“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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5

Did you know Jesus is from Iran?

Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Jews |

I was teaching a class to correction officers today, about pepper spray of all things, when a lady in class said, “Do you know Horowitz is a Jew?”

How she didn’t know Horowitz was Jewish name, and what this had to do with pepper spray, was beyond me. But then she said, and I’m not making this up, “But Horowitz is not really Jewish. I mean ‘Jeweyism’ is a religion, not a race. His family is Polish. I mean, he said he doesn’t eat pork because he’s Jewish. So I said, You don’t eat polish sausages? But you’re Polish. And he said, ‘No, I’m Jewish.’ Then I found out that there’s Italian-Jews, American-Jews and Middle East-Jews. I mean those Jews in Israel? They’ve only been there like 50 years. So I don’t know how there’s Jews all over the world when they’ve only been a country for 50 years.”

Then she said, “And you know those Jews that were in the Holocaust? They were actually Polish.”

That’s when I said, “Please don’t ever say that out loud again.”

“Why?” she said.

“Because it makes you sound dumb.”

“Just because I don’t know something doesn’t make me dumb,” she said and then continued to tell us everything else she didn’t know about Jews.

“I mean how am I supposed to know that Polish people are Jews? Did you know that they say Jesus is a Jew? But he’s really not. He’s from Iran or something like that. I’m a Christian and I didn’t even know that until recently,” she said.

“And did you know that Jews don’t even believe in Jesus? I mean, if he’s a Jew how can they not believe in him?”

“Because Judaism, only believes in the Old Testament,” I said. I wasn’t even going to try to explain the Torah at this point.

“What? Well that’s where all the dumb stories are,” she said. That just doesn’t make any sense.”

“This whole conversation doesn’t make any sense.” I said. “You need to do some research before you ever talk about Jews again. Now, back to pepper spray.”

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2

Kustom Kulture—A tribute to R. Williams, Big Daddy Roth and Von Dutch

Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Big Daddy Roth, Kustom Kulture, poem, Poems, Robert Williams, Von Dutch |

32’ Fords
sporting pinstripes
with blown 427’s
reached for the sky and

chopped and channeled
50’ Merc’s slammed to the ground
white-walled and full-mooned
lined up at start lines.

Girls with beehives and bobs
stood in the middle lane
waiting to drop their bandanas
as 400 horses zoom-zoom-zoomed
down the quarter mile
praying to keep it straight
win by a nose and
avoid the fiery inferno.

Candied choppers were raked-out
front wheels quivering
hands held high while
pipes bang-bang-banged away.

Ghoulish Rat Finks,
The All-knowing Eye,
and pin-up girls
painted the path for

bright-colored skin with
demons, dragons,
and hearts
worn on sleeves.

Slicked back hair
blue jeans and printed T’s
with “Road Kings” or
“Rod-Fathers”

with Marlboros
rolled in sleeves
were the uniform
invented by them.

Bong-bong-bong
bass lines and surf-licks
On Fender and Gretsch guitars
was the soundtrack of the day.

Trippy dream-like paintings
with mad-scientists,
industrial machines,
and robots,

rockets flying through
space, stars and the Moon,
and gold treasures chests with
emerging octopus arms were

called Lowbrow
or Pop-surrealism
by critics and embraced
by the riff-raff.

The three gods weren’t
allowed in universities and galleries,
so they created their own
Kustom Kulture.

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Mr. Daniels

Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Mr. Daniels, poem, Poems with Comments closed |

Broke as a joke
Without a punch-line,
A bum is richer
Than me.

Spiritually,
Morally,
Financially
Bankrupt

My good friend Jack
Beat me down again.
But next time,
Things will be different.

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2

Oblivious

Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Kiryas Joel, Oblivious, poem, Poems, Poetry |

I had to write a juxtaposition poem for class. To juxtapose something is to place two things close together or side by side, for comparison or contrast. You will see some examples of juxtaposition written within the sentences, but more importantly, within the story itself.

Oblivious

Today I saw a
rich photograph of
Kiryas Joel, NY,
the country’s poorest town.

Hasidic Jews with
long black robes
and wigs lined
the streets.

A mega synagogue for
the 13,000 residents had
a small sign that read
Visitors Please Dress Modestly,

While a girl slid out of
her black SUV wearing
white Daisy-Dukes and
a red tank top—no bra.

