Google+

Posted by on July 14, 2011 in google with Comments closed |

In case you haven’t heard, Google is coming out with their version of Facebook. It’s called Google+. I have received three invites from people to join Google+ by people who are now part of the beta test version of the social networking site. However, I am unable to join right now.

The three times I have accepted these invitations, Google has told me that they will accept me as a new user, “Once we’ve ironed out all the kinks.”

Why on Earth would I want to allow yet another giant corporation to have access to every little detail of my life? Because like it or not, social networking is a part of modern life. There was a recent study that says social networking is the equivalent of having half-a-spouse. Meaning, you have a lot of support from family and friends that you would not have had in the past without social networking.

Do you ever refrain from saying something on Facebook in fear of, “getting in trouble?” With Google+ you will be allowed to filter what your “circles” of friends sees by putting them into groups. They won’t know what, “circle,” they’re in and this is supposed to be easier than doing it on Facebook. This one feature alone will keep you out of trouble with your boss and your mom when you decide to tell someone to, “Fuck off.”

I guess we’ll all see in the next year or so, “Once they’ve ironed out all the kinks.”

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Death Doctors

Posted by on July 7, 2011 in Death Doctors, Serial Killers with Comments closed |

Dr. Jack Kevorkian died last month on June 3, 2011. He said he assisted in 130 suicides. “Dying is not a crime,” he famously said. At least in Dr. Kevorkian’s case, the patients wanted to die. But if you live in Europe, you may want to reconsider seeing a doctor the next time you’re feeling sick.

Dr. Marcel Petiot was convicted of multiple murders after the discovery of the remains of twenty six people in his home in Paris. He was executed in 1946.

Dr. John Bodkin Adams, a British doctor, was suspected in 160 suspicious deaths of his patients between 1946 and 1956. He was tried and acquitted for one murder, which led to him being found guilty of 13 offenses of prescription fraud, lying on cremation forms, obstructing a police search and failing to keep dangerous drugs registered.

No known Death Doctor was as prolific as Dr. Harold Shipman. Shipman, an English general practioner, was convicted on 15 charges on Jan. 31st, 2000 and sentenced to 15 consecutive life sentences. There was more than enough evidence to prove that Dr. Shipman killed at least 215 people and probably killed 35 more.

Feeling sick now?

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Forth of July Myths

Posted by on July 1, 2011 in Forth of July Myths |

July 4th Myths Debunked

There are many myths surrounding July 4th that we Americans consider fact. Brian Handwerk wrote an excellent article for National Geographic regarding these myths. Here’s the link if you’re interested in reading more. Below are excerpts taken directly from Handwerk’s article regarding five of these myths. He has several others in his article and I encourage you to follow the link to find out more.

1. The first biggest myth is that The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th.
Independence Day is celebrated two days too late. The Second Continental Congress voted for a Declaration of Independence on July 2, prompting John Adams to write his wife, “I am apt to believe that [July 2, 1776], will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”

Adams correctly foresaw shows, games, sports, buns, bells, and bonfires—but he got the date wrong. The written document wasn’t edited and approved until the Fourth of July, and that was the date printers affixed to “broadside” announcements sent out across the land. July 2 was soon forgotten.

In fact, no one actually signed the Declaration of Independence at any time during July 1776. Signing began on August 2, with John Hancock’s famously bold scribble, and wasn’t completed until late November.”

2. Paul Revere Rode Solo
Patriot Paul Revere really did hit the road on the night of April 18, 1775, to alert the countryside that British troops were on the move. But the image of an inspired, lone rider isn’t accurate. Revere was part of a low-tech—but highly effective—early-warning system. But Revere was actually captured by the British.

3. July 4, 1776, Party Cracked the Liberty Bell
U.S. independence surely prompted a party, but joyful patriots didn’t ring the Liberty Bell until it cracked on July 4, 1776. In fact the State House Bell likely didn’t ring at all that day. Due to poor casting of the bell, it was cracked and recast several times. The crack that is in it now wasn’t done until sometime in the 1800’s.

4. Betsy Ross Made the First American Flag
There is no proof that Betsy Ross played any part in designing or sewing the American flag that made its debut in 1777. In fact, the story of the famous seamstress didn’t circulate until it was raised by her grandson nearly a century after the fact, and the only evidence is testimony to this family tradition.

