Time Out! Some Site Business…

Hi guys…it’s been a while since I wrote, but the mental strain of being too close to 9/11 was taking a toll on me.  I’m trying to juggle a blog, book, and family but on the other hand I need to keep you (and me for that matter) on a regular publishing schedule.  I plan to publish on the blog on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday every week starting today (which means I may or may not have something later…I have two sick kids right now with nasty colds and one friend who is having some surreal problems that I need to keep myself open for just in case she needs me).  I think this will allow me to Digest what happened over the weekend and make my comments on the Sunday talking head shows on Monday; Wednesday is usually a busy news day and I can include what I know from the previous two days in here plus Wednesdays news; and Friday will be good for summing up the previous two days and anything that developed late Wednesday.  I’ll publish on off days if the situation warrants it.

So there you are.  You now know when to expect something new, and I know when I have to switch over from book mode to blog mode and back again, all the while dealing with a young teenager and a 10 year old…two girls who I love dearly but drive me crazy sometimes, LOL.  I hope to Gods they are not reading this…anyway you might have something later.  Please keep in mind that although I comment a lot on politics, I also like to comment on being a dad and just my observations about life in general.  Be open to those posts.  It seems that any time I write something angry, my readership goes up, and although many times I am an angry and frustrated man, there are times that I am warm and loving…and that is what I’m striving for in my personal life these days.  Yoda was right.  And speaking of our favorite green short Jedi, I have seen the Star Wars Blu Rays and they are simply jaw dropping.  By far some of the best work I have ever seen done for the medium.

Now someone please get “The Abyss” and “Lawrence of Arabia” on Blu Ray…pretty please?  I’ll be your best friend…LOL

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Master Yoda

A New Beginning…In More Ways Than One

A few years ago (way back in 2008), I started this blog as an outlet for my thoughts, observations of everyday life as a stay at home dad, politics…well, kind of about a little bit of everything.  I wrote daily, most especially during the election season, and here we are two years later and I have the Mid-Term Elections coming up in the United States in November.  After the 08 election, it continued for a while and then I got ill (thank you, almost better now) and had no time or inclination to write.  Once again, I have cause to (the elections for starters) and the other because I feel motivated by a need to.

You see, there are a few things I am good at in my life.  I’m an excellent cook (insert back pat and self-congratulatory remarks here); I am a font of (what my wife terms) “useless information” …in other words, I have a marked propensity to remember just about everything; and I can write.  As to the quality, well that depends upon the day.  For the most part, I’m a hell of a writer; I’m able to put on the page what a lot of people may be thinking or can’t even say.  As for myself, it’s the only way to keep focused on what I’m doing in a particular moment.  Being bi-polar has a number of disadvantages, the primary one being a million thoughts racing through your mind at a million miles an hour.  That’s mostly controlled these days by medication, but I still need to focus on one thing at a time; I’m not a multi-tasker like I used to be.  So that kind of leaves a guy with a 150 IQ trapped in a bit of a mental conundrum…

Two years on this blog has been here, and I’ve found myself at several crossroads, all of which should have been documented here.  Instead they have been inside my head just waiting for the right time to get out…and that starts today.  I’m going to try and write about something daily, whether it be about politics (you must know that I am a bleeding heart Liberal by now); my daily goings on as a stay at home dad (especially now that my oldest daughter has turned 13…the fun times have begun in earnest); or musings about the state of the human condition.  That’s what this blog has always been about and will continue to be as I (once again) pick up the novel I was writing (that too was on hold).  So we’ll try this again.

So as I start my blog up once more it’s appropriate that it comes at the start of Football Season and my beloved NY Giants’ first game of the year at their brand new home in the lovely swamps of The Meadowlands in my adopted home state of New Jersey.  The TV will be on, the Cokes will be cold (I might break down and get a couple of O’Doul’s to kick off the season), and the chips at the ready.  My girls will be at my side in front of the 51″ widescreen in lovely High Definition (youngest daughter is FINALLY learning the game) dressed in Giants red, white, blue, and gray with the audio system turned up LOUD so we feel like we’re at the stadium.  And so it begins…

GO GIANTS!

