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  • Redneck Truckload

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    I was behind this truck while waiting to get gas, and while sitting there I thought to myself how fortunate I was that I wasn't following this payload in traffic.  At 65 mph.

    Redneck Truckload

  • Funeral for a Friend

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    It is the agreement you enter into when you take on a pet - that one day the relationship will end.  And so it happens that from time to time you have to take a shovel in your hand and tear a hole in the dirt to say goodbye to a friend and companion.

    I had to do that today, to dig a hole for Peanut Butter.  Peanut was cat who was often both friendly and grouchy, at ease with you and skittish at the same time.  But he could always be counted on to come around when he thought you needed some company.

    I had my other cat, Grey Monster, for about a year and it occurred to me it must not have been much fun for him to be alone in the apartment all day while I was gone.  A friend of mine, Jason, had a cat who had kittens and I came by to have a look.  Grey Monster has always been a very quiet cat; he very seldom meows.  So when I saw Jason's kittens, I asked him for the one that was the loudest.  Without hesitation he handed me PB, and he kept up with that meowing tradition his whole life.

    Of the two cats he was clearly the more adept hunter.  When stayed at my Mom's house, the neighbors would complain that he and Grey Monster would lie in wait by the bird feeder they had in their backyard, and when a bird fluttered to the ground the retrieve a seed...well...things didn't turn out well for the bird.  In the evenings when Mom would settle in on the couch in the living room, the cats would assume their positions: Grey Monster on her lap, and Peanut Butter on the top of the couch, both within petting distance.

    When it came to getting that quality petting time, PB wasn't shy!  Sometimes I'd be lying on the bed or sitting on the couch, and Grey Monster might walk by and I'd call to him to stop by.  So he'd come by the edge of the couch or the bed, and sit there for a moment.  And then he would look away, then look at me, then look at the bed, then look away...and he'd keep doing this for a while as he was making up his mind whether it would be worth the effort to jump up there.  And then Peanut Butter would come by, see what was going on, and just immediately jump up right in front of Grey and take the petting and scratching he could have had!

    When Nataliya came into my life, she brought her big heart for animals with her.  Despite Peanut Butter's standoff-ish demeanor she was determined to win him over.  First, she gave him several much-needed nicknames: Pinnachio, Pinnachik, Pendrachik.  His annoyed meow became part of our own little dialect in the household - when one of us was not so keen on an idea, the other would ask, "Why are you so 'Eeeh!"?  It's funnier to hear it of course.

    With her great intuition, Nata sensed that perhaps because of his skittish nature Peanut needed a bit more security to make him feel comfortable.  And she did something I would never have thought off - she got him a nice, comfy little cat bed, his own little space, his "beddie-bed."  And he loved that bed.  He would walk into it, and soon would start purring as he "milked" the padded sides of it.  However much space he took up with his bed, on our bed, that space was deducted from mine.  When I would protest to Nataliya that I was just about to fall off my 6-inch sliver of the bed, she would answer that it's for Pendrachik.  He had nudged his way ahead of me in the bed hierarchy.

    Beginning a few years ago Pinnachio began to develop some urinary problems, sadly common in cats.  The crystals in his urine would sometimes scrape his urethra when he urinated, causing him to painfully urinate blood.  We tried to mitigate his condition but over time it didn't seem to get much better.  This past weekend his urethra became blocked causing his bladder to fill like a balloon with urine behind it.  He was taken to the vet and he had to be catheterized evacuate the urine past the crystal blockage.  After making sure he could evacuate himself unaided afterwards we brought him home.  Wednesday night he was fine, went outside to play and when he came in I gave him his medicine and he seemed to be okay.

    The next morning when I went to pull him out from under the bed to give him his medicine he hissed at me, and seemed to be in a lot of pain.  I took him right away to the vet.  In the process of trying to catheterize him and relieve the urine, his weakened bladder ruptured.  They performed emergency surgery, but it was just too much.

