Saturday, December 30, 2006

Getting out while the getting is good

It looks like vacation is coming to a close round these parts. Mind you, I ended up working on some of my vacation, I didn't take the entire week off at the part time job and even as I type this, I am at the radio station pulling another overnight shift, even though I am still on vacation. There was just too much work lying around that I needed to catch up on that I felt i should probably get an early crack at it.
I finished the visit with the family on Wednesday morning, right before a "family meeting", which is another term for everyone getting together to complain about each other. That is one of those thanks but no thanks moments that I didn't want to be part of, so instead I came home and relaxed in the confines of my apartment for a couple of days. The meeting was about my grandparents house and what is to be done with it. Since my grandfather passed away earlier this year, everyone has been wondering (well not everyone, I wasn't but you get the drift) what would happen to their home when my grandmother passed away. For whatever reason she doesn't have a will and even if she did, it would be hard to divvy up the house amongst her 5 kids. So the debate raged on, who would get the house and whether it should be kept in the family or sold outright and the proceeds split evenly 5 ways. To me, while this is a practical discussion to have, it is also a little like the vultures circling overhead. I understand that to leave the house behind with no plan in place would create a legal dilemma and to leave it to one of the kids would piss off the other 4, but it wasn't a decision that I was to be part of and I would rather not spend my holiday worrying about everyone's better or worse natures, that isn't what I went home for. I went home for the cooler moments, like those I photographed and would rather have my memories of the holiday go untainted.
I would like to say I dug up an asshat winner, but I was on vacation and that was one of the furthest things from my mind. I guess it gives me a project this evening before I go to bed.
Before I forget, we added a couple of new people to the friends list, so everyone feel free to stop by their pages and vice versa. Mine is probably the least interesting of the bunch here, so if anything, just use this page as a stepping stone onto bigger and better things.
I did get my ten year certificate at work, and with it I got a prize catalog that I get to pick a gift from. I got one of these after 5 years also, when I picked a leather duffel bag. I haven't decided what i will get this year, it is down to a couple of items. I don't know if I want the new set of flatware or the atomic alarm clock, though I am leaning towards flatware, being the practical guy I am and all that jazz.
I did stay relatively ignorant during the holiday, which is a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I read a few newspapers but overall I was content to block the news out as much as possible. Instead I buried my nose in books, and watched West Wing episodes (I watched the entire season I got already) and just did mindless things. It was interesting to see Gerald Ford get reinvented over the holiday. This is why I am not quick to judge how history will remember President Bush. Sure he seems incompetent now and there would be plenty of evidence to back that statement up, but in President Ford you had a man that was never elected to the office, and lost to Jimmy Carter when he did run, due in large part to his pardoning of President Nixon. yet the history that is be played out before us is how Ford healed a broken nation. Certainly not the image he would have had 30 years ago. Likewise, it is hard to predict what the world will look like 30 years hence, and therefore, while it is easy to criticize the current President (anyone who reads this knows I have done it enough), history's judgment could end up being quite different.
I think I am going to go blow my Walmart gift card today, might as well spoil myself while I can. I dropped about $40 off of my Best Buy card the other day, buying a movie, a new PS2 controller and a CD, but I still have plenty of coin left on it, so maybe I will venture back there Friday night if I have nothing else planned.
I did take in the new Rocky movie. It was okay, nothing phenomenal, but certainly better than some other efforts in the series, and at least they put him in the ring with a real boxer this time, so that while his boxing skills still lack considerably, and least his opponent made the fight scenes semi believable.
Well, time for me to bounce kids. I have stuff I need to throw together before I get out of here, and I have been up for 20 hrs straight, so much for vacation I guess. I would say don't eat the yellow snow, but global warming is solving that problem quite nicely, since we still don't have any.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A vacation blog, because I can