“Success demands singleness of purpose.” – Vince Lombardi*

“Today, you have 100% of your life left.” – Tom Landry**

*NY Giants Offensive Coach before he went to Green Bay as Head Coach.  **The Defensive Coach on those same NY Giants teams was Tom Landry.  Both men also played on the same NY Giants teams.  Today’s post is dedicated in their memory.

Back In Action!

As some of you know, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged due to some nasty health problems (which I’ll definitely address in a future post).  The short story is this: I have a nasty back problem that involves degenerating discs and nerve damage.  This necessitates me taking all kinds of neat-o stuff to kill the pain, and unfortunately, it tends to dull the mind as well as the agony.  So this basically means I kind of have to blog early in the day before my second dose of meds, after which I become this incoherent babbling pile of Jello; although some of my friends would say I’m that way in any case even without the medication.  (And with friends like those…)

I’ve also been hard at work on my novel.  It’s an interesting thing attempting a project of this scope; you’re heavily involved in the creation and editing as well as getting some valuable input from friends and family.  I have no agent, no editor…it’s just me attempting to tell a story of a good chunk of my life that needs to be told.  I do it because I have to as much as I want to for catharsis’ sake.  So with my efforts being directed in that direction, blogging most definitely took a back seat; but I realized that as I was yelling across a den at a 51″ wide-screen television yelling at Congress, I could be much more productive putting my anger on paper.  Plus I missed having my opinions out there on the ‘Net and getting some great e-mail and comments from folks from all over this planet.  It’s amazing to think that one small blog like this one can reach so vast a distance, it matters not that my audience is 5 people or 50…it still boggles my mind that what I’m saying can be heard half a world away.  So, I’ve decided the time was right to get back to the business of venting my spleen at the world, telling humorous stories from my life, and offering my perspective of The Universe.

I did some changes to the Blog, the most obvious one is the new style and format.  I’m not sure if I like it yet; I think I need to settle into the new digs for a bit before I finalize things.  I’ve also changed the e-mail address for the blog.  Should you want to contact me personally, the new e-mail address is intersectionsblog@me.com.  Feel free to write; I ALWAYS respond to my e-mail.  Finally, my new publishing schedule will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays for the time being.  Of course, more as needed; and less if necessary, but that’s what I’m going to try and work with for now.

Hopefully, I can make this work this time and get back to providing you some (hopefully) entertaining reading material.

Publishing Schedule Beginning April 1

While hopefully not being an April Fool, I’m going to try and streamline my workload so that my posts will appear on a regular schedule.  It will give me more time to take care of my other writing (a novel) and be a Dad around here so that I’m not rushing to write something.  It will also give me a couple of days to look at what’s going on and see just what it is I have to say.  I will not write something for the sake of it…I MUST have something to say.

This Blog will now have new posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays beginning April 1.  Obviously, should situations warrant, publication might occur on other days; but there are my planned publication dates.

Just thought I’d give everyone a heads up, and hopefully keep everyone (including me) from guessing when the next new post will be.

A Note About Comments & Other Things

While comments are more than welcome and I appreciate all points of view, I’ve been getting a lot of comments that have gone into the spam thread (for various reasons and via certain filters I’ve set up) that should not have gone there in addition to those that do belong there.  While I appreciate debate, there comes a point where you are beating a dead horse to such a degree that a bottle of glue cannot possibly be salvaged from the remains.

Rather than cut off debate entirely on a topic (which I have done on a few posts…guilty as charged) and not allow further comments on an article, effective today February 26, 2008; all comments on this site are now subject to moderation.  This also applies to older posts. In addition, comments can now be nested to reflect replies to various posters (thank you, WordPress) in an easy to read format that will extend to 4 levels deep as a default.  I will extend that should a debate warrant it.  Also, posts like this concerning site business will have all comments disabled.  Pingbacks and trackbacks will certainly continue be welcome and have NEVER been a problem; quite frankly though, I have to look more carefully to see if my new editing parameters apply to them as well.  Hey, I have a learning curve as well; I’ll update as soon as I figure this little piece of data out.

