Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Winner of the Week

Winner of the Week: Brenden Foster

This is an incredible story from ABC News.

Just imagine what you might do if a doctor said you have only two weeks left to live.

For 11-year-old Brenden Foster of Bothell, Wash., who was given that prognosis earlier this year after learning he was suffering from leukemia last December, the answer was probably not what you'd expect.

"I was coming back from one of my clinic appointments and I saw this big thing of homeless people and then I thought I should just get them something," Foster said.

Instead of asking for an expensive toy or a fancy vacation, he decided to focus all his remaining energy on feeding the homeless.

"They're probably starving, so give them a chance," he said.

He was too weak to do it himself, but his determination caught on near his home in Seattle, where neighbors and residents launched a food drive.

"We're going to get together tonight with about 15 people and make 200 sandwiches and then bring them downtown tomorrow," said Jennifer Morrison, one of the volunteers.

It was just the beginning. His story touched people so deeply that it spread, inspiring food drives from Los Angeles to Pensacola, Fla., to a school in Ohio -- all in this past week alone.

"I've never seen the courage that this little boy just displayed," one homeless man said as he waited for a meal at the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles. "I've never seen anything like it in my life. It left me speechless."

"As soon as I saw it, I'm a crybaby and I just got tears in my eyes," one woman said. "I'm trying to get my life straight and everything and that's something that's going to let me look at the better in life."

Foster, who devoted his final days to lifting others up, became bedridden; the kid who could once outrun any of his friends could no longer walk. Last week, Foster could hardly keep his eyes open, but he didn't waiver from his wish.

"'Tis the season to give," he said.

How do they know?

Every Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's weekends, the AAA puts out a story about the number of people driving or travelling over the holiday weekend. This weekend, the AAA says the number of people going somewhere for Thanksgiving is down 1.5 percent. How do they know? How do they gather this information?

I have yet to read a newspaper article about how they actually get this number.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Boredom at the airport

During my seven hour layover in San Francisco, I had plenty of time to do a lot of things. I read, studied, worked on a syllabus, ate dinner, and I drew a picture. I love to draw when I have lots of spare time, like sitting in an airport. I bought a book at a used book store in Cleveland that had very old landscape prints. I drew this in about three hours.

Early runaway for Loser of the Week

Loser of the Week: Michael Vick
New details have come out about Michael Vick's torturing of dogs. In yesterday's USA Today, it was reported that Vick "put family pets in rings with pit bulls and thought it was funny watching the trained killers injure or kill the helpless dogs, a witness told federal investigators during the dogfighting investigation that sent Vick to prison."

Vick is scheduled for release on July 20th.

Pictured above is my dog, Bonnie. How anybody could do something so cruel to sweet animals like Bonnie is so wrong.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Latest

I'm sorry for not posting Winners and Losers this past week. I got home from a quick trip to San Diego for the National Communication Association yearly conference. It's a fun time because I get to see people present their research on various topics. It's a great conference to go to.

Last year, the conference was in Chicago. Next year, it goes back to Chicago. Check out the next few years for NCA.
2010 San Francisco
2011 New Orleans
2012 Orlando
2013 Washington, D.C.
2014 Chicago

I can't wait to Chicago again. I went last year and loved it. I want to go to San Francisco and see Alcatraz. I have seen it on tv and in the movies so many times.

Right now, I am feeling very tired from the five hour cross country flight and then a very long layover in Detroit...just to fly 20 minutes to get to Toledo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Colin Hay groupie

Since I grew up in the 80s, I love the music from that era. Men at Work is my favorite band from that period. The original group put out two albums. "Business as Usual" which gave us the hits Who Can It Be Now? and Down Under. "Cargo" came next and had the songs Overkill and It's a Mistake. Since Men at Work broke-up many years ago, the lead singer with that great voice, Colin Hay, has continued to make great music. While he's not commerically successful, he has a good fanbase. He has appeared on Scrubs several times and had a hit song on the soundtrack to the film Garden State.

