Who is Northwest Smith?

Though Northwest Smith is an entirely fictional character, he is highly opinionated, and easily aroused to anger by the peculiarities of modern life; the same holds true for his equally imaginary yet still lovely and talented wife M'Lady. This section collects their often intense feelings on economics, politics, current events and popular culture. Parental Guidence is Suggested.

From the Desk of N.W. Smith

07/18/05: In the last few years, I've become a fan of what I call "The Woodchuck Games", which are more formally known as the Great Outdoor Games. Every summer for the last five years, somewhere in rural Minnesota or Wisconsin, there's a kind of "woodsmen's olympics", with competitions built around lumberjacking, hunting, and related "outdoor" skills. M'Lady tunes in mostly to see the various competitions involving dogs, particularly the obsticle courses featuring all those pyscho Border Collies who look like they're hooked on whatever is the canine equivalent of crystal meth. Me, I get off on the old-school Wild World of Sports vibe from the whole proceedings: in this age of "sports entertainment", where everybody from the media execs to the franchise lawyers to the coaches and players are more focussed on maintaining the TV-ratings and back-story soap operas rather than actually playing the game, it's nice to see people having fun with their dogs, and otherwise pursuing a bunch of goofy or atypical athletic events more for the joy of it rather than an 7-figure signing bonus and a cut of the licensing revenue. Even this year's addition of events using "Off-Road Vehicles"--a move that clearly exists to draw in the lucrative sponsorships and advertising revenue from the manufacturers of said ORVs--didn't raise my hackles that high: legitimately speaking, those ecology-crushing, four-wheeled death-traps have become a part of outdoor pursuits in the last few years, even if they are no-where near as cool as watching somebody chop through two-feet of hardwood with a verve and vigor that would make Paul Bunyon green with envy.

What HAS put my hackles into orbit is the change of venue this year. ESPN has been providing the coverage of late, and in the previous two or three years has done a great job, realizing that the combination of crazed dogs, roaring buzz-saws, flailing axes and blazing guns covers a fairly broad demographic during that brief, shining moment in the summer when only one professional team-sport is active in the USA. But they've screwed everything up this year, by the simple and crass expedient of moving the original venue from the old Northwest to central Florida, namely Disney World's outdoor camping area in Orlando. Within days of the start of the games, entire competitions have been wiped out due to rain, while others--like the ORV races--were robbed of a lot of their competitive verve by the muck and mire generated by the rains.

Now, this was NOT just "bad luck": had rain struck at the old venues in Minnesota or Wisconsin, it probably wouldn't have caused cancellations, or even minor hassles. The difference is that, in central Florida in high summer, rain is not just rain: it's stone-cold, gully washing, ass-drowning RAIN. A tropical down-pour as regular that hits as regular as the rising sun, with an inch or more sometimes, and I'm not even talking about when a tropical depression or hurricane toddles within 200 miles. When that happens, children, ANY low-ground goes under-water, and stays underwater, period. And unless you're on the third floor or higher of a man-made structure, all of Florida south of the pan-handle region is nothing BUT low-ground: for the ten years I lived in Miami, a year didn't go by when I didn't see somebody wading out into the waist-deep water of a flooded parking lot to push their floating car onto dry land.

Sure, when there's a drought, that moisture gets sucked down into the ground like it wasn't even there. But for the 19 other years out of 20, by summer-time the water-table is barely a foot below the surface, because in lower Florida especially, a stretch of ground is truly and divinely blessed if it's more than six-feet above sea or swamp level. If the Atlantic coast of South or Central Florida ever got hit by a tsunami like the one that creamed Indonesia last Christmas, those waves might not have stopped until they spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

WHY, then, did ESPN compell the Outdoor Games to move the venue from it's traditional home in the comparatively dryer and certainly better drained northern wilderness to the rainy season in the swamps of central Florida?

Simple: ESPN is owned by ABC, ABC is owned by Disney, and Disney owns the new venue.


And dollars to dimes, that venue is dead as ol' Walt himself during the summer months, because the last place you want to be in the lower-48 during July is outdoors at a semi-reformed swamp like Disney's Orlando campgrounds: the temperature during the day averages the low to mid 90's with a humidity to match, and barely drops five degrees in EITHER area just because the sun goes down; and don't even START me on the kinds of blood-sucking bugs and other creepy-crawlies that run-amuck in that neck of the woods! Build some cinderblock cell-blocks and wrap it all in barbed-wire and gaurd towers, and the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay would be Club Med in comparison!

So the Mouse is not only changed the venue to crassly promote itself, but also to drum up traffic or otherwise amortize one of its theme-parks during its slowest time of the year; and in the process, it's jeopardized many of the events and much of the charm of an otherwise fun athletic competition.