5. Patriots Flocked to Fight for Freedom
This enduring image is accurate—when describing the beginning of the Revolutionary War. But as it became clear that the struggle for independence would be long and difficult, the enthusiasm of many American men for fighting began to wane, while their concerns for the well-being of their farms and other livelihoods grew. The government resorted to cash incentives and eventually drafting soliders, to rally an army.

So this weekend while you’re out barbequing, drinking beer, shooting off fireworks, and feeling patriotic, remember that not everything we think about the Forth of July is true. Regardless, America is still the freest nation on the Earth…or is that becoming a myth too?

(BTW, this is my 150th post. Thank you for reading.)

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She Knew

Posted by on June 28, 2011 in She Knew with Comments closed |

My sister and I used to be able to read each others minds. This was long before she moved to Berkeley to get her PhD in neuroscience to prove that human beings were incapable of doing so.

We were born two-and-a-half years apart. One look from me and she knew what I was thinking. Whether it was a short, side head-nod to the right, where she knew to leave. Or a longer nod to the left, where she knew to follow, she always knew.

When we were in high school my sister had a friend named Iris. She’d catch me looking at her and she knew what I wanted. She’d turn her eyebrows down and I knew that meant hands off.

Iris loved to send my heart racing, wearing nothing but a long white T-shirt, no bra, and short-shorts which always seemed to mysteriously disappear once my parents went to sleep.

I would hang out downstairs and watch TV with them and as soon as my sister would go to the bathroom, Iris would stretch out on the couch, or reach across the coffee table for the remote control, giving me a little peek.

When my sister would come back into the room, she’d catch me staring at Iris as she reached innocently for the blanket, pretending she was cold. My sister would spin on her heels, girt her teeth and glare at me. Then she’d make a four-fingered slicing motion at her neck, and I knew I better stop eye-fucking her friend.

I moved out of my parent’s house when I was nineteen. A year later my sister went to college in Texas, and then later to Berkeley, to study brain-mapping with some of the most cutting-edge neuroscientists in the world. In those ten years I thought we had lost our mind-reading abilities as we grew apart.

My sister and I both had gotten married and my wife and I flew out to San Francisco for our fifth year wedding anniversary to visit. We ate and drank in some of the city’s finest restaurants.

On our fourth night there, we were walking back from a little Mexican place in the Mission District when I stepped off the curb. I didn’t see the bus barreling down the street until the last second. As time slowed down, I looked over and caught a glimpse of my sister’s wide-eyed frozen face. And in that split second before impact, I knew what she knew.

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The End of My MFA in Writing

Posted by on June 17, 2011 in End of MFA in Writing, Uncategorized |

I have one class left of my M.F.A in writing and then I have to do my thesis. It’s a 60 page collection of short-stories, which I already have, but I have some serious cleaning-up to do.

Next week I have my first poetry reading in front of my class. I have at least twenty poems written, and I have time to read about three or four. So I’m good there.(BTW, I hated poetry before my MFA)

The problem is I want to do about three projects within that one project. (And I won’t even get into all that with you.) Here’s the point, I’m writing a lot, even though it doesn’t seem like it on my blog. I did a 22 page report this week, with a 6 page satire about the writing industry. But no one’s going to read a 22 page blog post.

On another note, about once every three months, I drop out from writing and start sending pieces in to get published. And I’ve been submitting a lot of my work to magazines and journals lately. Out of the 5 or 6 things I sent out, I’m happy to say that I got something publishing in the Journal of Microliterature. http://www.microliterature.org/ But it wont’ be published until September.

I’m not allowed to publish it here, otherwise they won’t publish it in their magazine. The original story is only 5 or 6 sentences long. But here’s a condensed version that I tried to get published on Nanoism.com.

On Nanoism.com, the story has to be 140 characters or less.

Assignment for the Day: See if you can write a full-story, under 140 characters—with a plot twist. If not, here’s the piece that I sent in, that got rejected.

“Hurry,” the man said, waiting for his wife’s makeup to be applied. “I always said she would be late to her own funeral,” he told the mortician. (exactly 140 characters.)

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My Evil Twin

Posted by on June 10, 2011 in My Evil Twin with Comments closed |

I have a twin brother. And although my mother doesn’t remember giving birth to him, he often follows me around to wreak havoc on my life.

The situation is always the same. Someone I am acquainted with will call me up the next day after I’ve been out drinking and tell me how my evil twin brother, “Hawaiian Brian,” showed up wherever they were, and started making a fool out of himself in someway, shape or form.