Now, there's news that Colin is back in the studio recording another solo cd; due for release in 2009. I am excited.

If you ever get the chance to see Colin perform, check him out. You won't regret it. He puts on a great show and as Randy Jackson on American Idol would say, he can blow. Colin's amazing voice is so powerful.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Winners and Losers of LAST Week

It's not like me to be tardy but I needed to hold off on posting for a couple of days.
My Winners of the Week: Darius Weems and the Darius Goes West crew.

In the photo up top, I am pictured with Darius Weems. Darius has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It's fatal. Darius' older brother died from the same illness when he was 19. Darius graduated from high school this past school year.

Darius is the star of a documentary called "Darius Goes West" in which 11 friends try to get Darius' wheelchair on MTV's "Pimp My Ride." Hollywood can't script something this good. It's an amazing story. The guys are even better. The dedication they have for making Darius' life as good as it can be is honorable.

In the photo below, I am pictured with Darius Weems, the crew and some ladies from Chi Delta Pi, one of the sponsors of the screening we did at the University of Toledo.

Visit the website for more information about this documentary. It was shown in Cleveland in 2007 and has won more than 25 film festival awards. It was the most honored film of 2007.

Losers of the Week: Normally, this spot would be reserved for governors/v-p candidates but I want the spot light to be on Darius.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Legend Has Died

Herb Score passed away today at the age of 75. For many of us born after he played, we knew Herb as the longtime broadcaster for the Cleveland Indians. Herb was a dominant pitcher until he was struck in the eye by a line drive, which cut his career short.

As a broadcaster, he saw and called some of the worst baseball ever. Fortunately, he was behind the mic when Frank Robinson became the first black manager in baseball (for the Indians). He also called Len Barker's perfect game at the old Municipal Stadium. There also were the two World Series appearances (1995 and 1997). During those World Series appearances, many fans wanted the Tribe to win one for Herb. It didn't happen.

Hearing Herb's voice often was a sign of spring and summer. There were many lazy days spent in the backyard or elsewhere, just relaxing with Herb calling the game in the background.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Winners and Losers

Winner of the Week: President-elect Barack Obama
Barack ran a classy campaign. He took the high road constantly as compared to his opponent who tried to connect him to terrorists and other bad people. The claims didn't stick. As Obama himself said, "when you don't have anything to say, you attack the other guy." Obama's well-run campaign helped him win Tuesday night's election in a landslide.

Winner of the Week: John McCain
Yeah, I know you can't believe I'm putting this here. However, despite the crappy campaign that McCain ran which included one of the most disasterous v-p picks of all-time, McCain delivered an outstanding concession speech. He expressed his sympathy for Obama's grandma during the speech.

And no, Governor Palin, you are not supposed to talk at all during this time. That concession speech is McCain's moment.

Loser of the Week: Rush Limbaugh
During Rush's show today, Rush pointed out how people like Iran's President, Louis Farrakhan, and Reverend Wright have all expressed their support for Obama since Tuesday. Rush said, "Barack has collected a nice group of supporters." And then he listed them. Rush then played several clips of Reverend Wright's infamous sermons. Rush is further proof of who/what party has been so divisive to this country.

Loser of the Week: Reverend Wright
Shut up and go away. Barack won. No need to appear on any shows. Just go away.

Thrown under the bus

The fallout from the McCain-Palin loss is building up. In the last few days, McCain insiders have been leaking to the media problems that were festering inside the campaign.

Among the problems cited by McCain aides:
Governor Palin didn't know that Africa is a continent and not a country.
Governor Palin didn't know the countries that are involved in NAFTA, you know, the NORTH AMERICA Free Trade Agreement. Her state borders one of the three countries.

"If there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made in debate prep about NAFTA, and about the continent vs. the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context," Palin said. "That's cruel, It's mean-spirited. It's immature. It's unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away with it, taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news. It's not fair, and it's not right."

These confidential sources were cited in a FOX NEWS Report, of all places.

