Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Category: Uncategorized (page 3 of 65)

Me and Barbra Streisand

Yesterday, I checked my email and there’s one from Barbra Streisand. Turns out I’m on her mailing list and do I want to remain there. According to the email, this is the second time I’ve received this request. There are two things I find humorous about this. One is that I never received the first request — not enless it went to my junk inbox and was deleted — and two, I don’t remember even joining the Barbra Streisand mailing list in the first place. It isn’t something I would normally do. Not that I have anything against Barbra Streisand, but I – with just two exceptions – generally only sign up for mailing lists that are either political or technical. Now, I’m wondering if someone put me on her list. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the rubber parts?
But, if Babs wants to keep me on her mailing list, I guess it won’t hurt.
God Bless

More Random Thoughts

I was going to write an in depth post about the recession and the recovery, but today I’m just dragging. So, I have a couple more random thoughts to put out there.

  • Nothing in the whole wide world is cooler than answering my phone and hearing: “Hi, Nana!” Whether Danny or Alex is the voice, it is way cool. Singing “Blue Suede Shoes” while putting them on speaker is pretty cool, too. Both boys love to sing. Can’t wait to see what little Nickie does when he gets the chance. It does mean that I don’t get to speak with Kim much. Kim called and while we were talking, Danny came up and asked if she was talking to me, she told him yes and he said, “Well, I want to talk to Nana.” And, that was that.
  • While I thinking of the recession and the recovery, I have to say that it has been good for those of us who didn’t run out and purchase huge homes or more expensive cars than we could afford. Cheryl and I have spent more money in the past six months on various purchases than I believe we did in the six months prior — excluding spending for Christmas. I’m not saying that we’re going hog wild or anything, but we’ve been able to buy things that prior to the recession were out of reach. Our personal recession occurred last year when unplanned events wiped out our savings twice. I should add that we are both very blessed. We still haven’t been able to afford a great vacation, but I think we should do well enough that if we play our cards right, we can go someplace next year.
  • That last paragraph been said, I’d like to say to those who are so worried about the future to lighten up a bit. We’re going to bounce back, but if we listen to people like Susie Orman, no one would ever spend any money and, guess what — the economy will NEVER bounce back. If you have a little extra and there’s something you want or need, then go buy it. I’m not saying that if you’re deep in debt, go deeper. I’m talking about people like Cheryl and me who have a little extra. We’re choosing to put a little less into the savings account, which BTW only gets .5% interest, to purchase items that we’ve wanted or needed. We didn’t rack up thousands in debt, so we can afford to stretch it out a little. Let’s help the economy grow.
  • Did I mention it is only 10 more days until they install our new kitchen floor?
  • Crockpots are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

God Bless

Random Thoughts

This weekend, I had quite a few ideas for articles, but the time went so fast, I never had a chance to formulate them into coherent thoughts. Now, I’m a little sleepy and I have to get ready for work, so I was thinking of just a listing of random thoughts. Maybe, a little something to get the conversation started.

  • Teddy is the cutest and smartest kitten I have ever owned. He is an amazing creature and totally worth all of the allergy driven issues I’m having since we became his parents.
  • My car is really pretty and I know this because a lady at the bookmobile told me.
  • Paul Ryan’s office must be getting more cards, letters, emails and phone calls than normal. I have called him once and sent an email on two different subjects and have not received a response on either. One issue — Alternative Minimum Tax — I’ve been waiting over a month for a response. It isn’t like his office, so I’m making a guess that they must be really busy.
  • If I’m right and Paul Ryan’s office is busy, that can only be a good thing. It means, I hope, that my fellow Americans are becoming more involved. Well, really, it means just my fellow southeastern Wisconsinites are becoming more involved.
  • Today is the day that gay Wisconsinites can register for domestic partnership. THANK YOU GOD and Governor Doyle! This whole gay marriage issue has really gotten a lot of people’s tits in a wringer, as my mother would say, and for what? What has anyone who is against gay marriage gained by denying marriage to someone they don’t even know? Oh, I know what they think they’ll get, they think they’ll get a slice of the that pie called Heaven. And, won’t they be surprised when they don’t. However; gays can and should take solace in the following…”Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12
  • There is nothing cuter than three cats watching a rainstorm.