07/03/05: I grew up in the 1960's, in what my wife refers to as my "Jeff Stone" phase: an idealic, bucolic, suburban boyhood only found in sit-coms of the era like the Donna Reed Show. My parents even belonged to a "country club", though it wasn't particularly exclusive, and just about everyone in our neighborhood belonged to it, especially if they had kids: the various summer sports and activities programs were an already paid-for day-camp.

But in the early 1970's, my parents and I moved to Miami, Florida . . . and joined a real country club: full-sized golf-course smack-dab in the middle of prime real-estate, a brace of 16 tennis courts (hard and clay), club-house the size of stately Wayne Manor, restaurant, wait-staff, Olympic-sized swimming pool, annual membership dues equal to the tuition at an Ivy League college . . .

And it was lily-white.

And I ain't talking about the paint-job on the place.

Of course, so was our section of Miami, through a combination of the banks' red-lining (what they mean by "institutional racism", for those keeping score at home) and the very deliberate actions of the real-estate people in the area. The late, great comedian Flip Wilson, whose variety show was hot as a pistol at that time, tried to buy a house in our neighborhood for his kids and ex-wife. He was willing to pay $2,000,000+ (5 to 10 million in today's dollars and markets) for a place . . . and the real estate people told him there was nothing available, which was simple stone-cold b*llsh*t. By that point in the 1970's, the land-boom had gone completely bust; yet it was another couple of years before the real-estate people were sufficiently desperate to move houses that had gone unsold for a year or more. And when an African-American couple with a daughter about the same age as me came along that could pay cash for a quarter-million dollar property (probably worth about 1 or 2 million in today's dollars), the banks couldn't pull that red-line crap, and Miami's most segregated neighborhood got it's first black family.

Interestingly enough, this end of aparthied was not trumpetted in the press. My tender teen-aged ears heard about when the "new family" immediately applied for membership at my parents' country club. They actually held meetings to debate how to respond to this flagrant assault on one of the last bastions of white supremacy in ol' Fun City. It never occurred to them to take the money, let them join, and just let it go (the Corporate Capitalist response); or throw a big party, sing "Kum-by-yah" and claim that The Struggle Was Finally Over (the Liberal Democrat response). And they just plain didn't have the balls to dig in their heels, hire some lawyers, and go down swinging like some old-school right-wing dictator (the Conservative Republican response). Instead, I had to listen to more than a few of my Mom's tennis buddies, over at our place after some "hit'n'giggle" on the courts, sipping ice tea and talking about how they couldn't handle having "those people" playing tennis on "their" courts . . .

My Dad considered quitting the joint, and my Moms would have probably gone along with him, more from outrage over the membership fees, though: she just liked the place because of the tennis courts, and she had enough friends who were members that should had no trouble getting a set or three in a couple of times a week without dropping a dime in dues. But then

And me? I hoped that all three members of the "new family" had well-strung Wilson's and knew how to use 'em.

Well, I don't know if that happened or not: by the time the whole thing got resolved (in the "new family"'s favor), I was off to college. But for the next twenty-years or so, on way too many occassions, I ran into way too many people who felt that tennis was a white-man's sport. And like that girl in Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road", I prayed for a savoir to rise from the streets . . .

And along came Venus and Serena.

06/28/05: A day does not go by that I don't bless the presence of M'Lady in my life.

We were watching some CNN, CNBC.or MS/NBC report about this Neo-Kaballah-ism that Madonna has been going all Tom-Cruise over. The outfit has a "center" in New York City that looks more like a kosher Barnes'n'Noble, with t-shirts and other kitsch to go with the literature and heavy mysteries. After seeing some of the stuff they had on sale, M'Lady hit the nail on the head.

"I'm sorry," she said, shaking her head, "but I find it hard to take seriously any religion with a t-shirt or a toy tie-in!"

06/25/05: I don't know what p*ssed me off more: all the fawning attention the media has been given Mr. Helter-Skelter of 2005, or the promo trash throw-away I caught out of the corner of my ear while b*tch*ng about Shortie with M'Lady. CNN Headline News' current attempt to target the Lowest Common Denominator, Showbiz Tonight, was peeling away from the whole Cruise story, and for no apparent reason mentioned in passing that you could go to the Entertainment Weekly website and download the iPod playlist of the music to which actor Will Ferrell (or some other idiot, I may have heard that wrong) was currently listening.

Now, one of the things that the Showbiz Tonight people were carping about was that Mr. Cruise may simply be staging all his crazed and/or anti-social antics of late simply to promote his upcoming film, War of the Worlds. And while this may be true (hey, with anybody who claims to actually believe in Scientology, judging their sincerity is a tough call), for a bunch of shameless shills like Showbiz Tonight to call him on it is the height of hypocrisy!

Let's parse this one down, gang. Showbiz Tonight is a program on CNN, which is owed by Time/Warner . . . which OWNS and PUBLISHES Entertainment Weekly on the Time side of that back-slash thingee. So channelling folks to the EW website for any reasonmakes Time/Warner money: advertising on the site, subscriptions, etc. Even if all you do is eat their bandwidth, your mere presence at the site allows them to fix their advertising rates, so the more the merrier (And don't even get me started on the fact that, whenever Showbiz Tonight needs a stock photo of a celebrity, their go-to archive consists of cover photos from People magazine, another of Time's publications).

