Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Body Found in Vermont Creek Believed to Be Nicholas Garza

Article from
A body believed to be that of missing collegian Nicholas Garza was pulled from the Otter Creek on Tuesday, police said. The badly-decomposed body of an unidentified male was found among sunken timber in a floating debris pile below a waterfall as authorities prepared to mount another search this weekend. Searchers were taking temperature readings in the river and performing depth soundings when the remains were found, according to Police Chief Tom Hanley. Click to view photos. "They do appear to be the remains of Nicholas Garza, but identification will be made at an autopsy tomorrow," said Hanley. A wallet found on the body belonged to Garza, police said. "It was Nick," said his mother, Natalie Garza, who was there when the body was removed. She later issued the following statment: "Nicholas had a wit that was quick smart and sure, but moreover, humble. He cherished his family, especially his younger brother Damon. He was a serious young man; his integrity and perception of life were beyond his short years. Grace to him was given from birth, as was his love of literature, music, and philosophy. We will miss his thick black hair and easy laughter. Nothing in life has prepared us for such a loss. We hope to honor him in the simple and pure way that he lived his life. He was adored, deeply loved, and those who knew him were blessed with an extraordinary man. Thank you to the thousands of letters, e-mails, and prayers." Click here to view the family's Web site. Garza, 19, of Albuquerque, N.M., a freshman at Middlebury College, vanished Feb. 5 after leaving Stewart Hall dormitory during a winter break in classes, headed for his dormitory. He was reported missing five days later. More than a half-dozen searches since then by Vermont State Police, search-and-rescue teams from around the region and volunteers organized by his mother turned up nothing. His wallet and cell phone have never been found, even though police found a winter jacket and laptop computer in his dormitory room. Some here believed the melting of snow at winter's end would yield clues or a body, but it didn't, nor did several searches of Otter Creek, including one last month after aerial imaging showed an unidentified object in the water.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pregnancy Resource Group Asks High Court to Encourage Doctors to be Honest with Patients Considering Abortion

Article from
Heartbeat International joins a "friend of the court" brief in support of Rosa Acuna's petition. On Friday, Acuna's attorney Harold Cassidy filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the egregious New Jersey Supreme Court decision in the case of Rosa Acuna v. Sheldon C. Turkish, MD. "As an association dedicated to helping women, we call on the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the New Jersey Court's precedent and to require abortionists to provide medically accurate details about the gestational development of a human baby," said Heartbeat International President Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D.

"The facts are a baby's heart begins beating at 21 days and brain waves can be measured at six weeks. Women deserve the truth." With Acuna v. Turkish, the New Jersey High Court set the legal precedent that a doctor can legally deceive a woman considering abortion. The ruling held that a doctor who performs an abortion has no responsibility to present precise biological information to a woman about her unborn child or the abortion procedure risks."When a woman comes into a Heartbeat center seeking abortion information, she wants to know what is happening with and in her body. We tell her about abortion procedures and show her fetal models or pictures of fetal development," said Hartshorn. "A doctor should have the responsibility of explaining human development to his patient. She has a right to be fully informed before she submits to an abortion procedure. The woman's health risks increase without this information."

Turkish told Rosa Acuna that she should not "be stupid" because the only thing being removed was "just blood." Turkish testified that he routinely tells women it is "just some tissue." By any standard these statements are false and misleading. Heartbeat International and its affiliates advocate for the safe reproductive health and well-being of women. Abortion is not a medical "treatment" that can improve a woman's health. Women seen in Heartbeat's pregnancy centers testify daily to the painful physical and emotional effects of abortion.

Heartbeat International, founded in 1971, is an interdenominational Christian association of nearly 1,100 pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, non-profit adoption agencies, and medical clinics in 48 states and 42 countries. Heartbeat provides (800-395-HELP), a joint venture with Care Net, to connect callers with a local pregnancy center for the help they need. Each month our national call center responds to approximately 20,000 contacts.

Friday, May 23, 2008

What Exactly is the Religion of President Bush?

What Exactly is the Religion of Bush Who has Proclaimed Hindu Holiday Dwali, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Year of the Goat, Year of the Rat; Referred to 'An Almighty' and Said Christians/Muslims Worship Same God
Article from
Recovering Republican John Lofton, Editor of web site and co-host of "The American View" radio show has issued the following statement:
"What, exactly, is the religion of President George W. Bush? He says he is a Christian. And numerous so-called conservative Christian leaders and organizations have said Mr. Bush is a Christian. But, is he a Christian? Is there a way to tell if a person is a Christian? Of course. None other than our Lord Himself says that we are known by our fruits, our actions (Matthew 7:15ff).
Some of Mr. Bush's "fruits" as President include these:
  • Mr. Bush has contradicted God's Word by saying, repeatedly, and approvingly, that people of different faiths "are free to worship as they choose" or not worship. God, however, says, in the First Commandment that He - the God of the Bible -- is the only true God there is and He must be worshipped the way He says He is to be worshipped: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
  • Mr. Bush has also said, repeatedly, that the strength of our Nation is in its diversity of religions. But, God says in His Word that it is only the nation that has Him as its God, and only Him, that is blessed (Psalm 33:12).
  • Mr. Bush, in this year's "National Day Of Prayer," referred, strangely, to "an Almighty" when he expressed his hope that someday there might be an "International Day Of Prayer."
  • Mr. Bush has honored by various proclamations: The Hindu holiday of Dwali which features prominently the "Goddess Lakshimi" and "Lord Ganesha;" Ramadan; Kwanzaa; The Year Of The Goat; and The Year Of The Rat (coincidentally an election year, this year.)
For an in-depth, respectful and well-researched discussion of this important topic (rulers can bless/curse a nation), please visit web site and listen to "The American View" radio show number 155. Editor Lofton also discusses this topic with radio talk show Jan Mickelson of WHO radio in Des Moines, Iowa.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My PayPal Horror Story