Well we need to play a little catch up here. There is so much I should blog about and so much I let just slide, that I am unsure of where to begin or end, so maybe I should just start in the middle.
Change meter is always a good place to start, because it is of little intrinsic value to the blog as a whole. Come to think of it, with what little money I have collected in almost a year now, it is of little value period. Nonetheless, I will add another .14 to the total, which brings us up to a grand total of $9.23.
Christmas did bring us a little something around the blog page that no one made mention of and I didn't even realize until stopping by the page a few days later, but with the early morning Christmas blog, that made entry 300 onto this fine page, and you better have read each and every one of them. Just kidding, with how bad I type, I would question whether or not some of them are even readable.
A few entries back I posted my Christmas list. You may be asking yourself what became of the list, well it is right here as well as notations on what I did and didn't receive.
Money - yes, but I usually receive money every year, even if it is just from my grandparents, just like all of the grandkids, so this one was pretty much a slam dunk for me, the only question being how much would I get. Hey, it is always good to start a list with something that you will definitely receive, it builds momentum that you could get everything on your list.
Groceries (when don't I eat after all?) - We are two for two here, I have groceries, one of the most practical and appreciated gifts anyone can buy me. In essence, it is two gifts in one. First is the food, which I will eat, but second is the fact you saved me a trip to the store. Anyone who knows me knows that time is a valuable commodity in my life, something I don't like to waste , and saving me a trip to the store is also buying me more free time so muy kudos to that gift.
Pogo membership - The streak ends at 2 here, no new pogo membership. I will have to get one in January as mine just ran out this past week.
TV shows on DVD such as - 3 for 4 here, I have a nice batting average going on as one of the shows on this list I did get, Season 9 of The West Wing, which is the last and one of the best written seasons of the series. I am trying not to overdose on it, but I have already watched the first four episodes.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force (season 2 and beyond)
- West Wing
- Homicide: Life on the Streets
- Drawn Together (season 2 and beyond)
Rhapsody downloads - no, but I doubt my family is tech savvy enough to know exactly what this is. Besides, if I get everything on the list, what fun is there in making it then.
A female (preferable breathing, but not mandatory) - No woman, no cry as Bob Marley would sing. While I can complain that there wasn't a female under the tree, truth be told, it would have probably cost me way too much money in the long run, so not getting me a female was probably better than a year's worth of clipping coupons in the Sunday paper as far as savings are concerned.
My own radio show - No luck here either, though since I am going on Doug's show on Jan 1st as a guest, maybe I should start to take matters into my own hands on this front and start actually working toward my own show.
A day of nothing but sleep - The opportunity was there, I did sleep until 9am both days I have been home. May not seem like much, but I usually get up at 4am, so this was a big improvement. And actually enjoying morning coffee as opposed to cramming it down my gullet while doing show prep was a nice change of pace.
Gift cards (Target, Wal Mart, Barnes & Noble, Giant Eagle) - Actually got a couple of these, one for Best Buy that Lynn got me that she spent way too much on and one from WalMart that I may be using in the near future, depending on what specials I can find there.
Lottery tickets (winners only please) - Got this one too. Sure I got some losers, but in the 10 dollars worth of scratch off tickets I got, I won $31 so this is a net profit, and that counts in my book.
Shoes (size 9 1/2) - Two pair, which is good, because I am turning into the Imelda Marcos of broken down shows. I have plenty that are comfortable if you don't mind the holes in the side or the fact they have no tread.
Haircut - Nope
Eyeglasses - Nope
Massage - No, We are starting to build a streak of badness here.
Penguin tickets - No again
A maid - Say it with me, no.
Books (too many to list here, so inquire within for more info) Actually got three books, I can't remember the one, did get the new John Grisham book that is non fiction, which will be a nice change of pace. I like some of his stuff, other stuff just drones on, sort of like this blog is doing right now. Also got a History of the X-Men book, complete with animation and plenty of commentary by the books creators, which Lynn got me. This is what we call an "attention to detail gift". Never said I wanted this particular item, but by being thoughtful and paying attention, one can guess that this is the type of gift that I will definitely enjoy.
Socks - Hey, we are back on a winning streak
Underwear - 3 for 3
Dress shirts - 4 for 4
Pants - Yes, 5 for 5
Yes, this is the clothing portion of the list
Neckties - The shirts came packaged with ties, so we will count this as a yes as well.
