resorting to dum dum mode on the camera. Despite my struggles to master shutter speed and F stops and all of that bunk by the end of our visit to the National Aquarium I managed to get one, and only one good shot. Of course it wasn't anything cool like the huge rays or the nasty looking sharks (my post Jaws fears having been confirmed once again, this time from two inches away). No, it was this lonely jelly fish.

Hopefully I will again be lucky enough next month to spend a few hours with the intrepid H. Carl Farvman who will take me and my developmentally disabled shutterbug efforts to a more dependable level. Oh well, maybe with some good light and big white monuments my efforts in DC will be a bit more acceptable.

For my favorite Coasties

This Coast Guard Cutter is the last surviving ship that was present at Pearl Harbor during the 1941 attack. She saw service through the Vietnam era and is now maintained as a museum in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. So, Jay, Keith, Mike and Maggie.....enjoy.

On the road again

Desperately needing a respite from the silliness going on in New Jersey (budgeting in the face of looming bankruptcy aka the Trenton shuffle) we decided to take a long weekend and get out of town for the first time in.....well, its been a while. Leaving Number One son home to work and ostensibly be in charge of the menagerie we headed south this morning for a two hour jaunt to Cape May. After a very tasty breakfast at a place called McGlades (thanks Cape May Sue) we boarded the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and crossed the bay to Delaware. After winding our way through Delaware (I could get to like it there) and Maryland we are now in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore. Lots to see here but this is but an overnight pit stop before going to Washington DC in the morning.

The National Aquarium here is really great and there is way to much to see in the short time we are here. If I wasn't too lazy to make yet another trip to the car I would upload pictures but that will have to wait for some additional motivation. For all of you who have made the request that I appropriately greet our Commander in Chief should we cross paths I have been diligently practicing that one fingered wave just in case I see his motorcade. He could use a little Jersey hospitality.

(A parting shot of the Cape May Lighthouse from the M/V Delaware)

But for now, off to a local crab house for the best crab on the east coast. Maryland Crab!

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's supreme leader said Friday that there was "definitive victory" and no rigging in disputed presidential elections, offering no concession to protesters demanding the vote be canceled and held again.

In his first public address since demonstrators flooded the streets, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said protests should cease and the opposition must pursue its complaints within the confines of the cleric-led ruling system.

He then jumped on his magic carpet to spend the weekend at Camp Ali Baba the Supreme Leaders desert camp just outside Tehran. The rest at FoxNews.com.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One too many Trekkie conventions?

From the Daily Mail:

William Shatner became one of the all-time nightmare guests on an American TV show after making a series of rude hand gestures at the host.

Red-faced and visibly sweating the 78-year-old Star Trek actor appeared out of sorts on the long-running Tonight Show.

The actor mimed masturbation and flicked the finger at host Conan during the interview.

Maybe we can get him this prosthetic.

He's an excellent driver

Last August, when Barack Obama introduced Joe Biden as his choice for vice president, he praised the Delaware senator's strength in foreign policy and defense issues -- areas widely thought to be weaknesses in Obama's resume.

But five months into his vice presidency, Biden appears to have been pushed into the background, focusing on overseeing the implementation of Obama's $787 billion stimulus package, the creation of jobs and other domestic matters as the president and former rival Hillary Clinton -- and even former Sen. George Mitchell -- deal with the growing crises in Iran and North Korea, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and rewriting the way America deals with a hostile Muslim world. From FoxNews.com.

Has Al Gore started a new magazine?

Compliments of the check out line at the grocery store.

PETA and other household pests

This week PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) chastised President Obama for killing a fly that was buzzing around his head during an interview. The President dispatched the offending insect with precision. PETA feels the insect should have been trapped and released alive back in to the wild.

I am reminded of a T shirt a friend of mine wears. There is a place for all creatures on God's Earth, next to the gravy and mashed potatoes. These folks need to get a life.

Dirty Jobs

What does it say about our society when this has to be a rule?

The Brooksville city council recently approved a revised dress code as part of its effort to update existing policies.

The revision instructs employees to observe "strict personal hygiene," including the use of deodorant. It lists "the observable lack of undergarments and exposed undergarments" as "unacceptable attire."

The story can be found here.