“Hey Doug, you’ll never believe what you did last night…” is the way it always starts out. Then they tell me about some random act, “…then after you told the second waitress, ‘Nice shoes wanna fuck?’ they threw us out.”

Sometimes the story will begin with, “Well it all started when you did the standing on the bar and you began mooning everyone, again…”

“No I didn’t! I was at home sleeping last night,” I say defending myself.

“Yeah at about four in the morning, after you passed out on my couch for a couple of hours,” they’ll have you believe.

“That must be my evil twin.”

“Hawaiian Brian? Yeah he was there too. We know all about him,” they say.

See, the thing is, no one seems to know the difference between me and him. We’re a spitting image of each other. That’s why they call it identical twins.

I understand why my friends don’t believe me. First of all, they have never met Brian when I’m sober, although they hear me complain about him all the time after I’ve had a few drinks. Secondly, I always start off the night with my buddies, so they think I’m there all night, but you know identical twins think a lot alike. And on a beautiful day I often want to go out to a bar and have a drink. Is it any surprise that Brian likes to do the same?

Brain and I both have the same tastes. Whenever someone just mentions the word beer we both get thirsty. We both like little hole in the wall bars. We both like cheap drinks, and Black and Tans. And we both love beautiful women. Is it our fault that we’re not afraid to talk to girls after having a couple of drinks?

But the thing is, Brian is a lot more aggressive than I am. Never in my right mind would I use a corny line like, “Hey, nice shoes wanna fuck?” What kind of line is that? But apparently it must work for him, because I’ve had more random girls come up to me, and mind you not usually very good looking ones, and say, “Hey, do you remember me?”

And I honestly can say, “No. I’m sorry I don’t.”

“You asshole! We had sex out in the parking lot behind The Red Sea. You told me I had nice shoes. You don’t remember that?!” they say.

“Ohhhhh.” I say. “You must mean my twin brother Hawaiian Brian. He says that kind of shit all the time.” This I have learned the hard way is the time to duck, because a slap to the face is immanent.

I’ve also been at parties of mutual friends and introduce myself to someone and they’ll say, “Yeah man, I met you before,” not so enthusiastically. That’s when they tell me, “Yeah we almost got in a fight the last time we met. Remember that?”

“You must be talking about my evil twin Hawaiian Brian.”

“No. I’m pretty sure it was you,” they say as they stare me down.

That damn Brian! When I see him I’m going to kick his ass. The problem is we always just slide right by each other not noticing when the other one walks in the room. I’m always the mild mannered, well behaved, twin and he’s the rowdy, “Lets get fucked up!” guy.

I’ll be sitting there enjoying my drink, quietly, and then right after I leave, no more than five minutes later usually, Brian walks in and drags my name through the mud.

I’ve tried telling on him like a good brother should. “Mom Brian’s out of control! You need to tell him that he needs to go to rehab or something.”

“You’re so funny. Brian. What a character. Where do you come up with this stuff?”

Well if she’s not going to do anything about I will. The next time I see Brian I’m having an intervention. I’m going to let him know that this behavior is unacceptable.

I’ll also be supportive and tell him that I’ll quit drinking with him as a sign of support, but he’s got to that the first step. I can’t do it for him. I’m tired of carrying him.

Oh well, guess I’ll have to run into him first. Maybe I’ll head down to one of the local watering holes and see if I can find him. All this talk about drinking has made me thirsty.

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7 Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Under $40

Posted by on June 2, 2011 in Father's Day gifts |

Ladies, are you tired of giving the father of your children cologne or neckties that he never wears? Can’t think of anything good to give him for Father’s Day? Well here are seven gift ideas that your man will love and all are under $40 bucks.

Want to spice it up? Then you need to try Cowtown’s Night of the Living BBQ Sauce It’s a really spicy-hot BBQ Sauce from Kansas City and it’s only $6.50.

How about telling him, “Hon. I’m going to give you a Hot Bitch at the Beach for Father’s Day and see if he doesn’t perk up. (It’s a medium hot sauce, but the name alone is worth the price.) $6.50

New York Times Keepsake Front Page T-Shirt $35
Here’s something unique, a custom-printed reproductions of any front page from The New York Times from September 1851 to the present on a white cotton T-shirt.

iPhone Bottle Opener $20
I used to have an iPhone but my wife insisted that we switch carriers. Now I get to remind her every other day how much I hate this new phone.
For all the lucky guys out there who still have an iPhone, just when you thought you couldn’t love your phone anymore, now it can also open your beer.