Well, gotta get ready for work.

God Bless

Heartless, Hypocritical Bastards

Those so-called “family” groups are at it again. No sooner had the ink dried on the state budget, which includes Domestic Partner benefits, than 3 board members of various “family” groups had their lawyers file to fight it in court.
Look you rotten bastards, you won the big fight — we can’t get married and we can’t have civil unions in Wisconsin. At least give us the very small protections Domestic Partnerships give us. And, if I sound angry, I am. I’m sick and tired of a group of people who don’t know me spending their time and effort to make my life miserable. They wanted the anti-gay amendment and they got it. And, how did they get it, buy making it a two part question, where the answer was yes if you DIDN’T support equal rights for gays. Do you know how many of my straight friends called me up and said, “Isn’t it great, you and Cheryl can get married now. We voted yes and it passed.” I apparently didn’t explain it to them in easy enough terms for them to understand that a yes vote meant we COULDN’T get married.
Now, we’re just getting basic protections: the right to inherit, the right to hospital visitations, the right to sue for wrongful death, etc. We’re not getting the right to file joint tax returns. We’re not getting the other 1300 rights that married couples enjoy in this country.
And, these bastards are hypocrites on top of it all. They don’t believe in legistlating from the bench, but they want a judge to throw out a law signed by our governor. Sounds like an activist judge decision to me.
I have a question. If Cheryl gets seriously ill and can no longer make decisions for herself, are these bastards going to step in then and make the decision I cannot legally make until the domestic partner benefits kick in on August 3rd? Are they going to stop her life support or stop treatment when there’s no hope? Oh, of course not, these are the kinds of bastards — in a general sense — that believe in the so-called right to life, which means they don’t believe anyone should ever die.
God Bless the Gay People for we give the phony family groups something to do.

I can’t believe they were really that dumb…

I saw this headline Cops suspended after check on Obama on CNN and I had to read the story. It seems two police officers — both of whom have been on the job less than five years — ran a background check on President Obama.  Didn’t they realize that they’d get caught?  I’m pretty sure anytime a police officer runs a check on anyone, there’s a record of it.  And, two young police officers should know that better than an older one — this is the computer generation after all.

God Bless

Congressman Ryan’s Healthcare Idea

Congressman Ryan sent out a flyer regarding his healthcare plan. He wants to give everyone a $5700 tax credit — not a deduction, you receive this credit whether you paid money in or not — to everyone in order to buy healthcare. The tax credit works out to $475.00 per month, which sounds like a lot of money for health insurance, until you realize that group plans can cost that much and trying to buy insurance as an individual is very expensive.
There are some questions I want answered and I’m sending an email to him to get them:

  • From where are Americans supposed to buy this insurance? Are we going to be able to get the kind of coverage we currently have with our employers and at the group rate?
  • From where is the government going to get the money for the tax credit? I pay for my employer insurance pre-tax, so I am not paying taxes on my health insurance. My pre-tax premium is way less than the $5700 tax credit and $5700 will practically wipe out my tax obligation and the tax obligation for a lot of Americans, so where is the government going to get the extra money?
  • Will I have to prove that I purchased healthcare insurance or put the money into a health savings account in order to collect? How can we be certain that people use the credit for that which it was intended? If there are no guarantees in place, we could end up spending a lot of government money without covering a significant portion of Americans.
  • What will this do to company policies? Won’t this encourage companies to just dump their healthcare plans and let individuals do it on their own?
  • Who is going to educate those who don’t understand anything about insurance? I have a college degree and insurance policies confuse me. Who is going to make sure the American public is well informed?
  • Won’t this just encourage fly by night insurance companies? How can we be sure people won’t be scammed into policies that really aren’t worth the paper their printed on?

It is something to think about. Contact your Congressman to find out more information.
God Bless

Where have all the cajones gone?

Why is it that no one has cajones (balls) anymore? My co-worker gets away with saying how "busy" she is and how she doesn't have time to do something and my boss just lets it slide. Remember when I told you about that project and how she didn't want to do it, but my boss gave it to her anyway? Well, today she says she doesn't have time. So, now it just won't get done.
But does he call her bluff?
Of course not. And, why is that?
Glad you ask.
No one has any cajones. Everyone is so busy saying, "oh, I'm sorry." Politicians, actors, bosses, etc. I'd rather deal with a blantant racist than deal with the balless.
God Bless the balless – for they shall go farther than they should

Smile Train

I don’t know if you’ll be able to see the pictures from the email I’m copying and posting here, but if you can’t I will get this fixed later. I didn’t want to wait in posting this. Smile Train is an organization that is very close to my heart. I see the pictures of these children and I want to help them all. I encourage all of my readers to donate to Smile Train.