Happy Anniversary Deacons

Forty two years ago today the Pope issued a motu propio restoring the Permanent Diaconate. These valuable men have been a great resource for the Roman Catholic Church and have enabled her to carry on her mission in the face of a growing shortage of Priests.

Congratulations to my friend Deacon Mickey and our Parish's Deacon Tom. Thank you for your service.

The whole story is here.

Boxer Rebellion

Overheard at a Senate hearing yesterday:

"Could you say 'senator' instead of 'ma'am?' It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title. I'd appreciate it."

I can think of a few other names he could have called her.

The rest at Politics Daily.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why you should not park near a fire hydrant

The smell of fear

While scanning the news today it occurred to me that our current National Government is facing a mounting array of attacks, both direct and indirect. Crises are developing all over the globe that will certainly impact the USA.

Long range nuclear missiles in North Korea, an unstable government in Iran and Pakistan both of whom have nuclear capabilities, and China and Russia attempting to officially subvert the dollar and further weaken our economy. Then of course there is always that nut in Venezuela.

Regardless of your party loyalties isn't it odd that these animals have been particularly active since President Obama took office. While many people accused President Bush of being a "cowboy" when it came to international affairs it strikes me that none of them tried this nonsense on his watch.

Funny thing about animals, they can always sense fear and weakness.

Iran......Gdansk or Tiannamen?

With all of the domestic problems we are facing in this country the coverage of what is evolving in Iran has drifted to the lower reaches of the news feeds but keeping an eye on it might be a good idea. Certainly it is in our national interest if the current regime is removed and a more centrist or modernist government put in place. It is good for us and certainly good for the Iranian people.

Living in a country where we are blessed with the ability to change our National Government by ballot we are never subjected to living under harsh brutal dictators. Sometimes its too easy to forget that there are still substantial numbers of people in the world who go to bed at night worrying that the secret police will be at their door to make them disappear.

During a recent conversation with a co worker who recently returned from Iraq I asked him what the real story was in the Middle East. Are we making progress? He said yes but qualified his statement with the observation that while a great many people in the region have many modern amenities like cell phones and high speed Internet access the majority of them are still positively medieval in their thinking.

Lets hope that the brave people in Iran, those who would rather foster democracy then destroy America are successful in achieving their freedom.

Norman Bates redux

From NBC News New York:

Thomas Parkin was in need of immediate cash flow so he started dressing up as his dead mother in order to collect her Social Security benefits, according to Charles Hynes Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, who announced the arrest this morning. The scam worked so well he did it for six years.

Cue the Music (Poor substitute for the real copyrighted scene)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fusili Maestro

For those of you who are die hard Seinfeld fans you will remember the episode where Kramer goes on a tear making figures of friends and acquaintances from fusilli pasta. My friend the Maestro, who is allegedly cleaning his office tomorrow, was showing me a figurine given to him by a friend. It is called the Mad Choirmaster and while not made from pasta its pretty amazing. Apparently the artist uses a variety of supplies (some of them parts from action figures) that he uses his talent to transform. Pretty cool.

Feeding the Monster

Oddly, since the beginning of my academic career at Washington Elementary school I have had a passion for reading. It all began innocently enough. My first grade teacher was Miss Mary Snyder who had been a teacher in our town since the original one room schoolhouse aka the Burts Creek School. Think Little House on the Prairie and you will get the picture. Anyway, as first grade students we were required to choose one book a week from the several shelves in the classroom which we were supposed to take home and read. This was a regular assignment that lasted the whole year. While most of the books were of the See Dick and Jane nature there was a low shelf full of rather large books in the class as well. Enamored by the pictures of exotic things like Eskimos and Igloos I would take these books home for my assignment not knowing that they were fourth and fifth grade level books. As I was the oldest and as kids do not come with an owners manual my Mother thought this was the current level of performance nominally expected of a first grade kid. Thus began what would become a two year period of absolute reading hell. I would have to read a half hour after homework every night. I would whine, she would yell, but unless the heavens came crashing down, I would read.

