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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Off to kill some birds June 30, 2007 10:33 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Of Interest, Sarah, Scouts
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Kill some birds?! From 11am to 2pm we will be at the Bearden Middle School courtyard cleaning out the gardens, washing walls, and bashing cement with sledge hammers. Feel free to join us!

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Michael Moore’s Sicko Review June 30, 2007 12:10 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Health, Of Interest, Touchy Subjects, TV / Movies
, 7comments

A really big thank you needs to be extended to R Neal and Mrs. Neal for putting together this opportunity for the blogging community to gather.

US Canada health care comparison

The first thing that hit me was my overwhelming inability to put faces to online personages. (Sorry to anyone that I shoved the camera in your face and took a picture. I was doing what I was told “take closeup pictures” and it only occurred to me later that I could stand back and use the zoom.) Then I was hit with the nostalgia of Downtown 8. Wow! That theatre hasn’t changed in years. The lack of stadium seating and the click-click-click of non-digital projection really took me back.

I have never seen a Michael Moore film so I truly did not know what to expect. I thought this would be a dull documentary. It was a well narrated, well filmed and entertaining story. From all the controversial and negativeness I have heard, I truly expected the film to be terribly lopsided. On the contrary, I found the information well presented and it seemed very fair. Yes, perhaps the "average" family in France did not truly represent an average family but it made its point well. In January (and other times), I have read and looked into alternative ways health care is provided around the world. I am no expert but Sicko’s information seemed to match my reading.

Cathy and I are two of the 50 million uninsured Americans and we suffer because of it. The children are covered by insurance but I live under constant fear that something will happen to us before I can change our insurance situation. I personally connected with this film on several levels. I laughed. I was awed. I nearly cried. The film documented a future I fear for Cathy and myself. MM SickoBut it goes beyond us. As a cash pay in the doctor’s office, I have noted the different ways we are treated. While an insurance company may deny a procedure, cash never gets turned down; however, it gets frowned at and somehow I feel like I end up in the hands of lessor trained doctors while the insured get the cream of the crop.

Before this film came out, I felt that the health care system in America needed a dramatic change. Yes, I favor a more socialized approach. I feel that if we take care of our citizens then our citizens will take much better care of our society and we will be an even better country. I left the theatre in high spirits knowing that I am not alone in my hopes that one day we will put people’s health above profit. Even if you are a Michael Moore hater, I encourage you to see this film!

I almost took a picture of the near full theatre and could kick myself for not doing so after reading Michael Moore’s letter asking for pictures. I did a rough headcount and gather that there were between 80-100 people watching. In attendance (links to reviews/opinions in bold):

Saw the show

Did not see the show

Update: Cnn Analysis of Sicko. "numbers mostly accurate; more context needed"

As we dug deep to uncover the numbers, we found surprisingly few inaccuracies in the film.[emphasis added] In fact, most pundits or health-care experts we spoke to spent more time on errors of omission rather than disputing the actual claims in the film.

As Americans continue to spend $2 trillion a year on health care, everyone agrees on one point: Things need to change, and it will take more than a movie to figure out how to get there.

CNN Reviews Sicko

In a nutshell, Moore’s argument comes down to this: the insurance companies are making a killing at their customers’ expense.

Having “enjoyed” first-hand experience of two of these three health systems — the British and the Canadian — I can attest that they’re not quite as idyllic as Mr. Moore paints them. Except in comparison with the U.S. system, of course, and that’s the point.[emphasis added] Moore is a master of overstatement, but his comic shtick hits the target more often than not. It only hurts when we laugh.

With four times as many health lobbyists as there are congressmen, and with multimillion-dollar campaign donations at stake, the prospect of universal care seems a distant hope.

It’s not impossible that this bitterly funny, bitterly sad call to alms could move reform back up the political agenda. For that reason alone, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. [emphasis added]

Some doctors are for national health care: Physicians for a Nation Health Program

Update: Slate: Michael Moore and the Beige Bomber
KnoxBlab discussion
More at Knoxviews
Betsy Pickle – KNS reviewer


Sicko – Well done! June 29, 2007 9:39 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Of Interest, TV / Movies
, 4comments

I’ll have more later. Michael Moore made an exceptional movie!


Heading to Sicko tonight! June 29, 2007 1:15 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cathy, Daily Life, Family, Of Being Dad, Of Interest, Politics, Sarah, Tommy, Touchy Subjects, TV / Movies
, 10comments

When Tommy declared, "There should be a law that you have to speak English in America." I ranted at him for half an hour. I didn’t force my view upon him rather made an effort to open his mind to another perspective. I used examples such as "if you went to Spain, you should have to speak Spanish" and he’d retort "but I am not living there" so we went through what-if scenario after scenario and using examples such as the nice people who work at CiCi’s pizza and do not speak a word of English yet they communicate with the patrons just fine. Eventually Tommy was begging to end the conversation and I released him content that maybe he’d heard something; more than likely, he will simply think twice before raising such issues in front of me again (which would be a shame).