A new zipper for my leather jacket - No luck on this one. I like my jacket too, I have just been lazy about getting it repaired. Guess I am going to have to start being unlazy.
Washington Post subscription - No again, though I didn't get a subscription to anything, but I still find this to be the best paper in America. I like the hometown paper (Pittsburgh Post Gazette) but for overall content and ease of use on their web page, this is by far the best in my book, bar none.
A raise - I'll get back to you when I see my next check.
Comforter - Got one of these, but it may be too big for my bed. I think it is a queen size, which given the size of my apartment means it could be my new carpeting.
Bed sheets (twin) - Yes, and it is still for my bed unless the landlord built a guest room while I was away. Relax, I am just kidding here. It's my vacation, I am supposed to be enjoying myself after all.
Stamps - We got these too, and they are like groceries in that I appreciate the practicality of this gift.
Combo Lo Mein - No, but no one in my immediate family eats Chinese. Instead the day after Christmas we went to Ci Ci's which is a pizza buffet place. The pizza was okay for all you can eat, but it wasn't Chinese food.
A good Philly Cheesesteak - This is one of those things that will always be on the list and I will never get, I am just convinced of that. And the one time someone does get it for me, I am sure they will pull a John Kerry and get it with Swiss cheese, when anyone who has had a real Philly cheesesteak knows you use Cheez Whiz instead.
There we have concluded the list update. Mind you this isn't all of the stuff I got, I got way too much stuff again this year, this is just compared to my list that I started with.
The best or worst part about this blog is the simple fact that there is more to come so read on, we are just getting started.
We have some fantasy updates to get out of the way and it looks like Christmas came for me in that realm as well. By a score of 74-41, I am champion of my yahoo fantasy football league. This after entering the playoffs as the three seed and playing musical quarterback all year long, having started, in order of appearance, Duante Culpepper, Brad Johnson, Jake Plummer and finally settling with Tony Romo. Note to all fantasy football players, it is not about the quarterback, it is about getting runningbacks, in case you hadn't figured that out yet. I did okay in that department, having both Larry Johnson and Frank Gore.
The hockey team went 7-2-1 again this past week, but this time it was against the first place team, which means I am now the first place team and therefore the one wearing the target on my back for a while. For the year, my record stands at 70-37-13.
As some of you may have noticed, one of the PG articles I posted about Lynn and the radio show had a link to our podcast of that show (the one where Matt was killed in Iraq). I haven't taken the podcast down yet, simply because I am on vacation. Usually I leave each show up for about a week before pulling it off of the page and replacing it with new content. A good show segment (each pod is an hour of the show, minus commercials) will get maybe 80 or 90 downloads tops. Well, the podcast of that hour of the show not only showed up in the PG article, but was susequently snagged by the Daily Kos blog page as well, and the downloads of that are up to a hard to believe number of 1736. By comparison, the next most downloaded show hour on the page was downloaded 217 times. At some point I am going to have to pull that podcast off of the page, probably Sunday or Monday, depending on when I get back into the swing of things at work, but no matter what I put on the page, I am never going to put up that popular of a podcast again.
Lastly, and yes there is a lastly, I mentioned who would be receiving Asshat of the Week last week. I almost changed my mind when once again the President told Americans to go shopping, even while we are at war. Had he not already done this once before, and thus fulfilled the stupidity requirement in regards to this, I might have changed the asshat winner. But I am sorry, when Time Magazine, when looking for the Man of the Year has a mirrored cover so that you can see the winner is you, then then that is worthy of an asshat winner. The argument for you being the Man of the Year was they way we have embraced new technologies in communicating through blogs and video downloads like Youtube, we have redefined the information age. The problem with that is most blogs, this one included, are worthless vanity project that add very little to the public debate. Elections aren't decided by blogs, nations aren't moved to action. Blogging is the laziest way of pretending to do something, as all it requires is that someone sit in front of their computer and type. Sure there are people that do serious journalism on their blogs, but the vast majority don't. This is not exactly discovering fire here in the realm of man's important achievements. So Time Magazine, here is what you can do. Stare deeply into the cover of your magazine, and the reflection staring back at you is the Asshat of the Week.
What do you know, we made it through another blog, but I felt it important to make blog #301 just a little bit longer than normal, after all, I am the Man of the Year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Back for the Christmas season, Fark Headlines