By the time anyone figured out that there was some kind of mistake two things happened. First, I was able to read at an amazingly fast and accurate rate, and second I developed a life long habit of reading for leisure. The plus side is that I can bang out the average NY Times best seller in about three to four hours. The down side is that drug addiction has to be a less expensive habit. I guess Mom takes some ownership of the problem. Our local Public Library had its annual sale this weekend. What is pictured is the pile she dropped off at my house. Thanks again Mom, that should get me through vacation.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Young Mr. Edison

Better living through electricity. A young subject barricaded in a bathroom with a small sword or large knife (depending on your point of view) held to his own throat. This is video of the police response and use of a Taser.

Deaf Rabbit and the end of an era

Get it? Era? OK, really bad pun. But today ends analog TV broadcasting in the US. Not that big of a deal really but it made me remember how far technology has come in my lifetime. Like many of you I can clearly remember the days when TV offered a whopping six channels here in the NY Metro area unless you counted Channel 13. A remote was Dad saying "hey, turn it to Channel Five, the news is coming on" and you waltzing across the living room to turn the knob. From black and white analog to digital high definition. If you think about it that's pretty amazing. But as cool as technology is our kids are missing out on some cool stuff as well.

Wonderama with Sonny Fox and then Bob McAllister. Captain Jack McCarthy and Officer Joe Bolton. Real Saturday cartoons, the only time there was really a demand or need for kids programming because the rest of the time you weren't cocooned in climate control. Abbot and Costello movies on Sunday afternoons after Mass, the Dead End Kids and of course the stooges were all staples of weekly viewing.

I suppose the curse of getting older is the need to wax nostalgic, but I can't help but feel sorry for our kids and the simple pleasures they will never know. Just like I am sure my eight year old feels sorry for me when for the umpteenth time I tell her about black and white TV and the Rabbit Ear sprint.

Special Olympics Torch Run 2009

Its been cool and raining for the last two weeks here. So what do you do on the first day when the humidity hits 1000% and it feels like you are on the surface of the Sun? Why, you run in a five mile charity event to raise money for the NJ Special Olympics.

Each year a group of intrepid men and women from Police Departments across New Jersey participate in this fund raiser where the Special Olympic Torch is run across the state in various legs. Invariably it winds up happening on one of the hottest days of the year. A few of the guys in these photos have been making this trek for twenty five years now.

Since a neighboring town is surrounded by us our team usually hooks up with them and they join forces for the last three miles of the run.

Since Doug here is our oldest participant this year it may not be an accident that the Office on Aging bus is in the background of the shot.

And while chronologically they were first in the run its a matter of seniority to put the overachieving young guys in the last pic. The annual Torch Run raises thousands of dollars for the Special Olympic program in New Jersey and has been a pet project of the New Jersey PBA for many years. Thanks to you who have generously supported the cause over the years.

Congrats Maggie O! Semper Paratus!

A fellow bagpiping Copper and friend of mine emailed me today with great news. His oldest daughter Maggie has been accepted to the US Coast Guard Academy. She starts Swab Summer the end of this month so she can get acclimated to the military life before beginning her first year in New London, CT. A great student and gifted swimmer to boot Maggie will be studying mechanical engineering and has aspirations to someday pilot a Jayhawk Helicopter.

She is one squared away young woman and I wish her well. I know that someday we'll all be seeing her on the Discovery Network piloting her Jayhawk to rescue some poor soul on the Bering Sea. I wonder if they have a ride along program.

Pipe Dreams

It is always nice when a day starts off as a real kick in the pants and at the last minute turns in to a really nice day after all. I was honored today by being invited to the organizational meeting for a new pipe band. Honored in the sense that among this group of very accomplished musicians I am clearly on the bottom rung in terms of ability, yet they thought enough of me to include me in this new venture. Frankly after seeing all of them sitting around the table I had the grim thought that maybe they just needed a big guy to haul the equipment.

This new affiliation should prove to be very interesting. While I don't know if our route will eventually take us to competitions I do know that the music will be choice, interesting and great to listen to while draining a pint or two.

Tom Sawyer on Bagpipes?

