Thursday, December 30, 2010

Get Off My Lawn!

CHICAGO - A Chicago area man who killed a neighbor whose dog urinated on his lawn was sentenced today to four years' probation.

"This is not justice," said Gail Williams, the slain man's aunt.

Charles Clements, 69, a great-grandfather, former Marine and retired truck driver who took great pride in his lawn's appearance, could have been sentenced to as much as 20 years.

In declining to send Clements to jail, Will County Judge Daniel Rozak noted the episode was Clements' first contact with the legal system in his 69 years.

He also said the slaying wasn't about a dog urinating on a lawn, but "about your reaction ... to being yelled at, pushed and punched in the face by a 23-year-old man"

The Will County state's attorney's office, which had asked for jail time, indicated it would not appeal the sentence. "He (Rozak) is an excellent judge and we respect his decision," prosecutors said in a statement.

Clements had apologized for his actions at a sentencing hearing that was interrupted last week when the slain man's mother began to hyperventilate in court.

A Will County jury convicted Clements of second-degree murder in October.

Joshua Funches, 23, was walking his fox terrier puppy when Clements confronted him after the dog urinated on his manicured lawn.

After Funches cursed at him, Clements pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and put it back in his pocket. Soon after, Funches punched Clements once in the face. Clements said Funches was standing still when he pulled out his gun and fatally shot him.

Funches had three small children, including a boy born after his death. Patricia Funches, his mother, had asked Rozak to sentence Clements to the maximum 20 years in prison. Clements had been free on bond pending his sentencing.

Clements' attorney, Daniel Collins, said he was "very satisfied" with the sentence, as were Clements and his family.

"They're very thankful to the judge," he said.

Clements will meet with his probation officer to see if he will be allowed to move out of University Park, Ill., he added.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

True Grit

First off, I want to say that I have never seen the original, 'John Wayne' version of True Grit. If you're looking for a comparison, it ain't here.

The movie rightfully centers on Hailee Steinfeld's 'Mattie'. Without her in this role there really wouldn't be anything else to spend your money on, and it's pulled of stupendously. The last time I seen one so young pull it off with so much at stake was Leon: The Professional (and is why I am still a fan of Natalie Portman.)

It's a classic style western tale about a young woman of 14, Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld) who hires a marshall named Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) (a character that I am familiar with through other movies) to track down her father's killer and bring him to justice.
At about the same time, a Texas ranger named LeBeouf (Matt Damon) enters the picture and joins them. Damon is so realistically annoying as the ego-driven Texan that there was at least one occasion during the film that I wanted to shoot him myself.

Dialogue in movies of this particular contain a certain patois about them. I haven't the slightest idea if folks back then really did speak like that, but I like it just the same. This one didn't disappoint in that respect.
The icing on cake, though: Jeff Bridges' portrayal of Cogburn. I much like this one better than the Wayne version. Maybe it's the advances in film making since the days the original earned an Oscar for it's star, but this time I got a real feel for the filthy, drunken, crass and heartless bastard Cogburn is supposed to be. Bridges is not only able to show a deeper range of emotions than his counter part, and, I don't know... maybe make-up and costuming is better, but this guy is dirty and unkempt to the point where you smell him the moment he appears onscreen.

My only complaint: a determined crew traversing what was supposed to be hostile and lawless Indian country encountered very few Indians (final count: one adult, two kids) who were neither hostile, nor lawless.

It's a good movie that starts out at a solid pace, moving the story along while going flat near about 3/4 of the way in, with a climax not nearly as climatic as I was hoping for. It was worth the effort, but it ain't no "Unforgiven", if you know what I mean.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

To My Progressively Minded Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011 but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To All The Rest:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See ya in a couple days.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Epic Monday

Some thoughts:
I'm pretty sure that was the final encore of Brett Farve. Whatever we may think of guy, he's a warrior through and through. Give props where due.
I think part of what made him so insistent was the chance to beat the Bears one more time. Who knows? The way he started, it could've been.

Joe Webb has some talent if somebody wants to try to develop him. A good arm combined with Vickish legs should not be ignored. I like his spirit. Maybe the Bears will ring him in the off season. I doubt that it would help, since QB development seems to be something the Bears just don't do.

Devin Hester did in five seasons what it took another ten seasons or longer to do: set the record for kick returns for touchdowns. Still, it's an even bigger achievement than that, when you stop to think that he's had nobody kick to him in three years. Without a doubt, by any measure you think of, Devin Hester is the greatest returner in the history of football. And may be the best for as long as the game is played.
His post-game interview was cool, too. Refusing to take all the glory for himself. Remaining humble, and repeating his claim that there were 10 other guys missing from the podium alongside him. May God grant Devin a long and healthy career as a Chicago Bear.