But it doesn't stop there: by making it an iPod playlist, they are automatically plugging Apple's MP3-players and Apple's iTunes MP3 download service . . . and getting PAID for it, make no mistake.

And they're not making the owner of that play-list will Ferrell or whoever because the celebrity in question knows anymore about what makes for quality pop music than Tom Cruise knows about obstetrics: Mr. Ferrell has a movie coming out, and you just know it will get ruthlessly plugged at the page in question. And so . . . cha-ching! . . . Father Time/Daddy Warner-bucks get some more moolah in their coffers.

But here's the really ugly part of this: I wish I had been paying close enough attention to that passing pitch from Showbiz Tonight's resident Ken'n'Barbie. Because I bet if I went there and checked out who-ever-it-was's playlist, there would have been an inordinately large percentage of songs on it that are licensed or sold by companies owned or affiliated by Warner (And if you spotted the celeb in question with the tell-tale white wires comin' out their ears, tackled them and checked the playlist, I'd be greatly surprised if even half the songs touted at the website were floating around on the things hard-drive . . . but I'm a cynical bastard, so we'll let that go for now).

I feel it is a serious case of the pot casting aspersions on the kettle's pigmentation to say that Showbiz Tonight is calling somebody else on playing promotional three-card monty.

06/24/05: Could somebody tell me why I should give a single, solitary sh*t what Tom Cruise thinks about ANYTHING, and WHY his opinions on post-partum depression and related women's health issues should deserve the attention of ANY news bureau or outlet that has even the slightest pretensions of being taken seriously? M'Lady hit the nail right on the head within the opening five minutes: "Until he grows a uterus, gets pregnant and gives birth, he should shut up about anything Brooke Shields has gone through."

06/22/05: USAToday's lead story in the Life section is about the Hollywood media moguls trying to figure out why movie-attendance is declining.

Well, here's my take, fellas: I go to my local Loew's for a matinee, and for M'Lady and me, it's $12.50 just for the damn tickets; and if we spring for two medium sodas and a popcorn, they have the unmitigated chutzpah to bill me $13.50 with tax. So right off the bat, brothers and sisters, I've dropped $26.00, and it's down the bunny hole: if the movie sucks, I've got nothing to show for it but a decreased likelihood that I'm ever going to patronize the joint ever again.

On the other hand, if I wait six months to a year, I can BUY the damn DVD--even if it's a deluxe two-disc set--for $26.00, with all sorts of goodies, extras, making of documentaries, games, computer content and web-links, etc. . . . and, if I don't like the movie, I can at least put the sucker up on eBay and get half my money back. Or dog it up to the local Exchange and score the same with little or no risk.

Now, campers, in the words of Richard Pryor: "Which line do you want to be in? That's right: the loooooooooong m*th*rf*ck*r!".

Or maybe Louie B. Mayer said it best: "If people don't come to see your movie, there's nothing you can do to stop them!"

06/21/05: Another reason to buy that t-shirt I talked about a couple of days ago: looks like Native-American tribes are still being screwed by the government, in this case by Republican fund-raiser and power-broker Jack Abramoff to the tune of over $60 million, taking funds from various tribal groups and funnelling it into right-wing Republican causes that not only had nothing to do with Native American interests, but in at least one case was opposed to those interests. Turns out Abramoff channelled money from a tribal group that controlled gambling casinos along the Mississippi River to a evangelical Christian organization that was campaigning to BAN casino gambling in that region! And good ol' Tom Delay, the reigning Boss Tweed Memorial Poster Child of the U.S. Congress, benefitted from a lot of this mis-placed largess, including a free trip to play golf in Scotland! Check out this listing of articles in the New York Times: turns out he's been taking money from outside the US as well (Saipan and Pakistan for starters), parsing out their money to whatever Republican cause he feels like and doing diddly for them . . . or just failing to mention to the U.S. Government that he's acting as an agent for a foreign government in the first place! The Slate website has a couple of good articles as well.

06/15/05: And while we're on the subject of how the Republican Party shamelessly exploits the Religious Right in this country while not giving a sh*t about the latter's ethics or morality . . .

The autopsy of Terri Schiavo came out today. And everything that her husband Michael Schiavo asserted and that state and federal authorities confirmed in the 10+ years of litigation over this poor woman was proven to be true:

Now, before anyone puts on their flashlight-helmet and tries to crawl up my ass, know this: I think the Schindlers should have been given custody of Terri, so long as they agreed to absolve the husband and local, state and federal goverments of any responsibility for her continuted care. In other words, as long as the Schindlers were willing to foot the bill for Ms. Schiavo's care and drop all legal action against her husband, Michael . . . more power to 'em. The Schindler's said they did what they did because they loved their daughter, and I'll take them at their word.