Here is an email I received this morning. Please take the time to read it. Oh, I should note that I didn’t receive permission from Smile Train to post this, so please consider the whole email copyrighted by them and not me.

God Bless

“I will never forget a little 7-year-old girl who literally jumped into my arms-and into my heart.” -Christopher Meloni

1- HaitiSmileTrain-Chris and Bergaline before

The flight to Haiti from New York is just a little more than 3 hours but the distance between our two countries is VAST. The U.S. is the richest country in the history of the world with an average per capita income of about $40,000 a year. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with an average per capita income of $400 a year. 80% of Haitians live in poverty. 50% cannot read. The healthcare system is in shambles. Average life expectancy is 53 years. Almost one out of every 10 babies dies before their first birthday.

When our plane landed in Port-au-Prince, we went right from the airport to Cité Soleil, a densely populated shanty town where about 300,000 people live in unimaginable circumstances. It is one of the poorest slums in the entire world. In Cité Soleil there are no police, no sewers, no stores and little to no electricity or running water.2- HaitiSmileTrain-Chris and poverty

The stench was overwhelming. As we walked around it felt to me like I was walking on a gigantic landfill, stepping on garbage, human excrement, litter, refuse, rotting food, you name it, while hundreds of wild pigs were snorting and foraging all around us.

Everywhere I looked people were foraging too, looking for food, for plastic or metal cans, for anything they could use, like shoes or clothing.

I thought of Dante’s inferno and its Map of Hell-this place would have fit right in.

Many children rubbed their bellies and held out their hands, the international signal that says, “I am hungry will you give me some money.”3- HaitiSmileTrain-Chris and Mud Cookies

We came across a market where I saw something I will never forget. A woman selling cookies, made out of mud. Cookies that people actually buy and eat. I was incredulous. I held one and smelled it. Why would anyone eat something like this? I was told that in Haiti, for many people, the hunger pains are so bad they are given the nickname Clorox. Because it feels like there is bleach eating away at the walls of your stomach. So some children eat these mud cookies to fill their stomachs and fend off the hunger pains at least for awhile.

I stood there holding one of these mud cookies shaking my head.

How can it be that just off the coast of the richest country in the world, are 8 million people starving on an island eating cookies made out of mud? What is even more ironic is that the biggest health problem we face in the U.S. these days is obesity. It’s true. The leading cause of death in the U.S. is coronary and heart problems related to obesity.

Well, my depression lifted immediately when we got to our Smile Train partner hospital and saw HUNDREDS of children and adults who had come from all over Haiti to be helped.4- HaitiSmileTrain-Waiting Smile Train distributed posters, ran radio and TV ads and spread the word far and wide that every baby, child and adult with a cleft who came to this hospital would be guaranteed free surgery.

I must say, it was a little overwhelming for me to see so many clefts in one place at one time. Some of them were extreme.

I spent a lot of time meeting as many children and their parents as we could. Through our interpreter who spoke Creole, we asked all kinds of questions.

What I came away with was that this Smile Train program was their only chance to ever get cleft surgery for their child. Many of these children had traveled for days, by foot, by boat, by bus, from very far away because this was their one chance, their one shot.

And I will never forget a little 7-year-old girl who literally jumped into my arms-and into my heart. 6- HaitiSmileTrain-Chris and Bergaline before in hospitalBergaline and her mother lived in Cité Soleil. Her mother said never in a thousand years could she ever raise enough money to help her child. We talked a bit and then I lifted Bergaline up and carried her into the O.R. to observe my very first cleft surgery.

And 45 minutes that would change the rest of Bergaline’s life.

Her surgeon, Dr. Michael Schaefer, was fantastic. He gave me a play-by-play as he gently, expertly and methodically deconstructed Bergaline’s cleft and then artfully put the pieces back together just like a jigsaw puzzle. I was really blown away with how dramatic the transformation was-as well as how quickly it all happened.