I’ve been a bit behind on posting lately  but I’m a stay at home dad and also have a novel I’m trying to write at the same time.  This tends to get in my way when I want to post here.  Rest assured, I am doing my best to maintain my self-imposed quota of 5-7 times per week.  That has not changed.  What has changed is the times we now live in, with a President taking on the most ambitious agenda since 1932.  News happens at an almost minute by minute pace, and sometimes I need more time to fully collect and think about the day’s events.  I always try and write my own opinions on political pieces before I watch my usual cable news programs in the evening; this way I can offer my own ideas without being influenced by others.  Very rarely will I write something after seeing my nightly news tandem of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, unless they manage to bring up something that I was not aware of.

I need to make clear one thing: I am a person who does their research and homework very carefully before forming an opinion.  I read the major newspapers across this country and in my area.  I read various publications on the web (both Liberal and Conservative) and have certain columnists who I read daily (Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post and Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic are examples of two pragmatic left and right thinking columnists respectively).  I do not have a knee-jerk response, unless it concerns intolerance, cruelty, or civil liberties.  While I consider myself a Pragmatic Progressive (Progmatic?), there are Libertarian doctrines I subscribe to as well.  I am not far Left nor Right; I usually wind up being Left-Of-Center on most topics.  I do not like nor trust extremists be they American or Foreign; religious or sectarian or those that masquerade as either.  My single concern and first loyalty is to the common good of Humanity.  Period.  Nothing else takes precedence; even when it it sometimes at odds with philosophies held by my own government.  It was this way during the Bush Administration, and I will be that way during the Obama Administration.  At least I’ll be consistent.

As always…thanks for reading.

Site Update

New update coming on Saturday, Feb 21. I’ve had the damned stomach virus that’s been going around (the kind that keeps you going…and going…and going). I’ll also be able to digest the Friday News Dump (no pun intended) as well; there’s always some great nuggets in there.

Peace On Earth, Good Will To All

My best wishes to you and yours for a peaceful holiday season, and for those who celebrate it…a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I’ll be taking a few days off to spend with my family.  Regular posting will begin again on Monday, December 29th, 2008.  Until then, may your days be merry and bright…and I won’t finish the rest of that lyric off because some of you are experiencing that type of weather already and are sick of it!

Be safe, be warm, try to do a good thing for someone no matter how small it is, and don’t drink and drive!  The world needs you alive.

Peace.

I Thought There Was Something Different…

OK, so we’ve had our first face-lift for Intersections…and I think it’s a nice change of pace.

A few readers requested a larger font size, and although I couldn’t accommodate in the way I wanted (well, to be honest…it would cost me extra as a Word Press upgrade…but I have two kids, you know?) but it’s still larger than the old scheme.  I also changed the background color to have a nice black/white contrast with a little buff and orange thrown in for good measure.  Another nice feature that won’t have you reaching for your bi-focals is that all posts are now the same size as opposed to the lead post being legible, and previous posts looking like the fine print of a credit card application.  If you don’t currently use bi-focals, just wait a few years…you will.  You’ll know it’s time when you start reading the newspaper at arms’ length.

As far as everything else goes:

NEW POSTS will continue on an almost-daily basis (hey, sometimes I run out of ideas or get caught up in this little fatherhood gig I’ve had going for the past 11 years) and will be posted after 7PM Eastern Standard Time (-5 GMT).  COMMENTS will remain unedited and unmoderated, unless we get a plethora of Trolls that have suddenly decided that standing guard by their usual bridges is a bit boring.  CLICK ON THE TITLE OF A POST to see that post and all comments beneath it and/or make a comment  yourself.  USE THE ARCHIVE CALENDAR to search for a particular post from whenever, and FEEL FREE TO VISIT THE LINKS I HAVE POSTED.  The mainstream media I watch is up there as well as some other wonderful blogs and websites I visit daily.  They are nice people…they don’t bite, trust me.

So that’s my bit of housekeeping and instructions on how to play nice in the Intersections sandbox.  As always, feel free to e-mail me at ark3blog@me.com with any comments or suggestions you have and want to take “off line”.

Thanks for reading for the past few months!  A new post tomorrow…promise!  I leave you with a quote from the great Theologian Paul Tillich (not that someone who I have not even thought about or read since college, but happened to be brought up in a conversation about music, of all things, on another site):

“I have come to bring faith to the doubtful. And I have come to bring doubt to the faithful.” – Paul Tillich

I May Have Found My First Troll!

Ah…the perils of blogging.