I haven't done this in a while, but it is Christmas so I should be sharing, therefore welcome back to the blog the Fark Headlines
My abalone has a first name it's "p-o-a-c-h" my abalone has a second name it's "p-m-i-t-a"
Woman with two wombs, three breasts, four legs and a partridge in a pear tree gives birth to twins, followed by a third baby from her second womb
Woman claims God told her to kill her kids - which, in fairness, wouldn't be the first time He was caught up in something like this
Thank you for choosing McDonalds Would you like some cats-- WHAT THE FARK
Santa Claus greets children from Chernobyl. As you can see from the photo, they are glowing with delight
"Stay the course" named top catchphrase of 2006. Oil hitting the anus will have to wait yet another year
Kid: I wuz rilly rilly good this year Santa: ROTFLMFAO
If you're swimming in the ocean and have to poop, try to hold it until you get to Canada
Fourteen year old Wal-Mart shoplifter steals paintball gun, runs into street without looking. Jesus enforces eighth Commandment
NASA looks for a site to land Space Shuttle on Friday, would prefer bringing it down in one state rather than eight or nine this time

The second of two mentions in this morning's paper

Cullen: 'I want to connect'

Friday, December 22, 2006

Lynn Cullen

Click photo for larger image.

Radio talk show host Lynn Cullen spoke with the Post-Gazette Wednesday about her emotional broadcast last week on the death of her niece Leah Nuetzel's boyfriend, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Clark.
"I think everybody has their job, and you journalists are supposed to remove yourselves emotionally, generally," she said. "I never made much of a journalist because it was very hard for me to do that, and as a talk show host I don't remove myself. I want to connect, intellectually, emotionally and mostly, honestly."
She said she has received nearly a hundred positive emails and letters from folks who listened to her tearful broadcast last week.
As she describes the aftermath of Cpl. Clark's death, her voice trembles as it did that day.
"I talk about this war all the time; I've been opposed to it since day one, since before day one. Then this wonderful, wonderful young man takes me closer to it than I'd ever want to be. It's the most hopeless feeling you can have."
She said what really makes her insane is Pres. Bush's declaration that he sleeps better than people might think, even though the country is at war.
"I feel contempt for him because my sister's not sleeping, my niece is not sleeping. Matt's mother is not sleeping." She said Cpl. Clark, 22, was the only child of a widowed mother. When he had to inform the Army of who should be notified first, Ms. Cullen said he requested that the family priest be the initial recipient of the news.
"He couldn't bear the thought of his mother finding out that her only child was dead from two Marines at her door," Ms. Cullen said.
The family priest was to accompany the Marines to Cpl. Clark's mother's house so that she would have someone she knew, trusted and could turn to for comfort, the talk show host said.
During a brief visit to the States before being sent to Iraq, she said, Cpl. Clark was telling Leah and her mother, Susan, that some people were trying to get out of going. Leah wanted her boyfriend to be among them.
As Ms. Cullen relays the story, Cpl. Clark turned to Leah's mother and said, "Why doesn't your daughter understand that if I could not be trusted to stand by my oath to my country, why then should she expect me to honor my promise to her?"
She said the young Marine, whom she'd never met, seemed to be more thoughtful, sensitive and mature than men twice his age.
"I just feel that we're sacrificing these unbelievably honorable young people to salvage this president's legacy -- or so he thinks," Ms. Cullen said. "His legacy is set in stone, I think."

On a more serious note

A tragedy's emotional impact can engulf journalists, too

Friday, December 22, 2006
By Monica Haynes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"I feel the need to share something with you, and I'm sort of loathe to do it for a few reasons. One, it feels very personal but it is something I've shared with you before so it seems like I have to tell you the rest of the story ..."

Lynn Cullen: Callers wept along with her.
Click photo for larger image.