    And today I shed some tears as I pitched a spade into the moist dirt behind the garden, to say goodbye to my friend of ten years.  I picked out a nice spot by the trees so he can keep chasing  the birds, and I put him in his beddie-bed so he would feel safe.
    Peanut Butter

  • My two butts worth

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    As it happened, we didn't have time in the show for me to fully respond to Jay's position on the impending Michigan smoking ban.  I've posted Jay's comments from today's show at the bottom of this article. 
    -------------------
    As for Jay's question of who will enforce the smoking ban, I would respond the same people who are right now enforcing the drinking age.
    ------------------

    As for Jay's lament that you can't just step outside and have a smoke - you can't be anywhere on the property, I would cite MLive.com:

    "There is no distance specified in the law for how far someone has to be from a no-smoking area to legally light up, although that distance can be governed by local ordinance in some communities."

    -----------------

    So, for all we know at this point, it's not out of the question that bars, etc will be able to setup some sort of area outdoors to accommodate smokers.  I have great confidence the proprietors will be able to work something out.  It's a case in which I say let the free market figure it out.  Since everyone has to abide by it, it doesn't really give any one place an advantage or disadvantage.

     

    The gloom-n-doom spectres of bars going out of business left and right have proven to be false as demonstrated in other states such as New York and California - larger states than Michigan - that have passed similar bans.  I say about time!

     

     

    Jay Morris on the Michigan smoking ban

  • Nice Rack!

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    I think it says something about a business whether or not they have a bike rack out front.  I picked up biking a few years back when gas hovered around $3.50 and quickly found that not only was it not very hard to bike to work, it did not take unreasonably long to do so (I used to work 2 jobs and had a 27-mile roundtrip commute).

    When someone drives to a business, they expect there will be a parking lot in which to leave their car while they shop.  But on a bike, it's always a crapshoot to see if there'll be a place for me.  Security is a real concern when you're pedal-commuting - I've invested a fair amount of time and money setting the bike up  just so and it would be a real burden to replace it.  So when I need to go inside the store, I have to find something to which I can lock my bike.

    If the business has a bike rack then that's usually the way to go.  But the problem then is that the rack is usually up front by the door, right by where everybody files in and out of the store.  While I may be able to quickly lock my bike and front wheel to the rack, there are several expensive accessories just sitting there waiting to be taken.  For me to remove the headlight ($120), cyclometer ($50), rearview mirror ($30) and panniers ($280) would take absurdly long, so I usually end up ducking into the store, sprinting up and down the aisles to get my stuff, panicking that any moment my stuff might grow legs.

    I'm getting a bit off-track.  What I meant to say was, as a cyclist it's always nice to see a rack up front - sort of a welcome mat for those of us on two wheels, a respectful tip of the hat.  I think for the modest investment in a bike rack, even if the rack isn't used much, I think it conveys a positive, and I'll say it, clean green image.  People are biking more to save on gas money, help the environment, get exercise, and when I see a bike rack in front of a business it for me creates the image of being in support of that.

    Couple examples: I stopped by First of, er, um National, uh, PNC Bank on West Main.  Pulled up, no bike rack.  Had to lockup to a signpost across the parking lot.  People look at me funny: "You're not supposed to be doing that!"  I was pretty surprised they didn't have one, being as close to campus as they are, and kinda the university's bank and all.

    Then last night I had to stop by Lowe's at West Main and Drake.  As I was pulling up I thought to myself "They won't have a bike rack here - why would they?  People come here to buy lumber and tools - you don't carry that on a bike."  And as I pulled up whattaya know - bike rack!  And here's a place that I'll bet it doesn't get much use - mine was the only bike there, as it usually is - but it was sending the right message.

  • Ploy Story

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    The free-flowing format of the Jay Morris Show is such that sometimes we have to move on from a topic before I get a chance to say my piece.  On today's show Jay was talking about a city ordinance in Santa Clara, California banning the giving-away of toys in high-calorie unhealthy fast-food meals - i.e., Happy Meals.  Here's the article:

    http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/reuters/MTFH57097_2010-04-27_22-31-46_N27113990.htm)

    Jay bemoaned this as another example of the "nanny state" and government telling parents how to raise their kids.  You can hear his entire comments at the bottom of this posting.

    Here's my response...

    IMHO, Jay lives in a place I like to call "Make-Believe Land of Perfect Parents" (MBLPP).  In MBLPP, every parent  has time to help the kids with their homework.  The Perfect Parents of Jay's existence are always over their kids' shoulder to make sure they're not playing violent games or listening to vulgar music.  The Perfect Parents in this fabled land know who all their kids' friends are and keep tabs on everything their kids do online.  Life is beautiful in the Make-Believe Land of Perfect Parents.