When I first established this blog, I did so because I wanted to express my views on not only politics, but the state of Humanity as well.  I also wanted to get some other pieces written dealing with parenting, home ownership, family life, music…a whole list of things ASIDE from politics.  Although the topics have been for the most part political in nature over the past few months, they by nature HAD to be given the importance of this past Presidential Election.  Needless to say, there will still be political posts in the future.  I sure as hell don’t expect everyone to agree with what I have to say, and that’s why there is an OPEN AND UNMODERATED COMMENTS section.

Why open and unmoderated?  Well, I am a great believer in freedom of speech and the right to state one’s opinion without being edited by a site administrator or moderator (except of course if the comments were socially unacceptable e.g. rascist or slanderous in nature just to name two.).  I am also a great believer in an intelligent discussion of ideas and an exchange of opinions in a civil manner.  This usually entails a willingness on the part of the individuals involved to have a DIALOG…something akin to more than just a few short words about a topic.  I received three comments from a new reader today that are not intelligent, nor are they an exchange of ideas, nor are they anything resembling a dialog.

Look, I don’t expect a doctoral dissertation in a comment.  I DO expect more than just a few words (which are kind of the written equivalent of a hit-and-run in my opinion).  I’d like to think that since I put thought into my work, that comments and replies on this site reflect that same kind of commitment.  Talking points don’t cut it with me…never have and never will…so please, save those for the Fox News Channel.  I can only assume that short one-sentence comments are those representative of a Troll.  In my “About This Site” page, I explained that Trolls will be dealt with in a unique fashion, and since I loath not to keep my promises, I shall now reveal the award winning comments to you of the winner of my first Troll Award:

  • Comment on “Election 2008 Word Association”: “‘Senile? Republicans’ Wow. how open-minded of you” [sic]
  • Comments on “Hope For The Republic”: “‘and the death of Communism as we knew it.’  it shall be reborn under obama” and “sorry communism wont be reborn socialism will be brought upon america destroying the entire capitalist foundation of the US” [sic]

CONGRATULATIONS TO READER “YEP” FOR BECOMING THE VERY FIRST TROLL ON “INTERSECTIONS IN REAL TIME”!

I said it would be unique way of bringing Trolls to light, and there it is.  “Yep” has now been brought to the attention of everyone, and any comments from this individual should be regarded as those of a Troll unless he/she proves otherwise.  The easy way would be for me to delete their comments, but I won’t do that; it’s a matter of principle.  I can, however, give them enough rope with which to hang themselves.  If anyone disagrees with me on a post I’ve written, please feel free to let me know about it…several readers have already.  Their comments were well reasoned and thought out and contributed to a discussion.  Other readers responded to those comments and created a little something called DIALOG.  That is being civil.  “Yep” was a hit and run attack…period.

So, I’ll continue to opine and you may feel free to leave a comment or not.  Please just be intelligent in your remarks, back up your arguments, and let the debate begin.  If you can’t do that, please feel free to say nothing and move on to the next blog where you can troll away.

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury


Even Bloggers Need A Rest…Sort Of

It’s a long holiday weekend here in the USA and Canada (for different reasons…but to my Canadian Friends, Happy Thanksgiving!); so I’m taking some time off to spend with the family, and prepare a HUGE Italian Meal tomorrow. Columbus Day (celebrated Monday in the US but is officially October 12) is an HUGE Italian holiday here in the NYC Metro Area; I’m half Italian (Sicilian and Calabrese), the missus is 100% (Foggian and Neopolitan) and my kids are 75% Italian (all of the above).  The menu will be Raviolis, Meatballs, Sausage, and homemade SAUCE (don’t be fooled…it’s SAUCE, not GRAVY…despite what a lot of NYC Italians tell you.  The problem is, the guys that tell you that have no Sicilian Blood in them…that’s why they say that…LOL!  Damned Neopolitans!)  I’ll be up EARLY tomorrow frying the sausage and meatballs and dumping the whole thing along with San Marzano tomatoes and fresh herbs from the garden in a crock-pot to sit for 8 hours.  The entire house will be FILLED with slow simmering, garlic infused, herb laden SAUCE that will waft into the streets getting every neighbor hungry.

Oh, by the way…I’m an OUTSTANDING cook.