It's time to tell everyone how we have been treated by PayPal. I posted, briefly, on the topic back in 2005. Since the following true story has now been posted on a public website, I am also offering it here -- in hopes other people will comment and/or go to these forums. Here's my PayPal horror story (edited slightly from the post on

Over the past three years, I've read various posts on this website, but never joined in order to tell my own story. I guess I always hoped that PayPal would one day email me to say it was all a huge mistake -- and that they were setting the account straight, refunding my money, refunding money to my former customers and maybe even adding a little interest payment to the mix. Unfortunately, that has not happened.

I got tired of telling this story to people within a few months of when it occurred... but now it's time to tell the world. PayPal took me for more than $4,250.00. To be blunt, PAYPAL STOLE MY MONEY. Over the past three years, I have complained to everyone who would listen -- and many who obviously didn't care to hear the story. NO ONE has done anything -- and my finances have suffered significantly because of the problems caused by PayPal (and eBay).

I'll try to make the story as short as possible... but you need some reposition, so as to add credibility to what I am saying. BTW, I am NOT hiding behind a pseudonym or changing things around in any way. My PayPal ID was CharlieJ. My eBay account was CharlieJ. I am Charlie Jarman, the owner of those two accounts -- and this is my story. Any errors herein are due solely to my crappy memory and are NOT meant to change the facts of what happened to me.

I joined eBay when it was still called AuctionWeb -- back in April, 1997. Over the next few years, I bought and sold many items on eBay. Eventually, I started taking PayPal as the primary means of payment for items I was selling. PayPal also became the primary means for selling on my website (formerly and through wristwatch forums around the Net. My business: Watchbands, wristwatches and a book I wrote on Rolex (the company & their products) entitled The ROLEX Reference Guide.

By 2004, I had accrued somewhere around 3,500 transactions with PayPal (includes buying and selling). I have sold everything from $10 watchbands to a $10,000 Rolex President via eBay -- with many paid via PayPal. I was a Silver PowerSeller with 99% positive feedback when this horror story all started. PayPal Verified and all that jazz, too.

On July 1, 2002, I severely injured my back. To make a longer story shorter, I'll just say that the back injury caused me much pain, insomnia and discomfort (still does). As such, I was late shipping some items to customers. That is a sentence, BUT it is not just a few letters in the story. It is my admission of fault. Yes, I screwed up by not taking care of several customer orders in a timely manner. Not an excuse, but my idiotic reasoning was that my wife and children could help me pack and ship. In any event, I was late and didn't ship some orders as promised. BTW, we're not talking about hundreds of orders -- maybe 30-35, at most. If you want to check for yourself, look at the eBay feedback page that is still in my name - CharlieJ. My feedback was down to 98.x% positive, but you can see that the problem with late orders was pretty sudden. [Keep in mind that I have not had access to the eBay "About Me" page since 2005. What I am telling you is factual.]

Anyway, I refunded a few customer payments, shipped some watchbands for free and gave some folks extra items in order to make up for the slow shipping. A few people filed PayPal complaints -- all of which were resolved within 48 hours. The straw that apparently broke the camel's back was a $600 watch I sold to a guy in France. He paid on a Monday and filed a PayPal complaint for non-receipt on Friday. There was NO WAY for the package to get to him in France in just four days. I explained to PayPal and to the customer -- along with providing the shipping confirmation info. Nonetheless, my account went to LIMITED ACCOUNT status. At the time, I had around $2000.00 in my account. I never received the $600.00 for the watch -- and never have been given access to MY ~$2000.00.

I tried to convince customers who had orders pending that I didn't have their money (it was in the limited account). Therefore, I couldn't ship merchandise. As you can imagine, that didn't go over well. Some of them were not able to get their money back from PayPal because the email wrangling with PayPal had gone over the 30 day limit for refunds. So, the customers were out and I was out. And who had the money "in limbo"? PAYPAL.

After several months of emails, calls and faxes to PayPal, I pretty much gave up on ever seeing my money again. In the meantime, I had a few thousand dollars (at cost) worth of watchbands and books sitting around with no way to sell them. My reputation on the watch forums was shot. My eBay account was suspended the same day my PayPal account was "limited". I don't cuss, but boy if I did...