But hey, I'm one of those left-wing kooks: if it makes you feel good, it's all legal, it doesn't cost me any money, and everyone involved is past the age of consent, do it 'til your satisfied, like B.T. Express use to say.

Unfortunately, it isn't the left-wing kooks that were in charge of this one: almost uniformly, Republican judges and politicians kicked the Schindlers and their Religious Right allies to the curb at every opportunity. In fact, just about the only voices in the whole appeals process who wanted to help were the "liberal" judges appointed by previous Democratic regimes at the state and federal levels. That "We have to err on the side of life" rhetoric was classic Republican Bush-sh*t: not a single one of their own boys on the Supreme Court, including "right-to-life" yahoos like Scalia, Thomas, and Reinquist, would so much as use their discretion to allow the case to be considered, and thus give a stay to prolonge Ms. Schiavo's life. Yet they claimed to be on the side of "life".

WHY didn't the Republican judges fall all over themselves to help Ms. Schiavo?

Simple: to help her would set a precedent that would harm their real friends, Big Business.

Take a step back for a moment and understand what was truly at stake here: because Ms. Schiavo was clearly unable to speak for herself in any meaningful way, what happened to her was a matter of probate. She had, for all intents and purposes, become property, and the disposition of such property in this cause fell to the closest "family" member. Being married, that was her husband, Michael Schiavo, and that's why under law Ms. Schiavo's biological family, the Schindlers, had no legal standing: parents they may have been, but Ms. Schiavo's marriage effectively ended any legal connection they had to their daughter under Florida's probate laws unless Ms. Schiavo had some kind of documentation, like a last will and testament. She didn't, so Michael Schiavo got the job.

Not that this stopped the Schindlers, nor should it have: just about all of the allegations they raised would have been grounds to at least temper Michael's absolute control over his wife. Unfortunately, as the entire judicial system in Florida and the United States appeals process have indicated, all of those allegations were a crock, lacking any legitimate proof: under the laws of probate, Michael Schiavo was free to decide what was best for his wife, up to and including removing her feeding tube and letting her die.

But what, you may ask, about morality, "family values", or "erring on the side of Life"?

Well, what about it? Morality, Family Values, and Human Life have nothing to do with PROBATE, because Probate is about property rights. And nothing is more important to Republicans and their Big Business buddies than property rights.

That's why of all the various local and appellate judges that heard the Schiavo case, just about all the votes in favor of the Schindler family were cast by liberal judges. Liberals don't consider property rights to be sacred, and typically feel that human rights like the Schindler's trump property rights like Michael Schiavo's. But if you are "strict construction" and/or pro-business conservative in your outlook, the last you want to do is hand Terri Schiavo over to her family. Because such a victory for the Schindler's would mean that anyone could usurp the right of a person (or corporation) to dispose of it's property (or services) based on a judgement of the morality of that disposition. At minimum, health-maintenance organizations (HMOs), who contribute BIG bucks to the Republicans, would be compelled to pay for any and all "experimental" (re: way too damn expensive) treatments that their clients demanded given the "erring on the side of life" argument alone. But once a precadent like that is set, anyone with a compelling moral argument could tell any individual or corporation how to spend their money or otherwise run their business. And given that possibility, the Republicans can talk all kinds of sophistic sh*t; but in the end, it's Big Business that calls the tune, and the Republican judges, Congressmen, and President won't do anything even vaguely constructive to help the Schindlers and their Religious Right allies. Because, in the end, Terri Schiavo was her husband's property, and you don't screw with property rights (notice how there has been NO "Terri Schiavo" bill running through Congress? Guess why, Bunky!)

But let's forget a moment about Big Business and how their capitalist running dog agenda is absolutely antithetical to the Religious Right's concepts of family values, morality, and pro-life. The real question the Religious Right has to ask itself is: Do you want the state to arbitrate what is "good" family values?. Because right now, there's a couple from Texas, members of the Church of God, who've had their daughter taken away from them because they objected to her treatment for cancer based on their religious principles (Some Church of God denominations have problems with things like transfusions or use of medications derived from blood, glandular excretions, etc.). Those parents are saying something different now in order to get their girl and other children back into their custody; but follow the case back a few weeks, you'll see that was both their original problem and the reason the state grabbed all four of their kids at one point.

And that's in TEXAS, Mr. and Mrs. Fundamentalist Christian! Not New York or California or some other Sodom & Gomorrah singing "Neither One of Us Wants To Be the First to Say Goodbye" Den of Sin: In TEXAS: a Republican controlled, bible-belt state!

06/14/05: One of the main attractions at this year's President's Dinner, a major annual Republican fund-raiser in Washington, D.C., was adult film-star Mary Carey. The lovely and talented Ms. Carey was there to see if she could solicit some support from the G.O.P., as she's planning on throwing her hat--and possibly every other article of clothing she happens to be wearing, from force of habit or professional training if nothing else--into the ring for the Lt. Governor's race in California, and could thus be Arnold Schwarzenegger's running mate in the general election.