Micro-Brew of the Month Club $35
Guys + Beer = No Brainer (Free shipping sweetens the pot.)

Sanuk Beer Cozy Sandal–$15
Ladies, if you want your man to throw away those ugly-looking Crocs, buy these sandals. I bought mine in Maui about a year ago and they are one of the best things I’ve ever bought. (Plus the price has dropped $25 since I bought mine.) What makes it a guy’s gift? They’re made out of recycled beer cozies.

Blog2 Print $30
If your hubby’s a blogger, and you want to be creative but aren’t, then this would be the perfect gift. You can go through his blog, pick some posts, and have it turned into a book.

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“You Light Up My Life” Songwriter Found Dead

Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Uncategorized, You Light Up My Life with Comments closed |

The Associated Press has reported that the Academy Award-winning songwriter of “You Light Up My Life” was found dead of an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on charges of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women and just months after his son was accused of murdering a swimsuit designer.

Joseph Brooks, 73, was discovered Sunday afternoon on his living room couch with a plastic dry-cleaning bag around his head and a towel around his neck, police spokesman Paul Browne said. A hose attached to a helium tank was hooked up to the bag, and the door to Brooks’ Upper East Side apartment was ajar, he said.

The medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine Brooks’ cause of death. A three-page suicide note included complaints about his health, police said.

Read more:

I remember listening to this song a thousand times as a kid. My mom used to play it on a black baby-grand piano that was in our front living room. The song is so ingrained in my mind, that I couldn’t help hearing it in my mom’s voice, as I read the above article.
Here is a link if you would like to read more.

Here’s Debbie Boone signing the original version.

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90 Dead in Joplin Missouri After Tornado

Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Tornado with Comments closed |

The death toll in Joplin, Mo., rose to 90 today as officials described the monster tornado that hit the city as a “once in a generation event.”

Meteorological records show that this was the deadliest tornado since 1953 when a twister hit Worcester, Mass., and caused 90 fatalities.

I normally do not write about storms. But since this deadly tornado hit in my home state of Missouri, I thought I’d at least give it a link if you’re interested in seeking some crazy storm footage.

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Common Misconceptions

Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Common misconceptions with Comments closed |

• There is no evidence that Vikings wore horns on their helmets.

• Contrary to the popular image of the Pilgrim Fathers, the early settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts did not dress in black, wear buckles, or wear black steeple hats. According to Plimoth Plantation historian James W. Baker, this image was formed in the 19th century when buckles were a kind of emblem of quaintness. This is also the reason illustrators gave Santa Claus buckles.

• George Washington did not have wooden teeth.

• The signing of the Declaration of Independence did not occur on July 4, 1776. The final language of the document was approved by the Second Continental Congress on that date, it was printed and distributed on July 4 and 5, but the actual signing occurred on August 2, 1776.

• The United States Constitution was written on parchment, not hemp paper.

• Searing meat does not “seal in” moisture, and in fact may actually cause meat to lose moisture. Generally, the value in searing meat is that it creates a brown crust with a rich flavor via the Maillard reaction.

-It is commonly claimed that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from the Moon. This is false. None of the Apollo astronauts reported seeing any specific man-made object from the Moon, and even earth-orbiting astronauts can barely see it, but city lights are easily visible on the night side of Earth from orbit.
The misconception is believed to have been popularized by Richard Halliburton decades before the first moon landing. Shuttle astronaut Jay Apt has been quoted as saying “…the Great Wall is almost invisible from only 180 miles up.”

• The notion that goldfish have a memory span of just a few seconds is false.

• Bats are not blind. While most bat species do use echolocation to augment their vision, all bat species have eyes and are capable of sight.

• The flight mechanism and aerodynamics of the bumblebee (as well as other insects) are actually quite well understood, in spite of the urban legend that calculations show that they should not be able to fly. In the 1930s a German scientist, using flawed techniques, indeed postulated that bumblebees theoretically should not be able to fly, although he later retracted the suggestion. However, the hypothesis became generalized to the false notion that “scientists think that bumblebees should not be able to fly.”

• It is not harmful to baby birds to pick them up and return them to their nests, despite the common belief that doing so will cause the mother to reject them.

• Bulls are not enraged by the color red, used in capes by professional matadors. Cattle are dichromats, so red does not stand out as a bright color. It is not the color of the cape that angers the bull, but rather the movement of the fabric that irritates the bull and incites it to charge.