A couple more months went by... and then I got a bright idea. I gave my wife all of the inventory I had. She created a PayPal account, and an eBay account. She started selling the remaining inventory of watchbands. It didn't take long for PayPal to limit her account (claiming "suspicious activity") -- get this, with the promise of opening it back up *IF* she would verify her information for them within a day or so. [I still have the email/letter somewhere.]

She sent faxes, verified everything, copied her drivers license, and on and on. IMPORTANT: She even sent USPS confirmation receipts to PayPal showing that EVERY item in question had been shipped and received by the customer. PayPal kept ~$1250.00 from her account -- in the LIMITED ACCOUNT status. So, we were now out:

$2000.00 = my PayPal acct
$1250.00 = her PayPal acct
$ 600.00 = the last watch sold
$ 350.00 = cost of watchbands delivered, but pymt not rec'd
$ 50.00 = postage, LD phone calls, faxes, etc.
$4250.00 (approx) TOTAL
Of course, there are more losses in this ordeal, but those are the ones I can validate easily.
To date, my wife and I have filed complaints with:
  • FTC
  • BBB - Nebraska
  • BBB - California
  • Attorney General - California
  • Attorney General - North Carolina
  • Attorney General - Nebraska
  • and even tried to get the FBI involved as PayPal's embezzlement crossed state lines
NONE of the aforementioned agencies have done much of anything. One told us we would have to provide certified letter receipts for every bit of correspondence, ad nauseum. A couple told us our complaints were not within their jurisdiction. And a couple never even responded.

So, here I sit -- NO side business to supplement my income; A bad reputation that could have been fixed, but is pretty much irreparable now; ~$2600.00 gone from my account; ~$1600.00 gone from my wife's account; NO way to buy/sell on eBay; NO way to sell the inventory still sitting in my home.

Most people you talk to won't believe that PayPal steals money. I am living, breathing, proof. Most of the information I have shared here can be backed up with paperwork, letters, faxes and research online.

I would be happy to settle with PayPal -- for $4250.00 they owe me and my wife + interest on that money + the "limited account" status being abolished on ALL PayPal accounts + a change in their policies that would allow sellers to dispute and be provided some sort of hearing on the matter.

For those who still don't believe PayPal is ripping buyers and sellers off, check out these sites: (where I posted my horror story)
I'm sure there are others!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Gay Marriage - Why Is It A Bad Idea?

Anonymous wrote a comment regarding my post from yesterday. Here is his comment, along with my reply... and more on some of the reasons why allowing gay/lesbian couples to marry is a bad idea:

anonymous wrote:
"the sky is not falling. tax paying adults should be able to marry same sex partners. honestly, im not comfortable with it either, but its just, and fair.
'pain, promiscuity, and death', due to same sex marraige? do you really believe this? the status quo has already brought p, p & d to california, and to our American society in general.
im gay, but no immersed in the culture. i will agree most gays i know are promiscuous, and mentally ill, and live exclusively in gaydom. those arent the ones interested in marraige. there are many gays who DO want that, and are capable of being "normal", loving people, adjusted to mainstream society."
The sky is not falling, BUT there will be consequences that may make it seem as though the sky is falling in future generations.

Yes, I really believe that pain, promiscuity and death will continue to be a result of homosexual unions. You said it yourself, "most gays you know are promiscuous..." That kind of sexual immorality leads to pain for the perpetrator and their victims. As we all know, AIDS is primarily a gay disease. It causes THOUSANDS of deaths around the world each year. Not only do I believe it -- but the facts show those words to be 100% true.

If people who choose homosexuality want unions, let them have their own ceremonies and unions amongst their lifestyle partners. Giving a chosen (and destructive) behavior legal standing across the realm of society is just plain wrong. It's a bad idea from ALL angles.

Setting aside religious values for a moment... Think about the problems that can and will come from gay marriage. Divorce, which is rampant among married couples, will exponentially increase in the gay population. It's a proven fact that most "gay couples" don't last more than a few months to around two years. Then, there's the issue of divorce settlements, etc. that will inevitably tie up an already overburdened judicial system. Case precedence and legal wrangling will lengthen any meaningful decisions within the realm of these relationships.

Next, think about spousal benefits. What a can of worms to be opened there!?! Then, there's insurance. Allowing homosexual partners benefits on insurance policies will most certainly be the straw that breaks the healthcare system and insurance reimbursement cycle's back. It's a proven fact that those who choose homosexual lifestyles are more susceptible to disease. When both partners are highly likely to have or contract an STD, HIV or AIDS, healthcare costs will effectively skyrocket -- which will drive up premiums. And one result will be more people who are uninsured or under-insured -- include those who chose homosexual unions.

The worst problem, IMO, will be the toll on America's children. Gay couples will most certainly demand adoption rights. Since any thinking person will have to admit that even children know in their hearts that homosexuality is not normal or natural, there will be many confused, frustrated and mal-adjusted children in our culture. Then, when their two dads get divorced, the court enters the picture again. Custody, visitation rights, and on and on it goes. Society wasn't built the way it has been built in order to hold people down -- but to help everyone live together in some sort of harmony. Adding a promiscuous, predatory lifestyle choice to normal society (and call it acceptable) will surely harm everyone in the end -- but mostly the children who will be victims from several angles.