Probably the bagpiping equivalent of monkeys flying out of somebody's derriere but here is a clip of the Durham Regional Police Pipe Band doing just that. I never thought I would here a RUSH tune on the pipes. Twirl of the nightstick to Chris for the tip on this one.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Having had the benefit this week of spending a twenty four hour shift with my esteemed colleague H. Carl Farvman late of the Department of Homeland security I have finally started to learn the intricacies of operating my Nikon D50 in other than full imbecile mode. So while my daughter was having her weekly piano instruction courtesy of the Maestro I strolled about Saint Mary's and started futzing around with F stops and the like. This is a picture of one of the many excellent stained glass windows at Saint Mary's many of which are over one hundred years old. While some of the newer appointments are of the equivalent of carved styrofoam many of the original elements of the church remain. These include the magnificent 120 year old pipe organ. Once I get a bit more versed in the operation of this camera I will share them with you.

Management Theory Buffet

Once again I find myself preparing to go to yet another mandatory training session at the hospital where I work my second job. Just kill me. If I have learned nothing else in my twenty plus years in the employ of various health care concerns it is that not one of them has a concept of what sound management practices are.

Like fat men going from diet to diet in search of the "magic bullet" (notice I use an analogy here that I am familiar with in practice), every few months there is a new scheme that is going to retain or attract clientele to our hospital. The problem is that they never stick to one plan. Even more frustrating is that most of the plans are the same.

So off I will go again, to spend another hour of life that I will never get back, to learn the new plan that in a week no one will follow anyway. I will take solace in the fact that I get to clock in and get paid for this brief visit to purgatory.

And they're shutting all the factories down

Well, that went rather quickly. Post number 200. Not that I am the most prolific or voluminous writer but the fact that I have come this far has amazed me at least.

Today's local news is rather bleak I am sad to say. My hometown used to bear the moniker "home to nationally known industries" and was host for many years to the likes of Dupont, Hercules and National Lead. All industrial behemoths of an age passed that at one time employed collectively around ten thousand people. When I was a kid your father almost certainly worked in one of these three plants. Over the years these giants have closed or downsized and our little hamlet has, due to its close proximity to NYC, turned in to a suburban bedroom community with a reasonable commute to those cherished Manhattan jobs. Not as nice as sections of Monmouth and Bergen counties that command a higher premium but its still a really nice place to work and live. It got a bit less nice yesterday.

One of our only remaining industries, a small steel mill that employs around 200 is going to be mothballed until the economy turns around. While the parent company insists this is only a temporary measure until the demand for steel returns I am sure that is small consolation to the folks who are now looking at less than desirable employment alternatives. While most of the folks that work there are not local residents the loss to our town from losing our the biggest customer of our local water utility is in the amount of almost one million dollars. The money is going to have to come from somewhere.

Are we at bottom yet?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Sadly the news today carried the story of another cop shot and killed in the line of duty. Yes, it is part of the job and every year many officers are killed. But this year in particular there has been a noticeable increase in violent crime where guns have ended many young lives. As the economy worsens I fear we will be seeing a lot more of this.

If you have a spare moment during your busy day please take some time to stop over at the Officer Down Memorial Page and read about these heroic men and women. Or if you stop here for a visit check out the side bar. There is a link there that lists the most recent Line of Duty Deaths.

For Trooper Joshua Miller and all the fallen, rest in peace.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Nun Arrested........and lucky.

From the Curt Jester:

MIAMI - A nun from a downtown church shelter was arrested for allegedly confronting a police officer who was dealing with a homeless man armed with a knife and an ice pick.

"The nun refused to stay back. She came through the gate. At one point, she gets right in front of, or right in the middle of, the police officer and this knife-, ice pick-wielding man." Cmdr. Delrish Moss said.

It is not a game out there folks. If Sister wanted to engage in some sort of martyrdom more power to her but to risk the life of the officer......not a good idea. At best she made a difficult situation more so.

Bend over! Here comes Teddy!

Now that I have swallowed the vomit in my mouth perhaps I will take a few minutes to bitch about the latest proposal to come from the Nation's Capitol that will surely mean a smaller chicken on the dinner table for those who have had the audacity to succeed. You know the type. We went to college, got married, had a few kids and have been hustling ever since so maybe our kids can break in to the ranks of professional America and have a white collar job. Put a hold on that idea kids because since like everything else in Washington that is inefficient Ted Kennedy's brain tumor has not yet done its job thus inducing him to concoct this little gem.