    The Make-Believe Land of Perfect Parents sounds like a really nice place, and I'm sure Jay's household resembles MBLPP in many ways, and that's a credit to Jay.  That's great that Jay is such a terrific parent, but I don't think it's logical for him to extrapolate his family experience to be the way all families in America are run.  Not everyone in America has the same advantages and opportunites as Jay, much less the same skillset.  Jay's family is unique in America, just like every other family.  So to say that "this is how it works in MY family, therefore every family should just do as I do and everything will be fine" just doesn't work.  It's not so simple.

    The rest of us don't live in the Make-Believe Land of Perfect Parents - we live in the real world, and deal with all its imperfections.  (A side note: I hear that in MBLPP people also only text when their car is at a red light, never when the car is moving, therefore it is not necessary to ban texting while driving).

    In Jay's MBLPP world, harried parents do not give in to kids' whiny demands for McDonalds.  In MBLPP, parents have plenty of time and patience to cook nutritious meals from scratch.  In the real world however, these kids are aggressively marketed by an advertising juggernaut.  As was famously demonstrated in "Super Size Me," more American kids can identify Ronald McDonald than Washington or Lincoln.  That's no accident.  That is a deliberate campaign that plants the seed early and often, conditioning kids (using a harmless, happy clown - I mean, how could anything be bad about a clown?) to accept a life of fast food normalcy.  

     I hear people say that it's just advertising, and it's not like anyone's putting a gun to these parents' heads and forcing them to pull into the Golden Arches.  Again - back to reality.  Micky D's found out a long time ago that many parents do actually know better than to shovel garbage down their kids' gullets, so instead they started marketing to the kids directly.  Parents might think about the consequences - "If I feed my kid crap like this all the time, I'm likely instilling habits that will lead to obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc" - but for kids it's more like - "Bright colors!  Clowns!  Toys!  Playland!  Kids having fun eating burgers and fries!  Yay!"  So McDonald's effectively planted a shill for their wares in the car, they planted a mole right in your own family to get your kids (and the whole family) to eat more and more of this stuff.  

    If you really believe that there is not a causal path from the toys and clowns, to your kids, to your kids' health problems, then explain to me why McDonalds spent $1.2 billion on this useless advertising in 2008 if it's not working? (http://www.burgerbusiness.com/?p=1505)

     Recently, a group of retired armed forces leaders said that more than a quarter of young adults are unable to meet physical requirements to join the military, creating a potential threat to national security. (http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/20/military.fat.fight/index.html)  Are these battle-hardened military leaders going soft on us?  Are these the liberal left?  I doubt it.  Rather, they see the end result of this cycle.  They see the fat kids trying out and not making it and they know it didn't used to be this way.  They say all great empires eventually fall because they get soft and lazy and weak.  Can anyone look at this fast food nation and say it's not the case?

    The reality is that many frazzled parents, working two jobs, barely getting by, kids screaming in the back seat "We wanna Happy Meal" with whatever that summer's hot movie toy is - the reality outside of Jay's world is that this marketing is working and people are offering up their kids for a lifetime of slugging down greasy cheeseburgers (Hey!  Maybe that's where Jay got it...).

    There are several examples of cases in which we, as a society, agree that kids aren't mature enough to make certain, responsible decisions.  We agree that kids should be at least 16 before they have sound enough judgement that we would trust them to drive a car.  We agree they should be at least 18 before they make a decision whether or not to smoke, or deem them old enough to be held responsible for contracts they might enter, such as credit cards.  We agree (well, some of us do) that people should be at least 21 before being allowed to drink alcohol (but they can never explain the old-enough-to-die-for-your-country at 18 thing but can't have a beer til 21, but that's another blog...).  But yet we allow helpless kids to be bombarded with imagery painstakingly designed to manipulate them into profoundly unhealthy habits.  But it's okay, because it's disguised as a clown.

    In Jay's comments below he mentions that the California Restaurant Association is protesting the law with a full-page newspaper ad showing a girl in handcuffs holding a stuffed animal.  Handcuffs?  Really?  Think maybe the restaurant folks are hamming it up a bit?  Reminds me of Reggie Miller flopping to the floor trying to draw a foul.  Merely preventing McD's (or any of the other fast-foodies that use toys to leverage kids into eating their junk food) from putting toys in the Happy Meals is like putting kids in handcuffs?  Whenever a big company whines about "freedom" you can be damned sure they're talking about "freedom to make a profit."  Yeah, by taking a small, symbolic step to help prevent these kids from becoming bloated burger-n-fries junkies, we're puttin' 'em in handcuffs and taking away their freedom!  