Lastly, children will most assuredly become victimized by the predatory nature of homosexuality. It's a proven fact that many men who now live the gay lifestyle were sexually abused by another man when they were a child. Placing children, especially young boys, into a home with two homosexual men is just plain dangerous. The result will be more sexual predators, more pedophiles -- and more pain, promiscuity and death.

Do the research for yourself. The extreme end of the homosexual agenda wants sex with children legalized. Keywords for your interest: NAMBLA, Human Rights Campaign, man boy love. The truth is out there.

Sincerely, I challenge you to think ALL of this through. I am not the most eloquent writer in the world. Yet, the points made here are compelling, you must admit. If you refuse to think this through, you are denying the very real possibility of America's future.

Homosexuality is a choice some people make. God gave us all free will to make choices. Although the Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin, it is like all other sin -- a choice. If people choose it, they will live with the consequences. I respect their choice and love the people while abhorring their sin. BUT... BUT... American society should NOT have to endure the results of allowing such a choice to become a mainstream part of our culture. It's an extremely bad idea that will have a high cost -- not only in terms of money, but in terms of human losses.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

California Court Affirms Gay Marriage

It is a dark day in American history. The California Supreme Court ruled earlier today that homosexual couples have a constitutional right to marry. “In view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship,” Chief Justice Ronald M. George (that name will go down in infamy) wrote of marriage for the majority, “the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.For the record, there is NO constitutional right to marriage -- no matter who or what is being "married".

The court’s 4-to-3 decision struck down California state laws that had limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman. It should be noted that the Author of marriage deemed it to be defined as one man and one woman -- NOT Barry and Larry or Joan and Sloane. The true definition of marriage requires the term to mean the union of one man and one woman -- no matter what the California Supreme Court says.

California already has a strong domestic partnership law that gives gay and lesbian couples nearly all of the benefits and burdens of heterosexual marriage. The slim majority said that is not enough.

"Given the historic, cultural, symbolic and constitutional significance of the concept of marriage," Chief Justice George wrote, "the state cannot limit marriage to opposite-sex couples." What a liberal moron! Historically, marriage has meant a man and a woman joining each other in holy matrimony. Symbolically, there has NEVER been anything other than one man and one woman symbolizing marriage. Constitutionally, there is no concept of marriage, other than that given by the Judeo-Christian values of the forefathers of the United States -- and they would NEVER have allowed such an unholy union to be called marriage.

Yet, Justice George and his ilk thought it their place to redefine marriage and guarantee the decadence of homosexuality a proper place in Californian society -- even after the citizens of California had voted AGAINST gay and lesbian unions being defined as "marriage". California’s ban on same-sex marriage was based on a law enacted by the Legislature in 1977 and a statewide initiative approved by the voters in 2000, both defining marriage as limited to unions between a man and a woman.

Conservative groups have proposed an initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. If it is allowed onto the ballot in November and approved by the voters, today’s decision would be overridden. The groups have gathered more than a million signatures on initiative petitions and submitted them to the state. Lord, I hope the citizens win. Otherwise, California is going to see much more pain, promiscuity, death and suffering as a sure result of the California Supreme Court's ruling on this day.

A dissenting opinion by Judge Marvin Baxter and joined by Judge Ming Chin said a narrow majority of the court had carved a constitutional right out of existing equal-protection laws, overstepping legislative powers in what amounted to "legal jujitsu." A third justice dissented on different grounds. "It simply does not have the right to erase, then recast, the age-old definition of marriage, as virtually all societies have understood it, in order to satisfy its own contemporary notions of equality and justice," Baxter wrote.

... a bare majority of this court,” Justice Baxter also wrote, “not satisfied with the pace of democratic change, now abruptly forestalls that process and substitutes, by judicial fiat, its own social policy views for those expressed by the people themselves.

Yes, it is a dark day in American history. One we all will regret if the tide of the homosexual agenda is not interrupted. Remember, the ultimate agenda is sex with children, animals, the dead, furniture -- ANYTHING to satisfy perverted desires. May I remind you that means (on the extreme side) torture, mutilation, rape and even necrophilia. The slippery slope started in Massachusetts. The avalanche may have begun today.

If you think these comments are "off the deep end", do some research for yourself. The answer is out there -- and many (including health professional) have been warning us for years.

Excerpts from The New York Times

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Joshua Szostak's Family Meeting With 'Smiley-Face Killer' Detectives

News of the possible lead in the Nicholas Garza case hits a familiar chord with Joshua Szostak's family. It's preparing to meet the two detectives spear-heading the 'smiley face killer' investigation this week in Albany. The two ex-NYPD detectives believe the former Plattsburgh State student's death connects to the other deaths around the country.

Bill Szostak told Fox44 News he's spoken on the phone with the detectives, Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte, several times. Unbeknowing to Szostak, the investigators were already in Albany investigating his son's death two weekends ago, when he was buried. "I'm not saying I'm 100% positive at this point that my son is one of the smiley face victims," Szostak said, "but having two highly decorated detectives from New York City, maybe they'll be able to uncover some clues as to what brought about my son's death."