• Humans have more than five senses. Although definitions vary, the actual number ranges from 9 to more than 20. In addition to sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, which were the senses identified by Aristotle, humans can sense balance and acceleration (equilibrioception), pain (nociception), body and limb position (proprioception or kinesthetic sense), and relative temperature (thermoception). Other senses sometimes identified are the sense of time, itching, pressure, hunger, thirst, fullness of the stomach, need to urinate, need to defecate, and blood carbon dioxide levels.

Skin and hair
• Hair and fingernails do not continue to grow after a person dies. Rather, the skin dries and shrinks away from the bases of hairs and nails, giving the appearance of growth.
• Hair care products cannot as such “repair” split ends and damaged hair. They can, however, prevent damage from occurring in the first place, smooth down the cuticle in a glue-like fashion so that it appears repaired, and generally make hair appear in better condition.

Nutrition, food, and drink
• Eight glasses of water a day are not necessary to maintain health. Consuming things that contain water such as juice, tea, milk, fruits and vegetables also keeps a person hydrated.
• Alcohol does not make one warmer.The reason that alcoholic drinks create the sensation of warmth is that they cause blood vessels to dilate and stimulate nerve endings near the surface of the skin with an influx of warm blood. This can actually result

Human sexuality
• A popular myth regarding human sexuality is that men think about sex every seven seconds. In reality, this has not been measured, and as far as researchers can tell, this statistic greatly exaggerates the frequency of sexual thoughts.

The Human Brain
• People do not use only ten percent of their brains. While it is true that a small minority of neurons in the brain are actively firing at any one time, the inactive neurons are important too. This myth has been commonplace in American culture at least as far back as the start of the 20th century, and was attributed to William James, who apparently used the expression metaphorically. Some findings of brain science (such as the high ratio of glial cells to neurons) have been mistakenly read as providing support for the myth.

Disease
• Warts on human skin are caused by viruses that are unique to humans (human papillomavirus). Humans cannot catch warts from toads or other animals; the bumps on a toad are not warts.

• Frequently cracking ones knuckles or exercise in the absence of injury does not cause osteoarthritis.

Miscellaneous
• Waking sleepwalkers does not harm them. While it is true that a person may be confused or disoriented for a short time after awakening, this does not cause them further harm. In contrast, sleepwalkers may injure themselves if they trip over objects or lose their balance while sleepwalking. Such injuries are common among sleepwalkers.

Psychology
• Photographic or eidetic memory refers to the ability to remember images with extremely high precision – so high as to mimic a camera. However, it is highly unlikely that photographic memory exists, as to date there is no hard scientific evidence that anyone has ever had it.[196] Many people have claimed to have a photographic memory, but those people have been shown to have good memories as a result of mnemonic devices rather than a natural capacity for detailed memory encoding.[197] There are rare cases of individuals with exceptional memory, but none of them has a memory that mimics a camera.

Technology
Inventions
• George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter, though he reputedly discovered three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more for soybeans, pecans, and sweet potatoes.

• Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb. He did, however, develop the first practical light bulb in 1880 (employing a carbonized bamboo filament), shortly prior to Joseph Swan, who invented an even more efficient bulb in 1881 (which used a cellulose filament).

• Henry Ford did not invent either the automobile or the assembly line. He did help to develop the assembly line substantially, sometimes through his own engineering but more often through sponsoring the work of his employees.

• Al Gore never said that he “invented” the Internet; Gore actually said, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” Gore was the original drafter of the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991, which provided significant funding for supercomputing centers, and this in turn led to upgrades of a major part of the already existing, early 1990s Internet backbone, the NSFNet, and development of NCSA Mosaic, the browser that popularized the World Wide Web; see Al Gore and information technology.

Transportation
• Toilet waste is never intentionally dumped overboard from an aircraft. All waste is collected in tanks which are emptied on the ground by special toilet waste vehicles. A vacuum is used to allow the toilet to be flushed with less water and because plumbing cannot rely on gravity alone in an aircraft in motion. The infamous blue ice is caused by accidental leakages from the waste tank. Passenger trains, on the other hand, have historically flushed onto the tracks; however, modern trains usually have retention tanks on board the train.

Finally
If you’ve made it this far there is one more myth you should know about: “Wikipedia is fact.”
If you’re doing research, you shouldn’t use Wikipedia as a source…even thought that’s where I got all these “misconceptions” from. So take these with a grain of salt. Here’s the link if you’re interested in more click here
and if you want to do more research on any of these, follow the foot notes.

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