I've got no objection to either Ms. Carey's occupation or her ambitions for the future. In the words of M'Lady, "a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do". We know Ms. Carey can put on a good showing in front of the video cameras, has had plenty of experience pressing the flesh, and clearly understands it's all about giving your constituents what they want. More power to her: frankly, I'd like to see girlfriend nail down that nomination, just to check out Maria Schriver's reaction to her hubby and Boom-Boom out on the ol' campaign trail together . . .

Ooooh, but it gets better. Ms. Carey got to crash the aforementioned fund-raiser because she was formally the "guest" of her boss, Mark Kulkis, who forked over at least $5000 ($2500 per plate) to attend. Nor is Mr. Kulkis simply show-boating for his lady fair: in addition to running Kick-Ass Pictures (Corporate motto: "No Fake Boobs & No Condoms!") he is the Honorary Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Business Advisory Council, "a group of business people who advocate a progressive, pro-business agenda" according to one source.

Now you may ask: what the hell is the party of decency and family values (by its own admission) doing taking money from an adult films big-wig and allowing itself to be pumped for campaign funding by a triple-x film starlette?

Well, if the G.O.P. didn't take Mr. Kulkis' checks because home-boy made his scratch producing and/or distributing dirty movies, then the Republicans would have to turn down checks from General Motors, who owns a big piece of a satellite network that distributes PPV adult films to motel chains, generating anywhere from a quarter to a half a billion dollars of net revenue to GM every year. Nor could they take checks from Marriot International and those other big hotel chains who make a tidy sum from their cut of that action. Ditto with AT&T, which also distributes on-demand PPV-porn programming for both motels and local cable-TV franchises, and EchoStar Communications, who make a pretty penny passing porn through it's satellites. And let's not forget ComCast, DISH Network, and all the other cable and satellite TV services, who get a substantial portion of their annual revenue from On Demand and PPV pornographic films and programming.

Porn is Big Business. Republicans love Big Business. And the Religious Right in this country is clearly too stupid or blind to realize they're getting used by the G.O.P. with little or no concern for the "family values" of the "moral majority".

06/13/05: So--the Michael Jackson trial is over . . .


I'm sorry. There're something like six places on the planet were some variant of ethnic cleansing or outright genocide is going on, Iraq is a quagmire even the military wants to put in the rear-view of their HumVee's as fast as possible while Republicans who voted for the war want out, period, a bunch of right-wing yahoo's in Congress are trying to cut funding to Sesame Street, Arnold Schwarzenegger is making a push to turn California the kind of fascist paradise that William Randolph Hearst could only dreamed about, and this "Why-plastic-surgury-is-still- self-mutilation-even-when-somebody-else-helps" poster-child has the equivalent of a full regiment of news media covering his narrow, vampiric and ooooh so sorry behind 24/7/365.

Still, now that it's done, what the hell is CNN's Nancy Grace going to do with herself? She's been all over Jackson like ugly on an ape from about the time it was clear the local police were investigating, taking up easily half of her one-hour show each night on CNN Prime raking over every nugget of evidentiary coal that still had a glow to it, kicking around Jacko's current and former defense team, and carrying on about everything except sister Latoya's obvious boob-job. She seemed a little dazed and confused in the aftermath of the clean-sweep not-guilty verdicts for the King o' Pop, and by the end of the show you could see clear signs of post-partum depression settling in. For her sake, I think somebody in the entertainment community should take it upon themselves to commit some heinous mass-murder, just to keep the lady from jonesin' too bad in the coming weeks . . .

And hey: let's not forget MSNBC's poor Dan Abrams, trapped in Santa Maria, California because of a personal pledge to camp-out there until the jury reached a verdict> He put up a brave front for the first few days, but by Thursday he was looking decidedly punchy from hanging out in that hick town surrounded by fans only slightly more rapid than the media pirahna's in Camp M.J. All I know is that home-boy looked decidedly relieved on his Monday night show, no doubt because he was now able to say, "Adieu, Casablanca" and head back to the United States proper . . .

Oh yes: My take on this whole trial. THAT'S simple:

Jackson dodged the bullet on this one.

06/08/05: Odds & Ends I've finally got my T-Shirts, Buttons, and other Stuff page up and running! Whoopee!

And remember that "hot stock" that I got saturation-spammed about back on Monday. As of close of the market today, it's has lost more than HALF it's value: 50 cents at open 6/6, now 24 cents.

This crap should just be illegal. And what's more, it would be simplicity itself to investigate and proscecute: it's a classic stock "dump" scam, with the dumpers having to do transactions that are easily traceble. At the very least, these bogus "tip sheet" spammers should have to place valid names, addresses, email contacts, URLS and phone numbers in their promotions in their messages. Otherwise, it's just FRAUD.