Related article
Cullen: 'I want to connect'
With those words, local radio talk-show host Lynn Cullen told her audience last week that Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Clark -- the love of her niece Leah Nuetzel's life -- had been killed in Iraq.
Through her tears, Ms. Cullen relayed the suffering his death has brought to the two families involved. At times her voice was so filled with pain and despair that it was almost too much to bear auditory witness to.
The host had never met her niece's boyfriend but she and her audience felt they knew him via her niece Leah and Leah's mother, Susan, who comes on her sister's radio show weekly.
"Now, he's dead in this senseless, insane war," Ms. Cullen intoned on her broadcast last Friday. "We don't want any more of these wonderful young people to die in something so stupid," she said banging the desk. "So damn stupid."
Callers wept along with Ms. Cullen over the death of a young man listeners had deemed "our Marine." Cpl. Clark is to be buried today in St. Louis.
The self-declared "Lone Liberal" of the radio-waves had expressed her vehement opposition to the war in Iraq even before it became so deeply personal.

Associated Press
Walter Cronkite: "I'm a fairly emotional person."
Click photo for larger image.

However, her heart-wrenching broadcast raises the issue of how members of the media deal with emotionally charged issues or stories.
Those old enough to remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy may recall the nanosecond pause Walter Cronkite took to compose himself as he made the grim announcement.
"It was tough to get those words out that the president was dead," said Mr. Cronkite, describing that event for the Newseum archives. "I knew the moment was coming, but I wasn't consciously thinking about what would happen when the moment came. We just knew it would come. It's tough. I'm a fairly emotional person. I tear up easily, although that was certainly an event which you don't have to excuse. But yes, it was a tough moment and I had to gulp a couple of times to get the words out."
Most recently, journalists have had to report on such monumental tragedies as Sept. 11, the 2004 Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina while being personally affected by those events.
"I think that journalists wouldn't be human if they didn't sometimes react to the powerful events, to bearing witness to powerful events," said Bruce Shapiro, executive director of The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at the University of Washington in Seattle.
"And sometimes news consumers expect journalists to keep their balance, and that's right. And sometimes the sheer scale and nature of an event is going to outweigh the usual 'on one hand this, on the other hand that' style of reporting.
He cites coverage of Hurricane Katrina as an example of reporting fueled by the intensity of the event.
"Many journalists covering the storm were so shocked about what was happening to people in New Orleans and the Gulf," Mr. Shapiro said. "You got a kind of journalism of witness or journalism of outrage."
In a personal essay on the Dart Center Web site about covering Katrina's aftermath, BBC correspondent Gavin Hewitt wrote:
"Outrage is at its most effective when it is based on compassion; the sense that one is speaking out on behalf of ordinary people. There were some reporters who showed tears on screen. I am not comfortable with that. Not because good reporters are not sometimes overwhelmed by what they see. It is that tears make the correspondent the eye of the story rather than the people who are actually suffering."
Mr. Shapiro said journalists who live in New Orleans and the other Gulf states affected by Katrina are still balancing their reporting of the situation with the continued suffering of their own families and the community.
"Reporters on the one hand are being very passionate and working harder than they've ever worked because it's their community," Mr. Shapiro said. "By the same token they understand this makes [them] all the more determined to bend over backwards to be fair ... because they understand their own emotions are so powerful."
He thinks it's good when reporters acknowledge, at least to themselves and sometimes to their audience, how they're affected by monumental events because then they know when to make the extra effort to be fair.
CNN's Anderson Cooper became a media celebrity with his emotionally charged coverage of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
In his book, "Dispatches From the Edge," Cooper wrote, "As a journalist, no matter ... how respectful you are, part of your brain remains focused on how to capture the horror you see, how to package it, present it to others."
The presentation and coverage of tragic events is the highest calling for a journalist, said Joe Hight, managing editor of the Oklahoman newspaper and president of the Dart Center Board.
Mr. Hight shepherded coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing.
"I think journalists sometimes have a natural guilt reaction to the fact that there are people going out and helping the victims out in the community," he said. "What they don't realize is that their coverage has a dramatic effect on the community."
He said providing facts, accuracy and, most importantly, the stories of the people involved help to bring a sense of calm to the community.
"When people are cut off from information, what they want most is information," Mr. Hight said. "A newspaper is doing its job when it's getting the news to people who are most affected."
Psychiatrist Frank Ochberg, a founder of the Dart Center, said some journalists suffer post traumatic stress disorder, especially war correspondents.
"A journalist who goes to war has as much emotional casualty as the soldier who goes to war," Dr. Ochberg said. "The culture of journalism has been to ignore this, to deny this to treat it with alcohol and bravado and a certain amount of contempt for the journalist who admits a problem."
He said to have normal human emotions that are proportional to the event is reasonable.
But, he said, the expectation of some is that journalists must be cool under fire.
"Cool is one thing," said Dr. Ochberg. "And cold is something else."
To listen to Lynn Cullen's Dec. 15 broadcast, go to this audio archive and click on the link to Dec. 15 Hour 1.

