Monday, September 20, 2004

TOPIC: RATHER Interesting News From CBS
I can't believe what I saw and heard. It should have happened just this way, but I'm truly surprised that it happened at all. Dan Rather looked America in the eye and said, "I'm sorry". Dan Rather admitted his and CBS' huge error in accepting forged documents stating that President Bush (then Lt. Bush of the ANG) was a bad soldier who didn't obey orders.
What is even more incredible is that they found someone willing to publicly take the blame for the forgery. In my opinion, the way Dan Rather handled this situation should have cost him his job. However, I'm not his superior, so that was not my decision. Now, CBS and the Justice Department need to file charges against the forger and make sure he is prosecuted. Just saying "I'm sorry" is not enough -- but it is a good start. If CBS is really intent on seeing justice and truth served, they need to make sure the word is out via all their outlets. They also need to be front and center in the prosecution process. Forging government documents citing AWOL against a sitting President is a very serious matter.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

TOPIC: Hollywood Musicals
If you saw the recent releases of "Chicago" and "Moulin Rouge", you may think you've seen a true Hollywood musical. BUT, you would be mistaken. The era of the true musical is dead and gone -- never to be revived again. This is not to say that either of the movies mentioned is bad. It's just that they are not true Hollywood musicals. You see, modern Hollywood has proven that it must place a twist, spin or other "something" into every old idea. They think it makes movies better. They are wrong. The true Hollywood musical needs nothing a single wardrobe artist, cameraman or director can add -- especially their social agenda.
I was reminded of this while watching Turner Classic Movies this weekend. We watched "Anchor's Aweigh", "Singin' in the Rain" and "On the Town" -- the three movies that paired Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. My wife is a big Sinatra fan, from her childhood. I'm a Gene Kelly fan. Our children love the '50s era movies, so we were all thrilled to see these great Hollywood musicals.
What brought the two thoughts together -- modern Hollywood's failure to reproduce the true musical and the essence of the musical era in tinseltown -- was Sydney Pollack's comment regarding the status of "Singin' in the Rain". It is in the top 15 comedies of all time; the number one musical and an award winning production that is truly the epitomy of "classic movies". Try as they might, the jaded eyes of Hollywood can never again produce the innocense that once belonged to a whimsical musical.

Friday, September 17, 2004


A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up. -- Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher & physician

Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value. -- Albert Einstein

A truly successful man knows the value of playing ball with his son, and does it. -- Charlie

Success is not measured by how much you get, but how you give. -- Charlie

Thursday, September 16, 2004

QOTD: The person who makes a success of living is the one who see his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication. -- Cecil B. DeMille, Movie producer
TOPIC: Gender Bias In The Written Word
Have you seen all of the truly incorrect grammar in books and mags lately? The traditional and correct pronoun to use when one does not know the gender of the person referred to is the masculine. Yet, political correctness has told us to write books, magazine articles, short stories and even technological reports using feminine pronouns such as "she", "her" and "hers". Besides the fact that this is grammatically incorrect, it has come to show the definite bias against men.
The bias is most evident when someone writes about negatives -- especially in the case of crimes such as hacking, forgery or anything violent. The pronoun used then is ALWAYS masculine -- as if women never commit crimes. This bias can be found in almost any newspaper, magazine or technical journal. The "pretty stories" often use "she", "her" and the like. While anything written about an unidentifed hacker, forger, robber or murderer is written using "he", "him" and "his".
Remember, the purpose of the Sope-Bocks is to get YOU to THINK for yourself. This kind of bias is WRONG. If you're going to fall into the trap of political correctness, you should be unbiased towards men as well!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

QOTD: People who ask our advice almost never take it. Yet we should never refuse to give it, upon request, for it often helps us to see our own way more clearly. -- Brendan Francis

