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I'm Sayin'??
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The Morning Papers - 2/20/07
So...this AJC screenshot is from yesterday, but this is MY blog, so I'll write about whatever day I want.

  • First, check out the picture. It's about the world's smallest premature infant. I suppose I can appreciate the "newsworthiness" of the story, but the picture is just weird-looking.
  • "Avondale Estates Readies for Rats". The subtext clears this up a bit, but it's still an odd headline.
  • Brian Nichols' defense bill still escalates. I've mentioned this madness before.
  • They're saying Jonathan Babineaux from the Atlanta killed a dog, but I honestly don't think they have much proof of that.
  • "Airport Workers to be screened" - this is news? They aren't being screened already?
  • 16yo kills intruder. The intruder was a 19yo from the killer's previous school. For some reason, it looks like the gangs may have had "issues" with the killer. There has been pointed graffiti on the street in front of the house for over a month. A neighbor says "I don't know if it's gangs, a black and white thing or just stupidity." Probably a bit of both.
  • The Thrashers trounce on the road, while the Hawks are stomped at home.
  • AND...James Brown STILL has not been buried.
Not to mention other tidbits from around the country:
I CAN'T make this stuff, folkz...

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Can't see the forest for the bling...
Somebody has gone TOO FAR.

Rims...with crosses on them? Come on, Playa!

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Monday, February 19, 2007
I think this is pretty damn funny...
Friday, February 16, 2007
Darien Brockington on iTunes...for FREE
Hey Folkz...until next Tuesday if you head over to iTunes you can get a complimentary download from Darien Brockington's new debut album "Somebody to Love". The track is entitled "Can We Fall in Love Again". First click on "Music", and then click on "R&B/Soul" under "Genres". He's the "Free Discovery Download", and will be front and center, at the top of the screen.

This is an excellent chance to "try before you buy", and I promise you won't be disappointed. After that one-track appetizer has you going, go back to iTunes for the rest of the album.

I've known Darien for a few years now. He's a very genuine individual. He really feels and believes the things he sings about on the album, and it comes across as you listen.

Give it a listen, and then drop me a line and let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 15, 2007
Book Review: Cross by James Patterson
My brother, my mother and I are followers of Alex Cross. Usually among the three of us we'll end up with 2 copies of each because we'll see it and pick it up with out calling around first.

I don't remember when it started, but for years now, we have faithfully followed Alex Cross's adventures and escapades. His successes, and his dismal failures.

I do think that it started sometime after Kiss the Girls, because each time I read an Alex Cross story, I visualize Alex as Morgan Freeman. Just like every time I get a Jeffrey Deaver book on tape, I visualize Lincoln Rhyme as Denzel. But anyway, I digress.

Short version of the Alex/Morgan history: Very scholarly. Trained as a pshcyologist. He started in the Washington DC Police Department. Then went to work for the FBI. Along the way, first his wife was murdered, then his live interest was kidnapped for MONTHS. Not "months" but all caps - MONTHS. Like a year. He had two kids by his wife, and then a third by the chick that was kidnapped. After his wife was murdered, his mother insisted that he and the kids move into her house so that she could help take care of and raise them.

He has chased and caught serial killer after serial killer (some took longer than others), and he has gone toe-to-toe with perhaps the worst that the world has to offer.

Somehow, he has managed to raise 3 wonderful, well-adjusted children, and his mother, although getting older by the book, is doing just fine.

Cross a word...desperate.

Alex/Morgan is desperate to live a life that doesn't threaten to take him away from his children (permanently), and also desperate to find love and companionship(again).

His mother and children are pretty much desperate for the same things.

James Patterson was desperate to get another book out.

His last few books have become a bit...formulaic. There's a cryptic and clever and very dangerous villain out there, and Alex/Morgan chases him down. There are late-night stakeouts. Taunting by the antagonists. Lots of posturing. Lots of deaths. Sometimes pretty grisly. In the end, Alex/Morgan wins. He may get beat-up, he may even get shot. But he lives for another day.

I think James Patterson may have gotten a little bored with that. When in doubt - tie up loose ends, fill in backstory, and answer the unanswered. An ongoing loose end through all of the Cross books has been the death of Maria Cross - Alex/Morgan's wife. In this book, the murder is solved in one of the most anti-climactic climaxes ever, and the killer is presumably killed. Alex finally leaves the FBI and decides to open his own practice, but this is accomplished the first chunk of the book. This book just desperately treads water.

The rest of the books have had sing-song, nursery-rhyme type titles - "Kiss the Girls", "Along Came a Spider", "Pop Goes the Weasel", "London Bridges"...the list goes on.

This one is simply titled "Cross". Something different, right? Perhaps even an end to the madness? No such luck. The closing moments of the book leave Alex with his private practice. His kids are happy. His mother is happy. The woman he could possibly spend the rest of his life with has moved from D.C. to North Carolina. He's footloose and fancy free, right? Maybe he'll move to N.C., and ride off into the sunset and live out his life in peace. No such luck.

He gets a call on the phone in the middle of a nice family dinner. Something to the effect of:
Hello! Cross residence.

There's been a murder.

What are you calling me for?

Because I'm the murderer.

Come on, James! Give us something new and exciting! Have someone bust in and kill his mother! Snatch up one of his kids. Give Alex/Morgan a reason to care, and maybe your readers will care too! Not more of the same crap that we've been reading for what - twelve books now? Really cheap, easy, and unimaginative there, Jimbo. Nice job.