(Monica Haynes can be reached at or 412-263-1660. )

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A perfect loser

It's update time once again round these parts, just to let you know what is what exactly.

First, barring some exceedingly unlikely set of circumstances, it is pretty obvious who the next Asshat of the Week will be. Mind you, you are more than welcome to make your own suggestions for this dubious title, but I think this week's nominee has it all wrapped up. Still, I will hold out until Sunday or Monday, just in case someone does something worse, say like start a nuclear war, because it would take something along those lines to change who will be this week's winner.

My streak of winning money in fantasy leagues has come to an end, as I lost this weekend. I should be broken up over it, but am not. I am content to sit back and watch how the league plays out, even without me in it. Besides, I have two other yahoo fantasy teams to worry about. The football team there starts it's playoffs this weekend, where I still have a chance of winning a title, albeit a free one. I may post my yahoo fantasy sports profile some day, but today is not that day. In fantasy hockey, it was a perfect week, I went 10-0-0 against the third place team, so my new record is 57-32-11 and good enough for second place. Drafting Darcy Tucker is making me look like a fantasy genius, questions remain as to whether he can be this good for an entire season, but between getting him and Jean Sebastian Giguere , I managed two steals in the draft.

The change meter has cracked the $9 mark, we now stand at $9.06. I also got .50 credit for one of the surveys I mailed in, plus I am doing another survey for $1.50, so in the crappy change department, I am doing quite well.

I plan on getting around to the updated blogs sometime this weekend, maybe Friday night, so I can do my annoying commentary on everyone's pages. There are some things I wish to comment on, just haven't had the available time to do them justice.

Lastly, a quick comment on a comment on my Christmas list. First, I am surprised anyone actually read it, it is what passes for seasonal comedy amongst my family. I know it makes me look greedy, but in reality, I just enjoy spending time with my family during the holiday, and that is enough for me, but by the same token, if someone asks me what I want, I have no problem coming up with a slew of things I could put to good use. By and large though, I am just happy to have the family all under one roof for a few hours, and if that means I have to bow at the altar of the fat man in the red suit, then I happily will kneel. As for a comment about one of the things on my list, as I was asked about the twin sheets that were on it, the notion that I had a guest room had to make me smile, as I am working hard at being professionally poor (being poor as an amateur doesn't pay nearly enough), so the thought of me with a guest room made me giggle just a little, even though I am sure the question was innocent enough. No, I live in a little efficiency apartment and the twin bed is mine. Worse, while I have a smallish bed, I usually only sleep on the bottom two thirds of it, as the top third usually is littered with reading materials, and my alarm clock and sometimes, even an ashtray, depending if I am smoking while I am reading or not.

Well, the radio show is about to start, and I need to get everything settled in here, including getting my bumper music ready, such as Christmas tunes from the Rev. Horton Heat. have a good day everyone, I know I will, it's supposed to be 64 here today. Welcome to December in Pittsburgh, with bonus thank you's to all of you who help make global warming possible. I can't wait for the day when Pittsburgh is beachfront property.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What would Christmas be without a list?