Any time you see Garrett Wolfe get some touches, you know the game is going well. I'm a fan of Wolfe. Chicago grown. Grateful to be there. He's not the biggest man on the field, but he gives it all every chance he gets. If he was six-feet tall, he'd be a multi-million dollar a year player. Sadly, though, his contract runs out this year. I'm sure he has no regrets.

The second half of the season has turned out to be very different for the Bears' offense. Let's keep this train rolling shall we? If the Packers second team can give the Patriots hell, then the Bears should be able to take them over their knee in Dallas.

Was hearing some buzz that maybe the Vikings will settle for an outdoor stadium in the future? Imagine that...

On a personal note:
Post-Op nausea sucks ass. Still don't know how I stayed awake to watch the whole game. Must have been will.

24hrs later, and I've still got Post-Op nausea. And it still sucks ass.

Being fussed over by Orange County's sweetest Asian nurses for 24hrs isn't such a bad thing.

Being fussed over by the wife is cool,too. Yeah, damned right I'm milking it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fear Not

Wonder Woman is for real.
Not really.
It's just a story about a women who has some genetic disease that damages a certain portion of the brain that creates fear in a person.

Forget for a moment how a women like this would behave if she were also suffering from PMS... (ok, just an aside: why is it that women are said to suffer from PMS, when it's the rest of us who do the actual suffering???).

Imagine now, should the government get a hold of this disease, and find a way to infect our special forces guys with it, or something like that...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Out With The Old, In With The Bad

Some bad news:
It's being reported that one of my favorite feed lots in Orange County is closing, Chris' & Pitt's.
I was hitting that place every other week for years. Good food in a casual setting (think coffee shop casual) at an affordable price, and you couldn't beat the prime rib.
Come to think... they might be part of the reason why I had those 40 extra pounds I'd lost a while back.

Their loss is a tragedy. Take my word for it.

In it's place? Brace yourself... What's being touted as the McDonalds of the Philippines.
Can you believe it? Closing a fine American eatery like Chris' & Pitt's and replacing it with an enthnic joke sporting a silly name?

Yeah, it's like The OC really needs another place that serves rice in a bowl topped with mystery meat. Besides, I've seen what Filipinos eat, and it's not pretty.
Not at all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


So it appears that a Laryngoplasty will occur this coming Monday, at 1:30 p.m.
What sucks for me is that it looks like I may miss the Bears-Vikings on MNF. But, maybe not.

Procedure is supposed to take about 2hrs, maybe less. I'm supposed to be (technically) awake for it, then I'll be shuttled off to my room for the night after recovery. I'm guessing... maybe by kickoff I can be in my room? Maybe too groggy to care much by then.
I don't know, but it's already bugging me.

I will not be allowed to speak, at all, not even a whisper... for 24hrs minimum. So, that in mind... Got to remember to leave detailed instructions orders for wife to have that game playing just in case I wake up, since I won't be able to remind her.

I guess the little thing-a-mah-jig they're putting inside me looks something like this.

Trying to remember what it was like to speak without exertion, but I can't.
Will find out soon enough.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dad To The Bone

"I received a phone call anonymously that my daughter was involved with a guy 40 years older than her. You said you couldn't stop him – so I did.

"I saw it as my duty as a father."


I neither condemn nor condone this action.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

You Might Be An Ivy Leaguer If...

A popular Columbia professor was charged Thursday with incest - accused of a sick sex relationship with a female relative, prosecutors said.

Political science Prof. David Epstein, 46, bedded the young woman over a three-year period ending last year, according to court papers.

Epstein, who specializes in American politics and voting rights, has taught at Harvard and Stanford and often is quoted by news organizations. He also has blogged on The Huffington Post.

More at the LINK

And to think those Northeastern, left-wing elites are always pointing the kin-fuck finger at those backwards Southerners.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My son had a good question last night: Would anybody have cared that it was the anniversary of John Lennon's death if the media hadn't started the day off with it?

To which I'll add: And how many people really do 'remember' Pearl Harbor, anyway?

We (though not me) are such tools...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Looking Ugly

Along a fast, unregulated stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, the local police department used to park and empty squad car. Drivers going through this way would see the squad car parked up ahead and immediately slow down.

That was the whole idea.
It allowed traffic control without having to put another officer on the street. The department was really proud of this little tactic and (oops!) bragged about it to the press.