Sunday, September 12, 2004

TOPIC: 9/11 Memories...
I clearly remember that morning when thousands of people lost their lives on American soil. The morning started as normal -- take the kids to school, have some breakfast with the guys and head off to work. While driving to Myrtle Beach to do a job, my wife called and said something was going on -- a plane had hit the World Trade Center. She couldn't get to a TV or listen to the radio, so she asked if I would find the news and call her back with details. Switching to a talk radio station, I heard that a "small commuter plane" had hit one tower of the WTC. As I arrived at the Myrtle Beach destination, everyone was glued to NBC's Today show. News helicopters were circling the first tower and the commentators were discussing what might have happened. As I saw the smoke rolling from the tower, I knew that a small commuter plane was not the source of the damage. Something bigger had hit the tower -- with a lot of force.
Just then, something streaked across the screen and the second tower exploded in a mass of glass, smoke and white paper. My first reaction was that I had seen two events; a news helicopter flying by and an explosion in the tower (possibly caused by the first crash). Then it hit me (and the NBC commentators) -- another plane had gone into the second tower. As I stood there watching the now burning buildings, my heart hurt and my eyes flooded with tears.
You see, *I* was supposed to be in NYC that morning -- flying out from LaGuaradia at around 9:00am. At the last minute, plans had changed and I didn't need to go to New York. But, in my heart and mind, it still hurt. I would have been in NYC, or lifting off from LaGuardia just as the two planes plunged into the World Trade Center -- and terrorism struck America. The tears were flowing -- both for what could have been and what was actually happening. People were dead, dying and desperately trying to get out. Seeing them jump from the building's windows in a thoughtless attempt to get away from the smoke and flames made me sick to my stomach. I felt as though I was going to vomit.
I called my wife and told her to be prepared to leave work, get the children and rush home. I didn't know what to tell her, but I was sure this was no accident. Something big was happening and we needed to be prepared for anything. I remember that I told her to pray -- pray for the folks in the WTC and those all aroujnd it.
Just then, the company I worked for paged me and told me to be prepared to leave as the bank (where I was doing the job) was closing in a few minutes. The Federal Reserve thought this might be a terrorist attack -- and there could be more. As I wished everyone well and prayed for them, I left Myrtle Beach and headed towards home. My wife and I talked several times that morning as I told her the gruesome details of what I saw and heard.
For the remainder of the day, we watched TV, switching news channels, into the night. That chilling morning has never left my memory. Sometimes we look back on history and defining moments in history with nostalgia, fondness even a sense of wishing we could have been there. Like millions of others, I witnessed this horrific act of terrorism on US soil. But I don't think I'll ever look back on it with nostalgic fondness.
Praise God for the men and women who risked their lives to save others that day. Thank God the tragedy was not worse -- as tens of thousands could have died that day. Thanks God we have a President who didn't sit back and wait until it happened again. *I* remember 9/11... and I hope YOU do, too.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

TOPIC: Bush Document Forgery Is RATHER Obvious! [LONG]
The Tech Central Station article first caught my eye. As I left that page, with my mouth hanging open, I moved over to the Little Green Footballs blog to find out what all the fury was about. The next stop was TheCorner, a blog from the National Review Online. In between, I visited CBS News, the DrudgeReport, INDC Journal (offers a real expert's analysis) and a few other sites. The first statement that comes to mind is: Are you kidding me?!? This can't be happening in America!

In a country of netizens savvy to the ways of the press... in a country where so many people make their living by deceiving others... in a country where so much of the MSM is liberal (damn the truth)... this *IS* happening in America! What is happening?

Byron York wrote, in his piece, "On Wednesday, CBS News released four previously undisclosed documents which it said were written by Killian, who died in 1984. One of them, dated August 18, 1973, refers to Killian's reluctance to evaluate Bush's performance. Suggesting that top Texas Air National Guard officers were putting pressure on him to 'sugar coat' Bush's performance rating, Killian wrote, 'Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any feedback from 187th in Alabama. I will not rate.'
But as the first document suggests, months before, Killian — and Harris — had quite decisively declined to rate Bush's performance. If Killian was under pressure to 'sugar coat' Bush's performance, he had certainly not yielded to it. Nor had anyone else 'sugar coated' the Bush evaluation.
Marjorie Connell, Killian's widow, and Gary Killian, the Lt. Colonel's son, have both cast doubt on the authenticity of the documents.

But the first stone was apparently cast by Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs (LGF). Charles looked at the CBS documents and found something very interesting about them -- they looked the same typed in MS Word. Not close, not similar, but almost 100% identical. Yet the memo was reportedly typed 32 years ago -- on a typewriter. Even more interesting when you consider that there is virtually no way a Lt Col in the ANG would have had a first generation word processor in 1972. In fact, LGF's bloggers have noted many problems with the document as it relates to technology of the time and military protocol.