06/07/05: I don't know what the political milieu is like in your neck of the woods, but here in Dah 'Burgh it sucks. We just came off a primary election for lots of city/county offices, plus a referendum to eliminate a whole bunch of previously elected bureaucrats and replace them with appointed ones, and to consolidate those remaining officials down to a much smaller number. The alledged reasoning behind the latter was to save money through re-organization, as well as get rid of lots of patronage appointments made by those elected officials (who were usually Democrat). While the saving money part is probably true, the real intent in consolidation seems to be to cut down on a lot of middle and lower level management and clerical jobs that just happen to be held by women and African-Americans, and simply pass the appointment of the various "spoils" jobs to the Mayor (who is also usually Democrat, unless the Republicans eat their Wheaties and make a race out of it) and/or the City Council (also usually Democrat, but with enough Republicans in there to make things interesting).

But what really bugs me is the Mayor's race . . . which, with the primary done, is essentially over. The Democratic nominee is pretty much a shoe-in for the Fall elections, simply because it's a 5-to-1 Democratic town. And while I'm a life-long, yellow-dog Democrat, that Democratic nominee leaves me cold: just another aging, Irish ward-heeler whose made good, with no real plans or programs (not that he needs any: with Dah 'Burgh in such a financial hole we've got TWO oversight boards actually running things at the moment).

So that's why I made image to the right: I'm going to run off some buttons and t-shirts at CafePress.com, and start wearing them around. Feel free to join in if it sums up how you feel!

06/06/05: I don't know about you, but I'm always getting spammed with "penny stock" recommendations via email.

Here's the most recent one:

Oil is tough to find and getting tougher


Eldorado Exploration Inc.
Symbol: EDEX
Current Price: .39
7 Day Target: $3.50
6 Month Target: $23.00

*************** We ask you to watch it trade Monday morning and hope you hop on the band wagon....Good luck and enjoy the ride !!!!!!

Every single facet of our modern life is tied back to energy. Lose that catalyst and commerce stops.food rots in the fields.New York City goes dark. And the supply/demand imbalance for all traditional energy sources is fast growing dire:

"Fortunes will be made in the "technology of keeping the lights on:" Turning coal into diesel fuel; turning sand into barrels of oil; creating new hybrid technologies; developing new infrastructure efficiencies; and most of all, building and fueling the new generation of nuclear power plants.

Talk energy with most folks, and names like Exxon immediately roll off their tongues. Well, okay, grandpa, but that's yesterday's news.


Lets move on to oil. Notice how oil has exploded higher this week. The short-term reason: Expectations that the summer driving season will suck up more gas and oil than expected. Longer-term reason: Oils in one heck of a bull market. I would not be surprised to see $65 - $70 oil this year.


These are two partial clips we read today from two different analysts. They are from emails we subscribe to. It seems lots of people are focused on oil and in our opinion for very good reason. WE all know why! Many small unheard of companies could become giants in the industry which brings us to this brand new company we think you should keep an eye on....

COMPANY OVERVIEW: Eldorado Exploration Inc. (Pink Sheets: EDEX) is an independent Oil & Gas Co. that uses a proprietary process (PIP) that improves the success rate for finding oil & gas. The company's process when used with other geology methods can increase the odds of finding a commercial discovery to better than 50%.

"Our company avoids expenditures by not drilling on lesser prospects.Drilling for low risk, low return wells are for other companies" Stated, David (Tom) Laurance, President and Director


1. Oil prices are up 60 percent more than a year ago and consumption is climbing as well.

2. EDEX has the right to drill on four prospects covering 40,000 acres in New Mexico.

3. One of the potential fields has estimated natural gas reserves of 4.5 Trillion Cubic Feet, valued in excess of $20 Billion.

4. EDEX has received Authorization for Expenditure for the 11,300 acre site.

5. EDEX's technology combines known geology methods with its computer-enhanced software (15 years in development)

6. EDEX is set to capitalize upon a process that can identify potential oil and gas deposits from the surface readings of passive induced polarity (PIP).

7. Passive Induced Polarity (PIP) takes various data from sites to determine it is a valid area to explore and develop; the technology increases the chance of a successful well.

8. EDEX has teamed with a manufacturer that produces a drill bit that works at higher speeds than conventional bits. It also can reduce the cost of drilling a well by up to 25%.

9. Eldorado Exploration Inc. seeks leases with medium to large field potential that can be found and produced for $1 per barrel or less.

10. Eldorado hopes to drill up to 10 wells during 2005 and 20 wells in 2006.

11. The process EDEX uses (PIP) has been used to find three new oil and gas fields, increasing the odds on a wildcat well from one in ten to as much as one in two.

12. EDEX has the right to participate in any new prospects generated by the PIP process of which there are now five major-sized targets the company has committed to drill.

13. The Passive Induced Polarity (PIP) process has around a 70% success rate. (more success = less wasted drilling)

14. EDEX announced production has been set on a Canyon Sand oil discovery in Texas. It is expected to start by the first week of June.