When I was assigned this poem, I wanted to find out where the poorest city in the U.S. was. I figured I could contrast how the poor live and find something beautiful in that squalor. I would have never guessed what I actually found out about the nation’s poorest town.

I found out the poorest city in the U.S. is Kiryas Joel, NY. The town’s average per capita income is just over $4000 a year. The reason for this is because the town is mainly made up of Hasidic Jews who follow the Torah and its commandments strictly. Money is not the main focus in life.

One interesting side note is this town has had a population boom. The average age of a resident there is fifteen. Most of the residents get married young, have kids, and stay in the town. The population has grown from 4000 to almost 14000 in less than two decades. This might not seem like much to some, but you have to remember that most of this growth is from people who already live there, not new people moving in.

This poem was based on a real photo.

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In The Dog House

Posted by on May 2, 2011 in Dog House with Comments closed |

Ever wonder how you get dragged into an argument with your significant other? You know what I mean, the kind of argument where you don’t speak to each other for two days? Usually it begins with playful banter.

“You’re so silly sometimes.”
“What why?”
“You just are. You’re so silly.”
“Nut-uh. You’re silly.”
“Oh yeah, well you retarded.”
“Retarded? Well at least I’m not silly and retarded.”
“You’re as silly as a five year old retarded kid.”
“Stop calling me retarded.”

This progresses to where you’re saying things like, “Well you’re a retarded silly little slut.”
“Oh yeah, well you’re retarded and have a small penis,” she says.
And your best come back is, “I told you to stop calling me retarded.”

Before you know it the gloves come off and anything goes. You’re like a blood thirsty animal going in for the kill and nothing is off limits. From past relationships to ugly members of their family, anything and everything is on the table.

“Your mother’s overbearing!”
“Yeah well my last boyfriend’s penis was three times as big as yours!”
“Stop talking about my penis!”

This progresses to talking about annoying habits, to their deepest insecurities that only you know about.

When your wrapped up in this frenzy you feel like a washed up old baseball player who’s still swinging for the fences. And when the dust settles, all you have left is two hurt, broken people, who are suppose to care about each other more than anything in the world and they end up being the people who hurts each other the most.

It takes a couple of days before you get over the insults and the pain. You pass each other like strangers in your own home with little grunts and head nods. And then who ever drops their pride first, is the one who apologizes.

“I’m sorry that I said those things and I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”
“Yeah me too. The whole thing was silly.”
“Yeah, the whole thing was silly. But you know, you just act so silly sometimes?”
“Me? What about you? You act sillier than me, ya silly freak.”

And before you know it, you’re back in the doghouse again.

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Miss Fortune

Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Miss Fortune, poem, Poems with Comments closed |

Miss Fortune
Is at my doorstep
again
and this time
she’s carrying 2 bags.

She only stops by
when she needs something.
And that something, this time,
is 400 bucks and
a ride home
after the procedure.

Well Miss Thing
guess what?
You can keep
the keys
and the baby
cuz I’ve gotta
a bike and a job.

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You don’t like Poetry?

Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Poetry with Comments closed |

It’s been brought to my attention by a long-time reader that he doesn’t like my poetry. He says he loves my, “sarcastic stories with a punch-line at the end.” He’s also asked me in the past, “When are you going to write a story about me?”

Well I hear ya buddy, on both accounts. I didn’t care for poetry either, but I’m taking poetry this semester, so that’s what I’ll be writing for a while.

For those of you who don’t know, I write for Missouri Runner and Triathlete Magazine. I also participate in the events that I write about, which means I swim, bike, or run, four to six days a week.

I’ve also been working on a memoir about my trip to India for four years now. I’m on the fourth chapter of my third draft. When I finish this draft, I’ll be sending it off to an editor. After that, I will start submitting it to get published. This is on top of having a wife, a daughter, a job and a life, but I digress. The point is you might be reading poetry for a while.

And on that note, do you know that a recent survey in Esquire magazine said that 12% of men can’t see their penis when they’re standing up straight? I’m guessing the guy who said he doesn’t like my poetry is in that 12%.

What? He asked that I write a story about him and he said he likes the sarcastic punch-lines at the end. Wish granted.

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