My mom asks me for a list of what I would like for Christmas every year.  She will be buying me some things I am sure, and there are others in the family, such as the person who has my name in the gift exchange , which will be buying me a thing or two.   For some people this becomes a problematic episode, what do I want to ask for without being too pushy?  What do I really need?  Those aren't problems with me, if someone is foolish enough to ask me what I want or need, then they may or may not like the answers that are forthcoming.

As a result of me having no problem in making a list(though I don't check it twice),  part of the family tradition has become my list.  There are rules to the list, those being 1) I only make one list and am not responsible for making copies of it, so to find out what is on the list you have to get in touch with whoever has the list and 2) Ask me a simple question, and asking me what I want is simple  for me to answer, and you may have opened a pandora's box you wish you hadn't.

With that being said, here is the list I submitted this year.  Enjoy!

Once again, it is the world renown Christmas list. Not sure if I will remember everything on this, but it is a brief synopsis of the things I would like.


Groceries (when don't I eat after all?)

Pogo membership

TV shows on DVD such as

- Aqua Teen Hunger Force (season 2 and beyond)

- West Wing

- Homicide: Life on the Streets

- Drawn Together (season 2 and beyond)

Rhapsody downloads

A female (preferable breathing, but not mandatory)

My own radio show

A day of nothing but sleep

Gift cards (Target, Wal Mart, Barnes & Noble, Giant Eagle)

Lottery tickets (winners only please)

Shoes (size 9 1/2)




Penguin tickets

A maid

Books (too many to list here, so inquire within for more info)



Dress shirts


Yes, this is the clothing portion of the list


A new zipper for my leather jacket

Washington Post subscription

A raise


Bed sheets (twin)


Combo Lo Mein

A good Philly Cheesesteak

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Be careful what you write at work

This just in, your email at work is no longer yours alone.  Thank you federal government, I feel safer already.

New Rules Make Firms Track E-Mails, IMs
Last Edited: Friday, 01 Dec 2006, 12:32 AM EST
Created: Friday, 01 Dec 2006, 12:32 AM EST
WASHINGTON  --  U.S. companies will need to keep track of all the e-mails, instant messages and other electronic documents generated by their employees thanks to new federal rules that go into effect Friday, legal experts say.

The rules, approved by the Supreme Court in April, require companies and other entities involved in federal litigation to produce "electronically stored information" as part of the discovery process, when evidence is shared by both sides before a trial.

The change makes it more important for companies to know what electronic information they have and where. Under the new rules, an information technology employee who routinely copies over a backup computer tape could be committing the equivalent of "virtual shredding," said Alvin F. Lindsay, a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP and expert on technology and litigation.

James Wright, director of electronic discovery at Halliburton Co., said that large companies are likely to face higher costs from organizing their data to comply with the rules. In addition to e-mail, companies will need to know about things more difficult to track, like digital photos of work sites on employee cell phones and information on removable memory cards, he said.

Both federal and state courts have increasingly been requiring the production of relevant electronic documents during discovery, but the new rules codify the practice, legal experts said.

The rules also require that lawyers provide information about where their clients' electronic data is stored and how accessible it is much earlier in a lawsuit than was previously the case.

There are hundreds of "e-discovery vendors" and these businesses raked in approximately $1.6 billion in 2006, Wright said. That figure could double in 2007, he added.

Another expense will likely stem from the additional time lawyers will have to spend reviewing electronic documents before turning them over to the other side. While the amount of data will be narrowed by electronic searches, some high-paid lawyers will still have to sift through casual e-mails about subjects like "office birthday parties in the pantry" in order to find information relevant to a particular case.

Martha Dawson, a partner at the Seattle-based law firm of Preston Gates & Ellis LLP who specializes in electronic discovery, said the burden of the new rules won't be that great.

Companies will not have to alter how they retain their electronic documents, she said, but will have to do an "inventory of their IT system" in order to know better where the documents are.

The new rules also provide better guidance on how electronic evidence is to be handled in federal litigation, including guidelines on how companies can seek exemptions from providing data that isn't "reasonably accessible," she said. This could actually reduce the burden of electronic discovery, she said.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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