Read the rest of this story here.

Another Possible 'Smiley Face Gang' Link Emerges

Photo from FOX44
Enhanced graffiti photo from The Sope-Bocks

New details have emerged in the search for missing 19-year-old Middlebury College freshman Nicholas Garza that could link him to the so-called "Smiley Face Gang," which a group of retired detectives believes is responsible for the apparent drowning deaths of dozens of young men across the country.

Searchers have found smiley-face graffiti near Garza's campus like that painted near some of the locations where about 40 bodies have been discovered across 11 states, FOX 44 News reported. Garza’s mother thinks that discovery could link her son's disappearance to the deaths of the other mostly college-age victims. Volunteer searchers have come forward with pictures of the smiley face, found on a utility shed door a short distance from downtown Middlebury, Vt.

The photos were taken a week-and-a-half ago, when the group was scouring a river bank for clues. When the volunteers saw New York detectives describing the alleged gang of serial killers on national TV and saw pictures of the graffiti discovered in some of the other cases, they realized the striking similarity to the drawings they had photographed, FOX 44 reported. The graffiti on the shed was almost identical to that painted near some of the spots where the young men's bodies have been found, typically in rivers. "When you're walking around, you notice there's graffiti but you're not paying attention to what's out there," Nicholas' mother, Natalie Garza, told FOX 44. (enhanced photo at right)

Garza was last seen walking out of a dormitory February 5. When friends couldn't find him the next day, they notified campus security, but his mother didn't file a missing persons report until five days later because friends thought Garza might have left campus to go to a cabin that was out of cell-phone range. Middlebury police believe the graffiti is more than two years old and are not following up on leads related to the alleged gang. Officers have been searching the water for Garza after an airplane captured a picture of what appeared to be a body several weeks ago. "Nick didn't walk off this campus and he was in his right frame of mind, and I believe somebody knows what happened to my son that night," Natalie Garza told FOX 44. Searches of the 350-acre campus have yielded no clues as to what happened to the student. The last large-scale hunt ended February 23, though there have been spot searches since then. All 109 buildings on campus have been combed through twice, as have their rooftops. (original photo above)

I can already read the words CLASS and DDICE in the graffiti. BTW, the smiley face is not readily apparent in this photo.

If you recognize any of the graffiti, please drop me a note in the Comments section.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sportsmanship, Life and Gaming

Although this article was written a year or so ago, it is one of the best I've seen regarding sportsmanship in online gaming. Read it and think it over. Titan (his nickname) offers some excellent logic, along with a healthy dose of common sense when it comes to sportsmanship in gaming.
Sportsmanship, Life and Gaming by Titan
Sportsmanship, is the ability to enjoy ones self while in a competitive environment, and at the same time, the ability to fairly follow rules while showing great character towards your teammates and competitors alike. Often, competition can sometimes foster a "win only" mentality in a lot of athletes, gamers or any venue where people can be found at odds with one another. The victory "must" be achieved at any cost. This usually is better suited to the more dire of situations, such as war, or the fight against anything that could harm our ability to sustain our quality of life. In recreational situations, however, this often followed tenet can lead to disharmony amongst that particular activities inhabitants.

Firstly, I will use our currently shared hobby as example. In Counterstrike, we vie for ultimate victory, whether it be conquering the final knife round, planting or defusing a bomb, or reaching a certain frag limit. Due to the highly competitive nature of this hobby, along with our sometimes "fragile" egos as human beings, conflicts can often arise. This type of behavior is not limited to a certain age group either. I personally have seen poor sportsmanship from a range of ages between 5-75, INCLUDING myself at times. As we get older however, some of us realize that winning at everything is not always going to be possible. Rather, we take our experiences in losing, as a learning experience. We use these experiences to improve in certain areas. Almost everyone who has shown themselves to be a winner, has had to endure a long streak of losing initially. Rarely do we see a person who excels completely, without some type of long hours invested, or hardship in some form, in their chosen area of recreation.

Let me take a moment of your time to give a personal example. Upon purchasing CounterStrike Source in December of 2005, I knew that I was going to have my tail waxed all over each and every server. I did some research to find the most competitive server I could to play on, right from the start. I found a deathmatch server ran by a clan called Verge (who were ranked very high in the US in some ladders), near the start of my playing days. I then spent the next few months getting reamed night in and night out. Instead of insulting the players, I congratulated them on a nice shot, good strategy, etc. I asked questions concerning how their sterling aim came to be, what practices they used, what mindsets they prepared, for any given situation in game. Instead of being annoyed that I was losing badly, I used that losing to my advantage.

Now, some year and a half later, I feel I have a pretty good shot. Moreso, I learned to analyze the gaming styles of players, to be used to my advantage. Often, I know where certain players will be crouched/waiting, I know routes they will use, I know guns they will use, and methods of theirs, before THEY even know they are going to use them. In the event that I should "die" during a round, I first analyze what I have done wrong or differently, rather then what they did to kill me. Good sportsmanship evolves when we learn to accept our own mistakes, rather than placing blame on others, where applicable. I often (often being the key word, as I falter sometimes also, I'm human) say "good game" to any player that has bested me, as often, they have earned it, no?