    I realize that the one case of the Santa Clara ordinance will not take down the McDonald's corporate behemoth, but I have to applaud someone for standing up this monster in clown makeup, hiding behind that "Who, me?" expression, "Manipulating your kids into obesity for the sake of profit?" (bats innocent clown eyelashes).  These deep-fried chickens will come home to roost.

    ------------------------------------

    Note: In a previous edition the "Make-Believe Land of Perfect Parents" had a much more clever name, splicing "Parent" and "Utopia."  But then I got my first-ever trademark notice, so...

    Jay's take on the Happy Meal toy ban

  • Energy Evolution

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    04/22/10: On Earth Day, Jay and I are talking about where we should be getting our energy.  I say it's time to take off the training wheels and kick our oil habit!  For the complete show check out http://www.wkzo.com/podcasts/jay-morris-show/

    Sean debates with Jay about fossil fuel dependence

  • You want me to pay for WHAT?

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    I stopped by the post office the other day to get a change of address form - moving target harder to hit n' all that - and instead I found some slips advising that I could help the environment by changing my address online.  Sounds good to me, I do lots of stuff online.  So I start the process 'til I get to this point...

    So let me get this straight - I'm supposed to PAY in order to help the post office save on paperwork?  No thanks - I'll pick up my form...

  • Decoding the Tea People

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    And here's another thing about these Tea Parties that's just so adorable.  It's the way they try to cover up their agenda and speak to their base with little code phrases, like they're in their own little secret-handshake-club in the treehouse back in our childhood.  They spew this noble-sounding jive 'cause they need to dress it up for television.  Let me give you a few translations.

    When the Tea People say...Freedom.

    What they mean is...Freedom to make a profit without any government oversight.

    This is part of the myth that if we just leave everything to the free market, we can always trust Big Business to do the right thing.  BS.  Every regulatory agency that exists does so because capitalism has shown that, if given a choice between making a profit and the welfare of people, it will reliably come down on the side of greed.  This is like saying the reason we have all this crime  is because of all these prisons we've built.  If we'd just let the criminals have their freedom, there'd be no crime!

    Here's a blog post on this topic: http://www.wkzo.com/blogs/post/spatrick/2010/mar/19/im-big-business-and-im-here-help/

    When the Tea People say...they're opposed to Big Government.

    What they mean is...Waaaaaaaaah!  I don't wanna pay my taxes!

    The sarcasm is so pure, it's transparent.  As in, they don't even realize they're being sarcastic!  It's beautiful.

    Let's look at the full picture for a moment.  Look at the "patriots" dressed up in cute Revolutionary War costumes (I'll bet a fife player could make a pretty good living this time of year).  Ask 'em if they love America - "Absolutely."  Ask 'em if they support the troops - "Hell yeah!"

    Consider that here in the United States, we have arguably the highest quality of living in the world, certainly the most powerful military.  Since you get what you pay for it would stand to reason that we should be taxed near the highest rate in the world, since when you pay your taxes you're paying for the high-quality life you get in the US compared to other parts of the world.  But actually the US falls down the chart to about the 20-25th highest.  So we get the best quality of life, but are only taxed at the 20th highest rate.  Sounds like a great deal to me!

    Now consider that the great military that defends us is disproportionately made up of people from average or below-average socioeconomic status.

    So I see these people in their red, white and blue outfits talking about how this is "Their" country and they want to take it back, but America isn't SO great that they'll willing to actually pay to live here.  And then I think about the poor people in the military making ACTUAL sacrifices in their lives to protect a bunch of CRYBABIES who will never be satisfied until everything is given to them free of charge.  Talk about the REAL welfare mentality.  

    So when they rail against "Big Government" they're really saying "I just made a poopy diaper."

    When they say...We don't hate gay people - we're just trying to protect marriage.

    What they mean is...We hate gay people, it's just socially unacceptable to say that out loud.