How not knowing about Africa or NAFTA can be taken out of context is beyond me. I think we, the general public, know that when something is "taken out of context", that's usually b.s. Considering that Palin couldn't answer questions about the responsibilities of the vice president or what newspaper and magazines she reads, these "out of context" comments don't seem like much of a stretch.

And then there was the practical joke phone call from the Canadian radio personalities. Palin's camp claims they knew about this for at least three days and that McCain's camp should have known about it being on Palin's calendar. Nice communication there.

McCain insiders claim that McCain and Palin didn't talk over the last several days of the campaign. Hey, GOP supporters, that was what you wanted to have in the White House????? If this is how well they ran a campaign, it scares me to think how well they would have run the country.

This afternoon, Rush Limbaugh was still heaping praise on Sarah Palin, saying she's the future of the party. PLEASE...PLEASE...PLEASE, Republican party, if you think she's great, keep putting her out there. Us Democrats will be fine with that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A semi-recap.

Now that the election is over, I want to recap some random thoughts from the election.

Here are some things I am glad we (shouldn't) will not be hearing any more:
"You betcha."
"Say it ain't so, Joe."
"Hockey Mom."
"Joe Six Pack"
"First Dude"
"Palling around with terrorists."
"Bill Ayers"
"Reverend Wright"
"Skilled politician"
"Joe the Plumber"

The funniest thing said by John McCain, at least in my opinion, was during his interview with NBC's Brian Williams when Williams asked him about his thoughts on being down ten-percent in the polls. McCain said, "We've got them right where we want them."

Feel free to suggest or add any phrases I left out.

Getting back to the "socialist" label...Rush Limbaugh was all over Rush today, claiming Barack is socialist and playing the race card again, saying that Barack made a deal to the voters by saying that if you vote for him (because he's black), he will do you a favor (tax cut). That kind of talk isn't needed today but has come to represent the views of so many who voted for McCain.

Change is coming!

It was a little scary at the beginning but Barack Obama pulled through and is the President-elect of the United States of America.

In the early going, John McCain caputed quite a few electoral votes which blew me away. I don't think his campaign did anything to separate himself from George Bush. I still can't remember any occasion where he addressed the middle class.

McCain was too busy hammering Obama on "spreading the wealth" and labeling Obama as a "socialist." Wait a minute. How did Congress attempt to solve the financial crisis? Oh, that's was done by spreading the wealth and bailing out failed financial institutions.

Anyway, back to the main point; the election. Did you notice a pattern in the states where McCain won? There were mostly southern and western. Bible belt. While Barack Obama's victory is historic for our country, there are still some bad feelings in some parts of our country.

One thing's for sure and that is that Barack Obama has a lot of work to do in cleaning up the mess left from the last eight years.

Hopefully, this is the last of Joe the Plumber.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Getting fat on Election Day

Today is the day to get out and vote. I see many business are offering special promotions to draw customers.

Dunkin Donuts, Ben and Jerrys, and Starbucks are offering freebies on Election Day. This is according to WKYC Channel 3 in Cleveland, Ohio.

What other special Election Day things are going on?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Toot is in Heaven

As you probably know by now, Barack Obama's grandma died from cancer today. Obama credits Madelyn Payne Dunham for shaping him into the man he is.

"She's the one who taught me about hard work," he said. "She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me."

Dunham was 86 years old.

I'm happy that Obama got to see his grandma before she passed away. It's just too bad that she didn't get to see the election results. God bless her and the Obama family.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I voted today!

I went to go vote today. The polling place wasn't supposed to open until 1 p.m. I got there at 11 a.m. Two hours early. At 11 a.m., here's (photo below) where my place in line was. I estimated I was about 50th. I could only count the people I could see that went near the front door.

Thankfully, once inside, it went very fast. I filled out an absentee form. Waited in another line. Asked for and got the paper ballot, voted, stuffed it in an envelope, sealed it, turned it in and left.
Once I got outside, I took a couple pictures of the line that was now down the block. The polling place is the brown roofed building.