I am smart enough to realize this one important facet of internet gaming: As good as I may be at a given point, there will ALWAYS be plenty who are better. Do I do pretty well on the Spawnpoint servers that I play on? Sure. I will tell you one thing however ... Plenty of you guys have a better shot then me. It goes without saying. If I excel, it is because I try to find another way to win, whether it be using your style against you, listening for sounds, or using subterfuge. If I know I cannot out shoots a particular opponent, I will force him into a situation where I have the upper hand, if possible. I will not face him in open ground, and then complain after he explodes one of my eyeballs. Strategy is part of the game, use it to your advantage. If someone outwits me, though I cannot be seen behind my monitor, I usually am laughing in admiration, whilst calling that gamer a sneaky SOB, in jest of course. I then use that experience to LEARN, and possibly add that maneuver to my repertoire.

Respect is often given, where it is earned. I would much rather be respected for having an average skilled gaming style, but great sportsmanship and humility, than be lauded as a childish, "sour grapes" type of gamer. I have had the pleasure of dealing with some great gamers on Spawnpoint, personality wise. I have also had the displeasure of dealing with some really shoddy attitudes, when the game wasn't going their way at the current moment.

Being the best shouldn't always the ultimate goal, in any walk of life.
Should it occur that you can be the best in certain areas, through hard work, fairness, and with respect towards others, then great, the world is yours. Your peers would judge you more harshly for winning badly, than losing gracefully. Some of the most liked and popular people, I have noticed in my years of gaming, are those who traverse their virtual worlds with a smile, or a kind word for others. Those who maniacally chase fame and fortune, with disregard for others, often experience the complete opposite of what it is they seek in the first place.

Sportsmanship and mutual respect go hand in hand. Learn both, and your enjoyment in your chosen hobby will increase hundredfold. Give it a shot. It doesn't make you less of a man or woman to offer a kind word for the next person, should they best you. As well, should you be the victor, learn to accept a compliment with grace, and return one back for the effort given by your competitor.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Teens Request Abstinence Programs

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recently held a hearing titled, "Domestic Abstinence-Only Programs: Assessing the Evidence." While the hearing was stacked against abstinence education funding, two experts testified as to the effectiveness of such programs. Federal funding for these programs is in jeopardy. Chairman Henry Waxman (Dem-California) advocates for comprehensive sex education, which has no evidence of reducing teen sexual activity.
A press conference was held yesterday at the National Press Club to release evidence from recent studies that prove over 50 percent of teens will refrain from sexual initiation if taught abstinence. And teens are requesting the programs.
Concerned Women for America (CWA) is providing, to congressmen, letters from students who want abstinence to be taught. In a letter written to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California), Jordan wrote,
"Most teens who stay abstinent will be more emotionally stable, will not contract STDs, and will not get pregnant. This would not only benefit many individuals, but society as a whole. This is because the upcoming generation would be happier and healthier."
Lauren believes that even though there are "teens and other individuals who want to do whatever they see fit, most teens want to receive a strong message about abstinence. They want to know that they can say 'no' and that they don't have to give in to peer pressure. By informing students and teenagers of abstinence, you are allowing them to choose a better future and avoid all the emotional and physical heartache and risks of having casual sex."

CWA, along with teens across the nation, encourages members of Congress to continue to fund programs that not only provide proven results, but keep our children safe. Concerned Women for America is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Smiley Face Murders - Backlash from Pundits

Over the past few days, I find that several pundits are boldly proclaiming the theory that there is not a serial killer or gang of murderers on the loose in America's Midwest. These nay-sayers range from the layman to professional law enforcement officers. Some have vested interest in what side of the matter they call true. Their assertion -- the similarities in the deaths of 40+ young men is nothing more than a coincidence.

Being a layman, amateur sleuth, or whatever you want to call me takes the pressure off my career ego should I be wrong in the assertion that there is a Smiley Face Murder Club or a single serial killer murdering young men. If I end up being wrong, then that could be a good thing -- in terms of more lose of life and peace for many young men across the country.

Truthfully, my research and investigation is not even near complete. The vast mountain of data is overwhelming -- especially for someone who has to search dozens of resources in order to glean just a few bits of new data. I am not privy to police nor Nationwide Investigations internal documentation on the cases being examined. Yet, it took me only an hour or so of reading to see what I believe is a clear picture of serial killings.

Yes, I do believe in coincidence -- on a large and sometimes profound scale. I'm prepared to say many things could be a coincidence. For purposes of my lay investigation, I'll even concede that the smiley faces found at 12 sites *could* be NOTHING more than coincidence -- graffiti from locals. However, the order of magnitude of coincidence that would be demanded from documented similarities in the deaths of 40 or more young men is an idea I am not prepared to accept.

Without going into the information deeper than most have read in newspapers, blogs, etc., allow me provide the reader with data that individually could easily be written off as coincidence -- BUT, as a whole, is extremely hard to ignore.