15. EDEX is acquiring a 7,542-acre oil and gas lease block in Toole County, Mont.

16. The Toole County targeted sands could have over 1,000,000 BBLS of oil and 4 BCF of gas net. (oil is currently at over $50.00 a barrel)

17. EDEX has a 75 percent working interest in the Toole County site.

*** PIP Method That Helps Increase Commercial Finds by up to 50% ***

*THINGS TO CONSIDER: Eldorado Exploration is in position to take advantage of the current demand and booming world market price of oil and gas.

Their Process: PIP Identifies potential oil and gas deposits from the surface readings of passive induced polarity (PIP). This (PIP) process can increase the chance of a commercial discovery to better than one in two.

Eldorado Exploration Inc. utilizes an approach in the energy industry in which the company believes dramatically increases commercial discoveries from 1 in 10 to 7 out of 10. This process has been developed over the past 15 years and combines known geology methods with its own computer-enhanced software.

*CONCLUSION: There is huge pressure to reduce America's reliance on foreign oil. Independent Oil & Gas Companies like Eldorado Exploration are helping to reduce this dependence. Oil has become a national security issue and Eldorado Exploration, with their experienced management, recent acquisitions, and technological edge, makes this a company we feel you will want to watch starting now!

Keep your eye out for news.......THIS IS OUR 3RD WINNER IN THE LAST 2 MONTHS WE ARE GIVING YOU.......

I got this in my email-box this morning (6/6/2005), and immediately went to check out the stock's current price at the New York Times financial website. It started out in the morning at 50 cents . . . and by the early afternoon had plunged to 38 cents, 1 cent below the "current" price listed in the dog'n'pony pitch above. Dollars to english muffins (donuts being EXPENSIVE these days), this sucker is below 31 cents--it's 52 week low--before the end of the week.

Ooooh, but here's the best part . . . the end of message, which, when it comes to acts of venal sophistry, ranks right up there with the explanation of under what conditions the Pope is "infallible":


Information within this email contains "forwardlooking statements" within the meaning of Section 27Aof the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21B of theSecurities Exchange Act of 1934. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans,projections, objectives, goals, assumptions or future events or performance are not statements of historical fact and may be "forward looking statements."Forwardlooking statements are based on expectations,estimates and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those presently anticipated. Forward looking statements in this action may be identified through the use of words such as"projects", "foresee", "expects", "will,""anticipates," "estimates," "believes," understands"or that by statements indicating certain actions"may," "could," or "might" occur. Risk factors include general economic and business conditions, the ability to acquire and develop specific projects, the ability to fund operations and changes in consumer and business consumption habits and other factors overwhich the company has little or no control. The publisher of this newsletter does not represent that the information contained in this message states all material facts or does not omit a material fact necessary to make the statements therein not misleading. All information provided within this email pertaining to investing, stocks, securities must be understood as information provided and not investment advice. The publisher of this newsletter advises all readers and subscribers to seek advice from a registered professional securities representative before deciding to trade in stocks featured within this email. None of the material within this report shall be construed as any kind of investment advice or solicitation. Many of these companies are on the verge of bankruptcy. You can lose all your money by investing in this stock. We urge you to read the company's SEC filings now, before you invest.

The publisher of this newsletter is not a registered invstment advisor. Subscribers should not view information herein as legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. In compliance with the SecuritiesAct of 1933, Section 17(b), The publisher of this newsletter is contracted to receive six hundred thousand free trading shares from a third party, not an officer,director or affiliate shareholder for the circulation of this report. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such compensation due to the fact that this is a paid advertisement and is not without bias.The party that paid us has a position in the stock they will sell at anytime without notice.This could have a negative impact on the price of the stock, causing you to lose money. All factual information in this report was gathered from public sources, including but not limited to SEC filings,Company Websites and Company Press Releases. The publisher of this newsletter believes this informationto be eliable but can make no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness. Use of the material within this email constitutes your acceptance of these terms.

Or, roughly translated: not only is this message pure and unadultared b*llsh*t within the meaning of that term in the Oxford English Dictionary, the actions it represents would be ILLEGAL if those involved did not openly admit what they were doing was UNETHICAL.. Essentially, these are a bunch of people looking to dump gobs of a worthless stock: if the publisher of the email sold his 600,000 shares at that aforementioned 50 cent peak, they made $300,000!!!; but even if they sold at the day's low of 36 cents, they made $175,000+! And if the "third party" mastermind picked EDEX up at the 52-week low of 31 cents, even a 5 cent per share profit is 5 large for every 100,000 shares he sells to some sucker.

But even if these conniving bandits don't make a profit by dumping those stocks . . . they've made SOMETHING: while that EDEX stock is in their hand, it's not worth the paper it's printed on; but sell it to some happy patsy, and it's the patsy that's got the worthless paper, while they've got greenback dollars AND a deductable on their capital gains tax form.