Knowing that this black & white was empty opened up a whole new realm of pranking possibilities for my friends and I. And we had fun doing them, yes we did!
Silly stuff, really. Beer bottles left on the hood. Band stickers on the bumper. The MDC sticker was most classic. The final act of 'thumb in the eye of authority' was slicing one of the tires.
This brought ultimate cool cred among the crew for a while, because anything that ballsy would have to be challenged and, short of really drastic action, who can top slashing a cop's tires and getting away clean?

Well, one of us did come up with an idea, an ultimate dare that was never followed through, despite a few aborted attempts. None of us wanted to be that stupid.
Teasing the lion through the bars is one thing, but jumping into the cage brings you into a world that you no longer control.

Same time period...

I saw lots of kids get there asses kicked by the cops for the crime of being unruly after a punk show. Right or wrong, it was easy to see that it is rather stupid to throw beer bottles at cops and not expect a drubbing if they got their hands you.
("Seriously, Bro, what'd you expect?")

And, to be fair to the cops, in the interest of maintaining the respect for authority and the public safety role they were being paid to perform, a heavy hand came in handy from time to time. I'm not saying it was cool to bust up our shows. I'm just saying that, yeah, OK... I get it that they didn't get it. Even if it did suck.

I ignored the whole wikileaks thing when it first hit several months ago. I'm not up to par on what this wikileak guy is all about, or what higher purpose he thinks he is serving. But it's looking to me like he's pushed it a little far.
Now, with him in custody, his homies are currently in the process of pushing it even further than that.
This thing could get uglier yet.
But whatever happens to this wikileak guy... he asked for it.

*and dont give me that 'His First Ammendment bullshit.' He is not under US jurisdiction, and not covered by any our ammendments.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Laryngoplasty. What's That?

Also known as Laryngeal Reconstruction. It's a rebuilding of the vocal cords that helps to correct the loss of motion or muscle due to some dastardly bad thing that happened to the patient, such as... oh... inconveniently placed tumors of the head and neck, causing damage to the vagus nerve.

This procedure does not make the vocal cords move again, but it does move the paralyzed cord into a position to where it can be used to create sound again.
Up to 90% recovery of the voice can be achieved, but I'll be happy if I get 10%, because it's still several %'s more than I have now.
I'll set the bar low, and be happy with the results.

Also, it should improve swallowing, and decrease choking, because it will help to create a proper seal at the entrance to the windpipe. (yeah! I am so looking forward to that.)

The surgery is done by placing an implant that pushes the weak vocal cord toward the middle of the voice box. The most common implant used is made from Gore-Tex. The implant is permanent, but is reversible without extensive surgery. I don't expect that I'll be wanting it reversed, but who knows.

If anything cool happens that I can remember, I'll blog about it.

For sure, I'm a little excited about the newer set of life-altering possibilities that may be coming my way, because the last ones sucked.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

So who's hiding place will fail first: Julian Assange or Osama Bin Laden?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


On the docket of late: The DREAM Act

A lame ass name for a piss poor idea wrapped around good intentions and marketed for political gain.

You can read about it at the link. No doubt, you've already heard about it and already have your opinions. But what you've heard is likely different from the real deal, as emotionally charged as this seems to be.

As for me... I am opposed to the DREAM Act, as it is presented.
I've already stated that I think it's bullshit that a child can be illegally transported across the border, raised up within American society, and not be granted citizenship within the only country he knows.

The DREAM Act does not address this issue clearly enough, and only serves to muddy the waters of the immigration brouhaha even more... like we really need more of that, don't we?

Another bitch I have is this:
During the first six years, qualifying illegal immigrants would be granted "conditional" status, and would be required to graduate from a two-year community college or complete at least two years towards a 4-year degree, or serve two years in the U.S. military.

What the hell?

Is there something wrong with just getting a job and supporting a family?

Not all are made for school, let alone higher education. A kid can do good enough for society by just staying out of trouble and learning how to repair cars, build houses, or work on a loading dock to support a family.
To limit this blessing to the small minority who can do college is load of crap, as if we really needed a few more liberal arts majors to make this country work properly.

Keeping in mind how most of those who come from the illegal status are raised by parents with little education themselves, and likely lived in the lower-status side of town, attending the lesser educating schools. Very few will have the drive/motivation/push for college as it is, and have no hesitation at all when it comes to getting a real job and earning their own wages. (Fewer still are likely to graduate high school at all. Sad, but too often true.)

This bar is so high I'm tempted to think the DREAM Act was written by the Minute Men.
It's not fair.