1) ALL 40+ are male
2) ALL 40+ between the ages of 17 and 28
3) Vast majority are Caucasian
4) Almost all of the 40+ were college students
5) Almost all had been drinking
6) ALL of the 40+ dead were out on the town, for a social occasion
7) Almost all left friends/family and ventured out alone
8) Almost all went missing during the months when college classes were in session
9) ALL of the 40+ went missing during the late night hours
10) ALL, who have been found, were found in or very near bodies of water
11) None, who have been found, had major trauma to their bodies (GSWs, cuts, abrasions, bruises)
12) None were robbed of anything obvious
13) Most of the autopsy reports show cause of death as "drowning"
14) None showed evidence of struggle, which should be apparent, in a "normal" drowning accident

I'm sure there are more things that could be listed. I'm also sure that some pundits will take issue with the "almost all..." items. Fine... but let's not ignore the overall picture. If I were to write these facts out in a paragraph, it would make a compelling argument AGAINST coincidence and FOR the idea that the deaths of these young people are related. Let's see how such an argument might look -- complete with a few admitted generalizations:
Between 1997 and 2008, forty or more young, white, male college students have died (or gone missing) during the college calendar year. These young men had gone out for a social event -- most to party with friends. They left friends and/or family and struck out on their own during the late night or early morning hours -- but never made it home. Some have never been found. Of those who have, their lifeless bodies were pulled from Midwest rivers or lakes. The cause of death for each case is listed as "drowning" or "undetermined". Signs of obvious trauma were lacking and most of the dead had very little or no water in their lungs (as would be expected from drowning). Foul play is not obvious in ANY of the deaths. All of the young men were athletic and healthy. Are these deaths all just one big coincidence? Or, something else?
I submit that as data is compiled, more similarities will be gleaned. Even if the Smiley Face Gang is nothing more than the imagination of media and bloggers, something is wrong with the idea that we're looking at a huge, unfortunate coincidence. Let's not forget that detectives Gannon and Duarte, along with Dr. Gilbertson and Adam Carlson have holdback evidence and other information linking the cases together. Smiley faces were one piece of that evidence. We now know others (informants, witnesses, possible nickname graffiti). Even without knowing the full scope of the holdback, it is my opinion that these investigators are onto the truth -- there is a serial killer or group of serial killers taking the lives of young men. They need to be stopped -- and brought to justice.

What are YOUR thoughts?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Smiley Face Murder Club Victims' List

Frank, a member, just sent me "the list". It contains 40+ names of young men believed to be victims of the Smiley Face Murder Club (or Smiley Face Gang). The list came from Footprints at the River's Edge, a blog that has more information on this topic than ANY other site I've seen. Heres' the list:

* 42. Christopher Melancon, 24 (WI)
* 41. Brad Olsen, 26 (IL) MISSING
* 40. Abel Bolanos, 19 (IA)
* 39. Wade Steffey, 19 (IN)
* 38. Nick Rossini, 21 (MN)
* 37. Jesse Ross, 20 (IL) MISSING
* 36. Lucas Homan, 21 (WI)
* 35. Brian Shaffer, 27 (OH) MISSING
* 34. Scott Radel, 21 (MN)
* 33. Kenji Ohmi, 20 (WI)
* 32. Cullen Fortney, 21 (WI) SURVIVED
* 31. Patrick Kycia, 19 (MN)
* 30. Matt Kruziki, 24 (IA)
* 29. Matthew Soumakis, 31 (IL)
* 28. Josh Snell, 22 (WI)
* 27. Chris Thiem, 19 (IN)
* Adam Falcon, 20 (NY)
* 26. Chris Olberding, 18 (OH)
* 25. Marlon Blue, 21 (IL)
* 23. Glenn Leadley, 23 (IL)
* 24. Jared Dion, 21 (WI)
* 22. Nathan Herr, 21 (WI)
* 21. Chad Sharon, 18 (IN)
* 20. Josh Guimond, 21 (MN) MISSING
* 19. Michael Noll, 22 (WI)
* 18. Chris Jenkins, 21 (MN)
* 17. Craig Burrows, 23 (WI)
* 16. Chris Nordby, 27 (MN)
* 15. Eric Blair, 18 (MI)
* 14. Ryan Katcher, 19 (IL)
* 13. Brian Welzien, 21 (IL)
* 12. Patrick Runningen, 23 (WI)
* 11. Ken Christiansen, 19 (MN)
* 10. Nathan Edberg, 21 (MN) MISSING
* 09. Jeffrey Geesey, 21 (WI)
* 08. Trevor Hoheisel, 27 (IL)
* 07. Keith Noble, 19 (OH)
* 06. Nathan Kapfer, 19 (WI)
* 05. Ryan Getz, 21 (MI)
* 04. Anthony Skifton, 19 (WI)
* 03. Charles Blatz, 28 (WI)
* 02. Richard Hlavaty, 19 (WI)
* 01. Morgan White, 19 (MI)
* Unconfirmed - Dale Shields (MI)

I've been at this for nearly 20 hours straight now... Time permitting, I plan to add date missing, date found, city, state and body of water to ALL of these names later today.