MM Sicko

Since Tommy will vote for our next President, and since he gets plenty of far right opinion for other relatives, I felt it prudent that he and Sarah begin their political education. How fortunate that R. Neal of Knoxviews.com offered up some tickets to Michael Moore’s Sicko! I’m sure their grandfather will deprogram them afterwards. It is not the point-of-view that I want to impress upon the children as much as I want them to appreciate that there are multiple ways to see a subject, multiple solutions to a problem, and that they should try to see everything as if they were in that other person’s shoes. See you at the movie tonight!


Boycott the iPhone! June 29, 2007 12:45 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Communications, Gadgets, Of Interest, Technology
, 6comments

I hate AT&T but I love Cingular therefore I am an AT&T customer. And if I had the money and the time to stand in line we would probably have 4 or 5 iPhones in the house tonight.

Working Assets is a really top-notch organization, and they’ve nailed one of the reasons I’ve been skeptical of the iPhone since the start. Handset locking sucks, and AT&T sucks more: These people are criminal traitors who helped wiretap the nation, neutricidal maniacs bent on wrecking the Internet, and convicted monopolists besides. [Source]

See also (
Steve Jobs addresses new AT&T/iPhone controversy)
. More iPhone links.


Link Baited! June 29, 2007 11:18 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cool Sites, Of Interest, Politics, Touchy Subjects
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By Michael Silence?!

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The Omniscient Internet June 29, 2007 8:55 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Music, Of Interest
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Wikipedia knew before the police did!

Investigators are looking into who altered pro wrestler Chris Benoit’s Wikipedia entry to mention his wife’s death hours before authorities discovered the bodies of the couple and their 7-year-old son. [Source]

Thanks Single Dads.

Update: According to BoingBoing, there has been a confession and the change to the article was apparently an ill timed "joke."

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Action Park! June 27, 2007 11:20 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, History, Medford
, 1 comment so far

Action Park NJ Water Slide Loop

I want to know if JayMonster remembers Action Park in Vernon Township, New Jersey. Although I lived in Medford, NJ (1983-1986) while it was open, I never ventured that far north. Instead I played at Great Adventure (saw the Monkies anniversary tour there). Here’s a fantastic description of Action Park. And here are pictures of the abandonedout of season park. These comments are very interesting too!

I was a lifeguard at Action Park for a summer. We called it Traction Park, and man could I tell stories about that place. Let me just say, it is very, very difficult to rescue an obese, panicked man who just dropped acid. The scratches were incredible. Can’t wait to read the Wiki — I’d never have thought to look.

Edit: A few funny things the wiki omits (although there’s obviously nothing funny about the serious injuries and deaths).

First, a large Hassidic community was located not far from the park. For those who aren’t familiar with the sect, females are required by religious edict to wear heavy ankle-length skirts. Always. As you might imagine, this sucked for swimming, but the non-lifeguard staff, who were often fourteen, were generally responsible for letting visitors go from the tops of various cliffs and slides. They were easily bullied, and every damn time I saw a Hassidic woman at the top of the cliff jump, I knew I was going in. It was outrageous. On the speed slides, which did not have lifeguards because they lacked deep water, it was enormously entertaining to watch our insistent patrons arrive with their ankle-length skirts over their heads.

Second, the wiki forgets a “cannonball” slide that went underground, completely enclosed, and dumped patrons in a very deep pool beyond sight of the launching point. Many non-swimmers launched with no idea they’d hit deep water. Trouble is, a fourteen-year-old non-lifeguard was responsible for letting people go, and the lifeguard at the bottom was all alone. This was, by far, the most terrifying lifeguard assignment. You’d go in for one drowner (or two, as there were parallel chutes) and the nitwit up top, if he wasn’t paying attention, would drop new drowners on you. If you got in trouble, you could whistle and hope guards at the nearby Tarzan Swing would save your ass, but nearby concerts often made this improbable. I was pulled under by people on drugs (they break all the rules you’re taught about water rescue — in particular, they don’t reflexively let go if you swim down); had to pull out an entire family simultaneously; and did, of course, have to pull out the odd Hassidic woman entangled in her own skirt. The scariest thing I saw occurred in my very first week. A large man on drugs (again, you can tell b/c they don’t let go if you swim down), headlocked a female lifeguard who probably weighed 100 pounds. Three guards piled on and had to beat him repeatedly about the head with rescue rings (about the firmness of a baseball) until he let go, by which time he was unconscious and the girl he headlocked had two lungs full of water. It’s something of a miracle that the place stayed in business as long as it did.

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Thank you Internet! June 27, 2007 10:44 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Humor, Philosophy, Publishing, Video
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Today’s Confessional – Harassment June 27, 2007 10:14 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, History, Philosophy, Touchy Subjects
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As I child, I was taught to "never air your dirty laundry." I am certain that many people, family in particular, find it confusing that I am so willing to openly share my life with the world touching on such taboo subjects as sex, drugs, politics and religion. Why dredge up the forgotten past and mar my reputation, or future possibilities, with a permanent record of folly long forgiven? This is a good opportunity to point to the Why I Blog page.