My dear and lovely wife M'Lady says it best: "My Momma didn't raise no chickens . . ."

06/02/05: About five or six years ago--I remember it was an election year--Congress was doing what it does best--wasting precious time and money--holding hearings and otherwise carrying-on in an hysterical manner on the floors of both the House and the Senate, trying to determine How To Protect Our Children From Internet Pornography. And about a week into this meaningless, posturing display of verbal masturbation, I started yelling at the TV set:

Hey, BOZOS! It's SIMPLE! Just require all adult websites to have .xxx or .sex instead of .com as their URL suffix, then put the ten lines of code into web-surfers like Explorer and Netscape to allow parents to put in a password block against access to any site with that suffix! Problem f*ck*ng SOLVED, you ignorant jackasses!"

And here it is, half a decade later or more, and some bright boy finally figured it out.

I get the urge to run for Congress now and then, but then I take a cold shower and realize I'd rather have an honest job . . .

06/01/05: Do not tell me that caffeine is not a narcotic.

About ten years ago, when I got diagnosed with high-blood pressure, my doctor told me to lay off the caffeine, if for no other reason that it would counter-act what my HBP meds were trying to do. So I quit cold-turkey, switching to de-caf coffee and soft drinks, and dropping anything with chocolate in it (yes, chocolate--particularly American chocolate candies--are LOADED with caffeine). And after a rough three or four days of headaches, digestive troubles, fatigue, and being damn irritable, things got back to normal . . . and then got better: I slept better, had more energy, found it easier to focus on work and get it done, and was universally more mellow and socialable.

Still, I've had my lapses, particularly after I developed Type 2 Diabetes: we end up at a restaurant whose beverages contain either caffeine, sugar, or BOTH, and it's either have club soda or bite the bullet and guzzle a glass or two of diet Coke or Pepsi, sugar being the major enemy in my life now. Thoroughly caffeine-detoxed as I am now, though, even this small amount of the alkaloid hits me hard enough to rob an hour or two of sleep that night, but without lingering effect.

But over the Memorial Day weekend, I went on a caffeine bender, however unintentional: three days of three or more tall servings. So come Tuesday, I decided it was time to get back on the wagon . . . and a half day after that decision, I was paying the price. A day-long migraine; big mood-swings; low-grade fever; and fatique so bad I took lunch-time naps at work two-days running. I'm just starting to feel better now, and should be back to normal by Friday (caffeine breaks down completely in your system that quickly . . . thankfully).

05/31/05: My lovely and talented wife M'Lady is a BIG fan of professional tennis. So whenever one of the "majors" or "slams" in that sport roll around, the VCR use to get a real work-out . . . as did yours truly: I would have to come home on my lunch break and change the video tape, a ritual that M'Lady explained was an implied part of that "for better or worse" pledge when we got married.

But with the advent of the DVR, M'Lady and I are in 7th Heaven: she just sets it to record ALL of the coverage, and watches it at her leisure . . . without me having to get my exercise the hard way. Case in point is the current French Open, aka Roland Garros (The French, not to be out-done by English naming their Wimbledon after the venue rather than the nation, insist on the latter--Take that, Perfidious Albion!--and it also makes branding easier): with coverage starting at 5:00am on ESPN Classic, then switching to ESPN2 at 10:00am until 3:00 or 4:00pm, she just programs the DVR, gets home, and starts watching it.

Now, watching up to a dozen hours of coverage in a single evening may seem like a formidable task for somebody working 9 to 5. Yet M'Lady manages to catch all the match-play and still get to bed before midnight. And it's not just by fast-forwarding through the commercials: other than their appalling repetition (Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf arguing over who has to figure out the life insurance gets old really fast when it's shown EVERY commercial break), the commercials are anything but excessive or intrusive. No, M'Lady gets through it all by skipping over what she calls "the blather": when, for reasons defying all logic, ESPN/NBC cuts away from a perfectly good, exciting, and tight match between two people trying to kill each other at range, for two or more commentators to carry-on about one thing or another. NOT to kill time between matches (there are 18 courts at Roland Garros and except in the waning hours of the day, SOMETHING's cookin'n'bookin' SOMEWHERE), but seemingly just to talk.

One day last week, M'Lady started watching at 5:30pm . . . and was done at 10:30. A full six hours out of nearly eleven were commercials and talking-heads b*llsh*t, during the first week of a Grand Slam like Roland Garros, when there's continuous throw-downin' until it's too dark to see that neon yellow ball.

The Temptations said it best: "An' THAT ain't right . . ."

05/27/05: CNN has a story that our ever vigilant Food And Drug Admininstration (FDA) is investigating reports that Viagra has caused loss of eyesight in some people.

Frankly, I don't think the Viagra is to blame per se. I think it merely facilitates folks doing it like crazed weasels . . . and as all us Boomer-folk know, if you do it too much, you WILL go blind . . .

I tell you, they're makin' it too easy for me . . .