Here are several examples:
33, 50, 98, 128, 132, 145, 149, 152, 159, 160, 169, 178, 246 / 268 (aside from the idiotic use of 4-ltr words, good points here), 299, 315, 331, 389, 433, 439 and 444 are all good information. *IF* you decide not to read the entire 465+ comments, you can get the gist of the story reading just those posts. A couple of the most damaging posts are: 166 (along with associated link to, 431/452, 450 (which names Martin Heldt as a possible conspirator) FWIW, a couple of good rebuttal comments are: 99 and 462. The award for totalling missing the point (purposely??) goes to who turned the story around completely.

If you don't think this is big news take note: CNS, the AP, CNN, NBC, FOX and several other news agencies have all weighed in -- most on the liberal side.

NRO White House correspondent, Byron York, also reports: "Beyond that, surviving relatives of Bush's then commander, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, the author of the purported documents, insist they are fake. They say Killian always believed Bush was an excellent pilot and that he never wrote these documents. Killian died in 1984."

OTOH, CBS' Dan Rather says, "The story is true. The story is true... The questions raised in the story are serious and legitimate questions." Rather denies there is any internal CBS News investigation under way -- a statement backed by the network. Furthermore, "Rather also said the possibility of issuing any kind of recant or apology was 'not even discussed. Nor should it be.'" So much for journalistic integrity. Looks like pride is at the top of Dan Rather's list - Damn the truth.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

QOTD: It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. -- Albert Einstein, 'Treasury for the Free World' c. 1946

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

TOPIC: SEARS - Independent Dealers
If you *think* going to your local Sears store gets you the backing of a multi-national corporation bent on serving the customer, you had better think again. Many small town "Sears stores" are NOT Sears stores at all. They are basically franchises, owned and operated by small town yocals. I witnessed this first hand last week. As I was waiting for the untrained, know-nothing clerk in the Loris, SC Sears store to assist me with an exchange, a middle-aged man entered the store. He was visibly upset, but spoke calmly as he explained his situation to a manager.
It seems that he had purchased a brand new refridgerator from this store four days earlier. The fridge had died already -- and the man's entire stock of cold foods and frozen foods was spoiled. The manager told him there was little she could do about the situation, but happily offered to give him a service depot number to call. She also offered for him to bring the fridge back to the store for someone to check out.
I have to give credit to the man because he remained calm instead of smacking this moron into next week. Instead, he again calmly explained this his brand new, four day old fridge was dead and that he had lost all his cold food because of it. Furthermore, he reminded her that he had already paid this same store $40.00 to deliver a fridge he had bought from them. The franchise manager seemed to care less. Again, she told him all she could do was to call someone who might be able to provide service within 2-3 days.
All the while, I'm dealing with the know-nothing clerk who can't even take two items back and exchange them for one item of the same value. She had to interrupt the manager four times before she could handle the return and new purchase. I apologized to the man whose Sears fridge had died. He smiled and nodded. As I left the store shaking my head, I heard him start to explain again...
A *real* Sears store manager would have handled the situation. These yocal franchisees could care less about service. They just want the sales. I think I'll drive the extra miles the next time I want something from Sears. I hate to bypass the local business, but a lack of professionalism and service is inexcusable -- from any company. Buyer beware! Ask before you make a purchase -- Is this a Sears franchise or the real deal?

Monday, September 06, 2004

TOPIC: The Labor Day Weekend
My family just returned from our Labor Day weekend trip to Camden/Keshaw, SC. We decided to attend the Historic Sportscar Racing, Ltd's event at the Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC. What a weekend! Other than a terrible time with Best Western Camden West (which I'll post about later), the weekend was exceptional. The CMP staff was GREAT! The drivers and car owners were FRIENDLY. The cars were AWESOME!
I have been a fan of Porsche and other exotic makes for more than 30 years -- yes, since I was a small child. However, I have never personally attended any race that involved these cars. This weekend was a dream come true for me. I have the privilege of seeing, touching and enjoying more than two dozen Porsche 911's, 930's, RSRs, 914's and others -- not to mention Triumphs, Mazdas, Jaguars, classic Mustangs and vintage Corvettes. Along with vintage and production cars were retired Indy cars and GTP racers. Mixed in with all of those was a Lotus, a Panoz, and a Genova. And that was just the race cars!
Fellow enthusiasts attended the event driving classic Austin Healeys, Porsches and Maseratis. The one make I was hoping to see, but didn't, was Ferrari. Small disappoinment; easily forgotten. Needless to say, I was drooling most of the weekend.
Folks, if you get a chance to attend an HSR event, especially if they are offering the Rolex Endurance Series races, GO SEE IT! You won't be disappointed. This is IMSA style racing at its best!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