For those of you familiar with the Kennedy family and the rest of the richest members of our society, apparently there is some shame being rich. So much shame that instead of giving the bulk of it (90%) freely to some charity they believe in they would rather maintain their lavish lifestyles and tell us how to spend our hard earned money via the income tax. The latest in governmental sodomy involves the idea of a National Health care system.

Now everyone with at least four brain cells in their head knows that National Health care does not work. Simple fact. Just do a bit of reading on the net and find out how wonderful things are in terms of Doctors and Hospitals in say.....Canada. Sure, you lacerate your hand and you get to go right to the ER. Of course the dubiously qualified Doctor who sutures it may attach it to your forehead but so what? At least it is free, right? Of course in those societies contemporaries of the Kennedy clan go to only the finest private clinics.

So lets for a moment take a look at pieces of this story from today on Bloomberg.com. For openers, this.

President Barack Obama wants Congress to consider taxing the wealthy instead of workers to pay for a health-care overhaul, as House Democrats discuss a plan to require health insurance for most Americans.

For those of you who do not know the contemporary definition of rich in the Washington dictionary it equates to a household income of 150 thousand. So if you are thinking Steve Forbes and Bill Gates here, you are wrong.

Obama’s own proposal would set a 28 percent cap on tax deductions for items such as mortgage interest, investment expenses and charitable gifts for Americans in the two highest tax brackets, which would be 36 percent and 39.6 percent under his proposals. Without the cap, they would be able to deduct 36 cents and 39.6 cents on the dollar for those expenses, respectively.

You remember mortgage interest deductions don't you? If I am not mistaken its about the only thing from keeping most of us from sending over sixty percent of our income to Obama and Kennedy.

And just to make sure your kids don't get to keep anything the government hasn't stolen while you were alive there is this little gem.

Obama also proposes new taxes on securities dealers and life insurers, and to raise revenue by prohibiting certain estate-planning techniques.

I'm sorry, I did mention Uncle Ted didn't I? Here is America's favorite Uncle.

In the Senate, health committee chairman Edward Kennedy has an early draft of legislation that also includes a so-called “individual mandate,” and would require all employers to supply health insurance for workers or contribute to the cost of a plan.

I am sure a gallon of milk and loaf of bread won't rise in cost due to this well thought out scheme.

Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, would also create a public health plan to compete with private insurers, a priority of Obama’s that is opposed by Republicans, and would bar insurers from limiting coverage.

I don't want to ruin the rest for you. On an empty stomach go to the link for full details. Then REMEMBER this during the next national election. Or are you all still running on HOPE?

And speaking of Hope

I have been invited to join some rather accomplished pipers in a new escapade. They probably need someone to carry the equipment. But anyway, we're going to make a go of trying some really challenging music sans the normal stupidity that goes along with being in a pipe band. Wish us luck.

Well, Europe has started to figure it out

During my daily news surf I came across a reference to the EU elections going on this and next week. It seems that most of Europe, which has leaned a bit left for most of the last fifty years, has finally "smelled the coffee". From Yahoo News today this little snip:

BRUSSELS – Conservatives raced toward victory in some of Europe's largest economies Sunday as exit polls showed voters punishing left-leaning parties in European Parliament elections in France, Germany and elsewhere.

Some right-leaning parties suggested the results vindicated their reluctance to spend more on company bailouts and fiscal stimulus amid the global economic crisis.

Lets HOPE that as our friends across the Atlantic obtain a collective clue it will spur on some changes in our indigenous political landscape. The rest at the link here.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

D Day 65th Anniversary

Sixty five years ago thousands of American troops were landing on Normandy to rid Europe of Nazi tyranny. There aren't many Vets of this era still around. It is important to remember the price they paid for the freedom of millions.

Garfield Cadets

While I do make the occasional comments about my misspent youth there are some things I definitely did right. Among them is my membership in the Garfield Cadets. Started as the Holy Name Cadets Fife Drum and Bugle Corps I marched with the Cadets for two seasons in the 1970's. I can tell you that I had the privilege to march and play with some of the most accomplished horn players in the northeast at the time. In fact, one of my friends from the time is Alan "Al Chez" Chesnovitz, the trumpet player in the Late Night with David Letterman band.