First off, I want to say that blogging is stupid. Most bloggers, such as myself, have no journalism training. We are not professionals, are prone to errors, tempted to propagate rumor, and are busily creating a permanent record of non-retractible statements. We paint targets on ourselves and encourage friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers to make comments which, depending on our mood, may hurt our feelings or cause us to make a flippant remark in jest or anger that changes our relationship with those commenters. It is dangerous waters. [Source]

That said, I do hold back a lot that others may find interesting. I have done much in my life. I have explored. I have experimented. I have experienced. I have done good and I have done things for which I am not proud. Some of these stories, told briefly in writing and out of context, could all too easily be misconstrued. I would never want to lose friends, job opportunity, or something as important as being able to volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America over a misunderstood story. Now, for a story from my past, which I had hoped to let fade from memory and never have retold.

I love mentoring. I love leading. Years ago I was promoted to a management job. That was the greatest job! I took one last look at my swimsuit calendar and passed it onto a ex-peer. I deleted all my inappropriate jokes, sanitized my office of general offensiveness, took some leadership classes, and stepped into the position ready to be the world’s greatest manager. I planned to be friendly without overstepping bounds. I would be approachable but demanding. If the staff went to an after work gather and I were invited, I would be the last to arrive and the first to leave, if I showed at all.

One day, one of my female staff asked for a meeting with me. We made it a walking meeting since the weather was nice. She asked that I promote her into a position that didn’t exist. When I explained that I did not have hiring authority and that I definitely did not have authority to create a non-existent job, she said, "you’ll regret that" and walked away. I then spent my remaining days in that job giving HR a daily report on how this one particular employee was not being harassed, how the environment was not hostile, and answering questions about the various rumors which flew around the staff. Apparently I was having the greatest sex of my life because there weren’t many people I hadn’t slept with–if you believed the gossip. I was fortunate that HR was on my side; they had good files and we would have triumphed in a legal battle! None-the-less, it did hurt. My reputation was tarnished. Decisions had to be made on the assumption that this employee told an unproven truth. My boss was 2000 miles away receiving my stories, HR’s version, and the gossip. It detracted from the business at hand and I am certain was an underlying reason for the final closure of that division of the company.

The irony is that I saved that employee. She had come from a different division of the company which was being downsized. She was slated to be laid off. I didn’t need any additional staff. As a favor to a VP, I created an additional position for her (yes, that authority I did have) and she was transferred instead of laid off. It is from that position that she insisted I promote her. I should have promoted her. No. I should have fired her on the spot.

I may be a little jaded when it appears that someone is trying to makes gains at someone else’s expense. I don’t like win-lose. I don’t like lose-win. I like positive. I like win-win!

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ColdFusion 8 to be much faster June 27, 2007 1:00 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : ColdFusion, Programming, Technology
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Ben has the numbers.

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Help Michael – Regarding Blogs June 27, 2007 10:30 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Blog, Politics, Publishing, Regional Politics (SE), Touchy Subjects
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Michael Silence is requesting some input. He asks, "Which 4 or 5 blogs do you recommend for following politics and issues in TN" and "What are the active blogs in West TN." Please follow each link and give him some feedbacks in his comment section under each post. Thanks!

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You old? June 27, 2007 9:16 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cool Sites, Of Interest, Philosophy
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Apparently I’m Generation Y.


Of Grasshoppers June 27, 2007 8:47 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Of Grasshoppers, Philosophy
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Student: What does it mean when your wife meanders past without grousing a "morin’"?
Master: Means you’d better hope she was sleep walking!

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So, you call yourself Libertarian June 27, 2007 6:22 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Politics, Touchy Subjects, United States
, 2comments

You might want to read this essay derived from the official Libertarian platform adopted July 2, 2006.

The majority of you Libertarian converts have no freaking clue what Libertarians actually believe. All you know is that they aren’t Democrats, they aren’t Republicans, and they seem to have this thing against taxes. A lot of new Libertarians were recently Republicans, until the Republican Party got hijacked by a bunch of crazy Bible thumpers. Before that, I daresay a lot of you were Democrats, before the Democrats became a bunch of spineless wimps scared of their own shadows. [Source]

The parts that disturbed me the most were "Libertarians also believe in “full market ownership” of the airwaves and abolishing the FCC." and the property rights stance. I could see full market ownership of the airwaves leading to a single company or entity owning everything broadcast. It would be lousy to get only one style, viewpoint, or genre over the airwaves. HAM radio would be destroyed. Under Libertarian property rights, only the wealthy could enjoy our natural resources (if any remained). Most likely, we would see our national parks developed into exclusive resorts and gated communities.

So, are you really Libertarian?