I am convinced, beyond all doubt, that pride is the worst of ALL personality traits. It is at the heart of greed, envy and jealousy -- not to mention a good portion of crime and other malice. It is what motivates hackers to hack, murderers to kill and thieves to steal. It is a source of depression, suicide and all sorts of addictions. Pride is the root of so many problems in society. It is rarely the source of any good thing.
One unfortunate aspect of pride is that we're constantly bombarded with advertising messages that convince us to be prideful -- of our car, our home, our clothes, our jewelry and even our debt (in the form of prestigious credit cards). Ads from automobiles (Mercedes Benz comes to mind) to whiskey (the current "Captian Morgan" campaign) all promote P-R-I-D-E.
Pride is not a problem that is current only to our culture. It has been a plague of many cultures over countless centuries. Democritus, a Greek philosopher from 400 years before Christ, wrote: "The pride of youth is in strength and beauty, the pride of old age is in discretion." And 19th century Lebanese artist & poet, Kahlil Gibran, offered excellent wisdom on the subject of pride, "Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." Even dale Carnegie offers us something to think about when it comes to pride and personalities: "When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity."
What a shame! If we were all a little more humble and not so self-serving, the world would be a better place to live.

Friday, September 03, 2004

QOTD Props: As you know, I've been in a "Quote of the Day" mood lately -- with a dozen or more QOTDs posted on the Sope-Bocks. Props go out to "The Quotations Page" for their awesome website offering hundreds of good quotes. Check out the site and as always, I encourage you to READ and THINK FOR YOURSELF. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

TOPIC: The Republican National Convention
OK, you all know I'm a conservative. I am NOT a Republican, but my ideology lends itself much better to the Republican party - as opposed to the Demabortionmindedgaylovingfemihims from the other party. So, I'm going to admit - right from the beginning - that this commentary is a bit biased. I know, understatement of the year, right. Well, because it's my soapbox! Anyway...
Democrat Zell Miller of Georgia was the keynote speaker of last night rounds of cheering and jeering at the Garden. In my opinion, he hit the nail on the head -- John Kerry has voted against every major defensive weapon and technology. He protested a war - after he fought in it. He's protesting another war - after he voted for it, then against it, then said he could win it, but promises to be "sensitive" to others while fighting. What, Mr. Kerry would we have fought with if the country had followed you? Zell Miller suggested spitballs. Those of you who are Democrats should be ashamed, embarrassed and angry that your leaders stuck you with such a loser.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

TOPIC: Headline: President Bush Says "We Can't Win The Way On Terror!"
Did you hear Matt Lauer's interview with President Bush? Remember just a few weeks ago when I told you about the liberal slant of Today, Lauer and Couric? Well, Lauer and the rest of the liberal media extrapolated something from Mr. Bush's answer to a question on winning the war on terrorism -- something the President didn't didn't say. Lauer and the other talking heads then proceeded to broadcast their ignorance all over the country. Even ambulance-chaser John Edwards took his own cheap shot on the matter.
Since many folks didn't hear the exchange for themselves, let me give you the paraphrased version. Lauer asked the President if we could win the war on terrorism. The President said he didn't think it is a war that can be won (in the traditional sense of winning wars). He went on to talk about what we were doing to beat back terrorism, keep our country safe and promote a democratic world. Lauer and others twisted Mr. Bush's words to report that the President said we cannot win the war on terrorism.
Folks, it is VERY clear what the President meant. The war, as any 8th grader knows, is not a "war" in the traditional sense -- with geography, a certain number of countries and formal militias involved. The war on terrorism is being fought against ideas, individual maniacs and radical extremists groups. It is not a war where geography matters, where a government is solely at odds or where a formal structure of military exists. These are givens -- and the nightly news anchors know this. Yet, they decided to blast the President as being weak and not even believing in his own policies.
Sorry libs -- look in the mirror or across the aisle. This side is NOT two-faced, afraid or backing down from our convictions. We know the truth and the truth will set many men free.