As a Junior Drum and Bugle Corps our membership ranged from age 15 to the maximum of 21 years old. We practiced non stop in the off season and spent the entire summer travelling the country by bus competing with the rest of the top Corps in the country. While each of these elite groups had their own traditions, Garfield was one of the oldest and had many years of tradition to draw on. Among them the most cherished was the singing of Holy Name before taking the field for competition. While we sang our version much more slowly and with way better harmony what follows is a clip of the current version of the song. The tempo may be different but the sentiment and honor that follows a proud tradition continues.

For Holy Name shall always be.

Why couldn't she be the Supreme Court nominee?

From the Niagra Gazette:

A decision by Falls Police to use a Taser to obtain a DNA sample from a suspect in an armed robbery, shooting and kidnapping is not unconstitutional.Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza reached that conclusion in a 16 page decision handed down Wednesday that refused to dismiss an indictment against Ryan Smith and denied his request to have DNA evidence that links him to two separate criminal cases thrown out.

You can read the rest a the link here.

Mikey Chapstick

I have these two guys that work for me who are the best of friends. But like all good friends they have a propensity to bicker back and forth. To put that in the proper perspective you have to understand Cop humor. There is essentially only one rule. You never make fun of anyones kids. Aside from that, there are no limits. It is constant sarcasm punctuated by cut after cut of one liners. And if you have a distinguishing physical characteristic its even worse.

Several months ago the first blow was struck. "Mikey Chapstick" hit his nemesis "James 23rd" with a multimedia cell phone shot that made fun of his weight. Like a sniper the 23rd waited to take his shot. As Mike is having a huge BBQ tomorrow and has what some might consider a sizable pair of lips he decided to embrace a thematic approach to his return salvo. Thus, after the end of his shift he and several confederate (all of whom shall remain unidentified for fear of reprisal) deposited a large Chapstick on his front lawn. Did I forget to mention that it is made entirely of poured concrete with a core of rebar? Approximate weight is in the neighborhood of five hundred pounds. Safe be it will still be on the front lawn when the party guests begin to arrive.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Just a quick photo from my friend and Bagpipe Teacher Angus. A grumpy old Scot who often questioned if my chromosome count was indeed accurate who was kind enough to get me my start in the world of piping. A good friend and an exceptionally talented piper. He is pictured here with a very talented young man who after enduring his fine tutelage won a Silver Medal in a recent event.

I know I should rise above toilet humor but....

I can't.

Mick was wrong

On a happy note my good friend the NAD has temporarily fled the left coast and made a trip to New Jersey. It has been good to spend a bit of time with him. The downside is that he has a great many social engagements to attend to so we will not be able to spend a great amount of time together.

He called me the other night and I stopped by the family homestead where he and his older brother were in the process of "cleaning out" the place in preparation for his 87 year old Mom to vacate her home and move in with Nad's brother. It kind of freaked me out. I am sure it bothered the two of them even more.

It seems like just yesterday it was 1978 and I was cruising up to his house to pick him up to go out on a Friday night doing all of the stupid things high school idiots do. And while life is good now I know that he and I will never be able to capture the years we got to share being imbeciles together. Time marches on, responsibilities increase and priorities change. But time marches on. And while I am sorry to say it, you were wrong Mick.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What the hell was I waiting for?

Well, spare cash but I finally overcame my Polish thrift and broke down and purchased an automatic pool cleaner. IT is outside baking in the hot sun and vacuuming the pool while I engage in activities more to my liking. Aqua Superstore had the best price on line and it arrived in four days. So far, so good.

The Young Con Anthem

Finally some rap music I can relate to. Well almost. Two young Dartmouth students made this video to espouse the values of young conservatives. Cool, timely and spot on. Bright young me.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Grown up Schola

Time for the rubber to meet the road so to speak. After almost a year of providing sporadic Gregorian Chant at our host Parish we are officially taking it on the road. The Maestro called this afternoon and informed me that we will be providing our services on June 29th at 7:30 pm. Father Robert G. Gorman, pastor of St. Ambrose Parish, Old Bridge, NJ will celebrate a Missa Cantata for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
Now, was that neumes or gnomes. I can never keep that straight. (Please ignore the oblique chant pun. I know it was inexcusable)

Father Jay on EWTN

Its nice to see a familiar face and great Priest on the big screen. And his Latin was GREAT!