    Haven't heard this one much from the Tea People, but it's another one of those "coded" messages those on the right like to send out to their base.  If they were genuinely interested in "protecting marriage" - and I have yet to find anyone who can demonstrate a logical connection between gay people getting married and a threat to heterosexual marriages - they would focus on actually protecting marriage, perhaps by making divorces more difficult to obtain?  Requiring pre-marriage counselling?  I have yet to see any "marriage protecting" ideas from these people who don't even have the integrity to just come out and say they don't like gay people.

     

  • I (heart) Tea Partiers!

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    I woke up this morning and had a realization - I am 100% on the side of the Tea Parties!

    I see the images on TV, Republican polticians spouting every right-wing paranoid-conspiracy cliche they can think of trying to pimp themselves out to pick up a few of these crazy-eyed fringe elements.  I mean, just put 'em on a brass pole and tuck yer votes in their G-string.

     

    And I realized this is a dream come true for Democrats.

     

    The Tea Party types were never going to vote Democrat anyway, so the only real influence they can have is to siphon votes away from Republican candidates.  With no chance to get their own candidates elected, they can only have a "Ross Perot" effect and swing close elections the Dems' way.  Irony, satisfying irony.

     

    And those who try to pander to this lunatic fringe won't fare any better (I'm looking at you Michele Bachmann). For every extremist or two they appease with some drastic, way-out-the-mainstream idea (for example, starting a new militia in Oklahoma to oppose the federal govt ) they'll turn off hundreds more who would wisely question the judgement of such a candidate.

     

    So if I may make a small request of all the Tea Partiers: Please, PLEASE just keep doing what you're doing.  Complain real loudly about having to pay your taxes to live in this country you love so much.  Keep repeating words you don't really understand, like "socialist" and "birth certificate."  And by all means, bring as many posters of Obama-as-Hilter as the kids can carry.
     
    Your country needs you!

     

  • Press Pass: Pistons-Bulls March 28, 2010

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    Well I've been pretty bad about posting, so I'll try to make it up with this behind-the-scenes video of my day shooting pics at the Palace!

  • Fox "News" takes on LL Cool J, but not in a cool "8 Mile" rap-battle kinda way

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    The next time someone on the right looks faux shocked at evidence of bias at Fox "News" and takes great umbrage when you point out Fox is a propaganda outlet at best, here's another reminder why you can say it.

    Flash-in-the-pan Sarah Palin has a new show coming out on Fox called "Real American Stories."  On the show Palin features success stories of people who have overcome adversity.  Among the people covered are country music star Toby Keith and former GE Chairman Jack Welch.  Hip-hop star and actor LL Cool J was to be among those featured and a clip of him appeared in a promo for the show.

    The problem was that he had never given an interview for Sarah Palin's show.  As Mr. Cool J Tweeted: "Fox lifted an old interview I gave in 2008 to someone else & are misrepresenting to the public in order to promote Sarah Palins Show. WOW."

    So instead of at least having the class and integrity to acknowledge they got caught misrepresentin' again (Remember the bogus use of old Tea party footage to bolster inflated attendance at a health care event? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/11/jon-stewart-catches-sean_n_353447.html), Fox instead attacks the person who revealed their deception, and does so in a most childish way.

    Fox released a statement to Yahoo News stating: "Real American Stories features uplifting tales about overcoming adversity and we believe Mr. Smith's (LL Cool J)interview fit that criteria. However, as it appears that Mr. Smith does not want to be associated with a program that could serve as an inspiration to others, we are cutting his interview from the special and wish him the best with his fledgling acting career."

    Let's look at this little-girl-skinned-knee whine for a moment.  LL Cool J granted an interview a while ago and Fox is misrepresenting it as something it's not, but Fox goes on to take personal jabs: the note asserts that the problem is with Cool J.  Sounds more to me like he just doesn't want his image misrepresented; how do you make that logical leap that he doesn't want to be part of an inspiring show?  You can't - there's no basis in logic and no reason for this comment to appear in the statement other than as an insult.

    And then the backhanded best wishes in his "fledgling acting career."  At least 42 appearances I find on imdb.com in big-budget motion pictures, network television, etc.  This is considered a "fledgling" career?  I could probably find a few thousand waiters in LA who would give up a kidney for such a fledging career.  Clearly another hurt-feelings potshot that has no basis in reality.

    It's no surprise anymore to see Fox twist the facts to fit the narrative they're trying to project, but it's not often you see this streamlined image machine lose its bearing and catch a glimpse at the ugly face of it.