The other reason for the pause is I need to finish some music reviews for my friend’s website (a Progressive Rock CD and DVD review site) called ProgNaut.  I get some great free CDs and DVDs from him to review…the problem is, I get WAY too many!  (Ron, just joking!)  So, all I have to do in return is give my opinion…like I have any problem doing that, huh?  I’m WAY behind, so I’ll pause my blogging to keep my end of the bargain.

There will be LOTS to talk about on Tuesday, when I will return.  See you then.

“The teacher is like the candle; which lights others in consuming itself” – Italian Proverb

Quick Notes On Site Navigation And Some Comments From The Author

Just in case some of you are new to reading blogs, here’s a quick way to access all of the writings of Yours Truly on this Humble Site:

  • I usually post daily after 8 PM EST (-5GMT), so the most recent post will always be at the top of the blog.
  • Previous posts will always appear (in their entirety) below the current post.  You can read a post this way, or by clicking on the post title, you will be able to comment on it.  I would appreciate anyone reading the Blog to do this, as I am able to see on my statistics page which articles are receiving more traffic than others.
  • The 10 most recent posts are also highlighted in the section “Recent Posts” (clever title, huh?).  Click on one of them to read and/or comment on one.
  • Older posts (those not in the Recent Posts section) can be accessed by clicking on the (ingeniously titled) “Archives” section, click on the month you wish to view, and then finding the article you wish to read and click on the title of the article.  Even though an article is still in the Archives, you may comment on it.  I will most certainly see it, and I will address it directly in the twice-monthly “Fan Mail From Some Flounder Section”, or with you by e-mail.
  • The Recent Comments section features comments from readers regardless of the time period of the post’s original publication date.  So, if you wish to comment on an article from September on a day in November, comments that you just made on the original article will show up in this section, on that hypothetical day in November.

I DO read every comment sent to me.  I will occasionally respond to a comment, not on the original reader comment, but in a separate comment on my own.  I encourage you to comment on any post, so long as you keep to the topic.  Links and shameless self-promotion are also encouraged, so if you have a blog, hype it up here (as long as the Blog is not a sex maniac site or something…you get the drift).  If you’d like to have your Blog cross-referenced in the “Places I Frequent” section, please send me an e-mail and I’ll read through your blog for a few days and then (hopefully) post your blog reference to mine.  Also, please visit those site I frequent.  They are some great blogs and great sources of information.  My Comments Section has been and will remain unmoderated for the foreseeable future.

Please feel free to e-mail me at ark3blog@me.com if you wish to correspond directly, or make a comment “off-line”.  I will always reply to an e-mail.

I’m always amazed on how folks get referred to this place, outside of the usual suspects and word of mouth, of course.  This blog has been referred by many sources that I would never expected to be a source of referrals.  I’m also amazed at the search terms used by various search engines that refer folks here as well.  I actually had a reader translate one of my pages into Italian the other day!  (See, I DO look at my Blog Stats page!)  I’m enjoying myself immensely with “Intersections…”, and I hope you’re enjoying reading it.  It’s great to be able to get my opinion and voice out there in the hope that I can make someone think or nod their head in agreement, or perhaps get a chuckle or two in their day.  Maybe I’ve made you shed a tear or two, and rest assured that there are occasions when I write a piece that I get that same lump in the throat; the Yankee Stadium piece pretty much tore me up while writing it.

With any luck, you’ll see a new post in a few hours.  I’m trying to get one more in before tomorrow night’s debate between the VP Candidates; because I will probably have a short post-debate post and a more detailed analysis the following day…same as I did with the first debate.

Thanks for reading…and like I said a month ago in my initial post, I’ll try my best to make every word you read worth your time.

UPDATE: I’ll hold off on another post until tomorrow after the debates.  There’s just so much information coming in now, I don’t know where to start.  The Senate just passed the Bail Out…er…Rescue Package 75-25.  Yes, both Presidential Candidates voted FOR the Bill as did Senator Biden.

If I think of anything worthy of posting prior to the Debate, I will; otherwise expect a quick analysis from me about 11 PM EST (-5GMT) on 10/2/08.

Pre-Game Countdown

Just watching “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” before tonight’s first Presidential Debate.  I’m wearing my lucky NY Giants hat (the one I was wearing when they won the Super Bowl last year), and I’m psyched.

I’ll have thoughts about the event later on today.  Have a great debate everyone!