Will I read the next book? Probably so. Will I be disappointed? Probably so. It's formulaic, but I guess the formula works. It's not groundbreaking, but then again, it's not supposed to be.

Grade: C- D

To James Patterson: If you care ANYTHING about your craft, instead of just pushing out books, do better next time.

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Monday, February 12, 2007
Just the good ole boys. Never meanin' no harm?
The good ole boys here in Georgia are getting their guns back.

The short version: current law restricts where in a car a citizen can carry a nonregistered firearm - either in the glove box or another compartment, or in "full view".

The Georgia House of Representatives just passed a measure that will allow lots more freedom in where firearms are kept - between seat cushions...under the seat..maybe even in a holster attached to the steering wheel. Pretty much wherever the owner decides is the best and most advantageous place to keep it. Of course, the Senate still needs to approve the measure.

There's another bill coming down the pipe that will keep police officers from confiscating firearms from the Average Joe during a state of emergency...such as a hurricane. The truth of that matter is that in case of an emergency, whether or not it gets taken will be more a case of will power than of the law.

The last possible legislation around firearms would keep certain employers from banning employees from keeping firearms in their locked vehicles on employer-owned property. This means that when Leroy or Clarence loses it and "goes postal", he at least has to drive home to get his pistol, and then fight traffic back to the office to wreak some havoc. Some of the powers that be want them to be able to sprint out the parking lot, remove the pistol from the custom steering wheel holster, and then sprint back into the building to pop a cap in the secretary's ass who has turned him down for lunch one too many times.

I'm going to start working from home. I'm not getting out there with y'all. Not gon' get me.

No, no.

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Happy Birthday to me...
My first post was on February 3, 2006.

My second, third, and fourth posts were on the 8th.

Two of those posts were about the Grammys. I was watching, and I was surprised that Kelly Clarkson took home 2.

Anyway, I realized last night that I've been blogging for a year.

From this moment on...(Hi Bro...)...I'm going to observe the birthday of my blog on Grammy night.

No blogs on Grammy night. My official night off.

There you go.

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Friday, February 09, 2007
Open your eyes, people.

Love it.
Still tweaking...
Yeah...I'm still playing with the new schema, if you will.

I've gotten a complaint or two from folkz saying that the contrast between the silhouette and the black was too much for their feeble eyes.

And so, I've changed it up a bit. Let me know your thoughts.
Monday, February 05, 2007
The new look...
You like it?
I know! It's hot, right?

You know...had to change it up for the 'o7. Big things coming this year.

I've had this design in my head for a while, just had to sit down and bring it to fruition.

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I feel bad...kinda's the story.

If you've been visiting here with me for the last few weeks, you know that the Cadillac was totaled. We've "bought" (long story) one car already, and we'll most probably tie up the second car this week. I didn't tell you that we had to buy TWO cars? That's another story. Maybe later.

Anyway, in addition to the settlement on the value of the Caddy, we got a rental car. Scored 12 days with it. The car is due back today. All weekend my wife and I have had little discussions about the best way to drop the car off. When? and How? mostly.
This morning, I say to her "Wow, hard to believe it's been 12 days already."
Her reply: "It hasn't. It's been 11 days."
Me: "What?"
Her: "Yeah. That's just the way they do it. It's due back by 11:00 this morning. You can call them if you want to."

Well, that's exactly what I did. First, I get all of my information together. I dig out my confirmation number. I pull out a calendar and count days. I get ready to call the insurance company and complain to them, just in case it's their fault.

I call the rental car company. Turns out that there are two different kinds of billing in the rental car industry: 24 hour billing, and calendar day billing. With 24 hour billing, the fees and such are calculated based on 24-hour periods. With calendar day billing, the fees are calculated by the day. The day you pick up the car is the first day. Period. The catch is that with calendar day billing, the time doesn't matter at all. You can pick the car up at 8:00am, and return it just before they close on that last night. Same fee.

This all makes perfect sense to me. I feel a bit better. We can coordinate something a little more suitable to our schedules, and it will all be fine.

But for some reason, I don't let it go there. I start asking Allison questions about how we were supposed to know that the car was due back at any time, even though the contract we have explicitly states "11:45am".

I ask her about how sophisticated her computer systems are. "You're telling me that your billing system is smart enough to bill that way, but you can't print out your contracts to say that?"

I ask her to please explain calendar day billing to the agent that actually executed the rental contract for my wife, and to explain to him that most rentals are not billed this way, and that it would help their customers out to explain the key differences.

I share with her that it might not be a bad practice to tell their customers essentially that "I know the contract says one thing, but our computers aren't smart enough to print the contract correctly, and these are the true facts."

I'm really laying it on thick at this point. I think the main reason is that I really don't like her tone. And then I'm like "Did she...did she just cut me off?" and a little later "Did she cut me off again?"

And then I realize that she's once again explaining the concept of calendar day billing to me, as if I didn't get it the first time.

So as I'm getting tired of the exchange, I lob one more zinger out there..."Can you print me another contract that says that it's not really due until close-of-business and fax it out to me?"

She can't do that. The system won't let her.

This is the part I kinda feel bad about: I then ask her to hand-scrawl a note to that effect, and fax that to me instead. I ask her to include her full name and title (she's the manager), along with my contract number.

She agrees, and promptly hangs up the phone. A minute later, the fax rings. She doesn't include her title, or my contract number, or even her last name! The note isn't even dated. She wrote the thing with a Sharpie or something.

For a moment I thought about calling her back and telling her that just wasn't good enough. I could tell her that if we had to take this matter to court or something, that it would never stand up for me.

But I didn't. I let it go.

End of story.