In Smile Train direct mail they always say the surgery takes as little as 45 minutes and I must say I have always been a little skeptical about that claim. But sure enough, in under an hour, about 50 minutes, I was lifting a sleeping Bergaline up from that O.R. table and carrying her to the post-op area. (Without all my questions and suture cutting they probably would have been done in 35 minutes!)

7- HaitiSmileTrain- Bergaline After

I almost sprinted to go get Bergaline’s mother.

There was not a dry eye in the room as we watched this mom cry tears of joy as she danced and hugged and said thank you again and again and again and again. Wow.

When I got out of my scrubs, I sat down in a hallway to drink some water and take a break. But as I looked out the window at all the children and their parents that were still standing in a long line, waiting to register, or arriving by foot after days of travel, it hit me even harder.8- HaitiSmileTrain-Baby Girl Before

These kids have to be helped. None of these children can be turned away.

Before I went to Haiti, I thought Smile Train was a well-run charity that was doing some good work and helping a lot of kids. But I came back from Haiti with a much more intense point of view and a much greater sense of urgency.

There are millions of poor children in the world who are suffering with unrepaired clefts.

All of their suffering is completely unnecessary.

Every single one of these kids can be helped with this simple, cheap, quick surgery.

5- HaitiSmileTrain-Girl BeforeSmile Train is working feverishly to raise enough money to help as many children as quickly as it can.

If you can help us too, that would be great. If enough of us pitch in, we can actually solve this problem, we9- HaitiSmileTrain-boy before can help all the kids who are out there waiting for their chance to smile.

Donate Now Button

Thanks for reading my report and thanks for helping these kids.

All the best,

Chris Meloni

P.S. If you are wondering if I would go on another Smile Train trip all I have to say is just name the place and the date and I will be there.

P.P.S. I made a pretty neat video about my trip. You can check it out at

Torture

I hear people say things like, “they do it to us, so we should do it to them” whenever the subject of torture comes up. But, if “they” jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, should we do it too? Now, I read in Newsweek that Eric Holder — the US Attorney General — wants to begin investigating the Bush Administration and go after those who approved the torture we as a whole committed. Well, even though I’m against torture, I think that ship has sailed and all Eric Holder will find is a heap of trouble for his boss. I’m, also, torn. I do want those people who said it was okay to torture someone punished, but at the same time, I’m reluctant to air America’s dirty laundry anymore.

My dad, who went through torture “training” before being shipped to Vietnam, said that water boarding isn’t so bad. He survived it and he doesn’t understand why everyone is making a fuss over it. Yet, I read an article in Vanity Fair written by Christopher Hutchinson who said it was a terrifying experience. Of course, my father is one tough guy and he makes John Wayne look like a sissy boy, so he’s probably tougher than a journalist for Vanity Fair.

I’m not sure how much water boarding really harms anyone and we are in a war with the terrorists, but I wonder, if we torture them because they torture our people, then aren’t we just like them? I should think that a great country such as the United States of America would hold ourselves to a higher standard. We are the beacon of hope for the hopeless and the bearer of that great standard – freedom. We should never lower ourselves to the level of terrorists. We should never be the bad guys. Not torturing a terrorist doesn’t make us weak, it makes us, well, us. We are THE country on this planet that looks out for the underdog. We are the country that fights for injustice. Come to think of it, we’re the Superman of the world. We need to hold ourselves to a much higher standard than the rest of the world, because we are the United States of America — one nation, indivisible, under God with liberty and justice for all.

God Bless

Inmates Give Money to Help Little Girl Have Surgery

Have you heard about Trinity Schley?  She’s four years old and lives in Baton Rouge, LA.  You can read her story here.  She needs surgery to restore her sight and the surgery and associated costs total about $60,000.  Her parents don’t have that kind of money — really, who does.

I donated and now I’m calling on all of you, my gentle, kind hearted readers to donate as well.  A group of Inmates donated $5,000 — INMATES, people!  These are hardened criminals and they’ve joined together to donate 5 GRAND.  Surely, we can do better than that.  We’re all upstanding citizens, aren’t we?

You can donate here

God Bless Trinity and her family.

Let’s raise some money!!!

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