Evil Happy Smiley Face Man

Photo enhancement by The Sope-Bocks
Truthfully, it sounds (to me) like a bad translation from an Asian language to English. "Evil Happy Smiley Face Man" appears to have been spray painted on a concrete barrier near where one of the "Smiley Face murders" took place.

"It's not just a smiley face. He’s evil, happy and he drew horns which are synonymous with the devil. He’s telling you he knows murder is evil," Nationwide Investigations' Kevin Gannon says, "I believe we're looking at an organized group that has a hierarchy and is involved in murder and other criminal activity ... If this was a random thing, we’d have a wider range of victims,” he said.

As the team of investigators offers additional information to the media, we learn more and more about what could be called the Smiley Face Murder Club. For instance, the original image of the red smiley face on a non-descript blue background was not the complete image. Above, you can see the (mostly) complete image -- one of TWELVE found at crime scenes in five states.

The scrawl on the right hand side says, "Evil Happy Smiley Face Man". There is also a lower case letter "r" and something below the letter (cut off in the photos I've been able to dig up). It's interesting to note that the writing looks like that of a female -- and the lowercase letters "e" (in Smiley and Face) are both written backwards. The smiley face has a cross or X on the forehead and horns on top of the head. Creepy!

Gannon and Duarte have been investigating river drownings for more than a decade. They say while not every scene had the evil smiley face, all the deaths are the work of serial killers. That includes seven deaths in La Crosse and three in Eau Claire. It’s an "organized killer which hunts his victims and takes real pride in what he does," Gannon says.

The detectives say the men are all young, athletic and smart. Two victims' names offered by the Gannon/Duarte team are:
  • Lucas Homan - 21 years old when he died after drowning in the Mississippi River in La Crosse.
  • Josh Snell -22-year-old from Hastings, Minnesota, disappeared in Eau Claire in June of 2005. His brother says he was in town for a wedding and later went to the bars. Snell was found four days later, pulled from the Chippewa River. Jon Snell says he doesn't believe his brother wandered into the water. He says he's glad someone else looked into his brother's death. “I can't thank Kevin and Tony enough,” Jon Snell says. “They’ve been amazing." But, he says he knows his search for answers isn't over. He wants an outcome.
And that’s exactly what Gannon and Duarte hope to give Snell and dozens of other devastated families. "Arrests would be ideal conclusion to this investigation, yes,” NI's Anthony Duarte says. La Crosse Police Chief Ed Kondracki issued a statement Monday saying in part:
"I would like to take this opportunity to once again remind and assure our community that the eight river drownings which occurred between 1997 and 2006 have been thoroughly investigated... The La Crosse area river drownings are tragic and unfortunate accidents."
In the statement, Chief Kondracki also says there is no evidence at this time to connect La Crosse area drownings with any other deaths around the country.

Across the border in Minnesota, Minneapolis police spokesman Jesse Garcia said the case of at least one suspicious drowning death is currently active, and police are open to new hard evidence. "They [Gannon/Duarte/Gilbertson/Carlson] didn't come up with any new evidence that wasn't already there," Garcia said. "They basically came up with a new theory. We can't go forward with theories as evidence."

Steve Jenkins (father of homocide victim, Christopher Jenkins) said the graffiti represents concrete physical evidence and that the investigators also corroborated the accounts of alleged witnesses from other disappearances. Additionally, Jenkins said the investigators have identified suspects, although they've declined to release names. "There's a lot more evidence that they did not share (with police)," Steve Jenkins said. "They showed just enough to get the (authorities') interest in collaboration." [I told you yesterday there was a major holdback!]

Sources: WEAU,, NY Daily News

Profiling the Smiley Face Killer(s)

A user on (a confessed "conspiracies" website) offers interesting speculation as to identity of the Smiley Face Serial Killer(s). OK, it's kinda far-fetched but it is a place to start. The GLP user suggests the SFK is a technician (and possibly helper) from the Trane Corporation:
"It looks to me like the drownings(killings) started in LaCrosse. A string of them. To continue the speculation: Perhaps this is where the technique was perfected. Some Trane tech. was working at the LaCrosse facility for a few years and made a series of kills. Then, as he/she gained seniority and experience, he started traveling to outside locations on service calls. Trane is big and has equipment all over the country and especially strong here in the upper Midwest.

I don't know though, because most of the reports indicate a lack of foul play. So how does someone kidnap a grown man, and kill him without any signs of foul play? Unless the police reports are lies, I can't figure that part out."
SHR, the Forum Admin, added:
"R-22 can be used almost like a knockout gas, with some effort, but not a ton, wouldn't be too hard for someone who knows a little about HVAC to use that. Has almost a nitrious oxide effect, people do get high on it. Cargo van....victims half hammered....Jugs of refigerant not out of place for anyone in the AC biz, roll your window down a little, the other window doesn't work, open the valve and sleepy time drunken stupor land for a short while. I doubt there would be a whole lot of traces of it either."
FWIW, Trane does have a large facility in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where at least six of the young men have drowned. If Jessiah Jameson's death is part of the serial killings, the speculation follows suit, as another member of the GLP forum suggests:
"They [Trane] do training in clarksville tennesee where jessiah jameson drowned. This is where the commercial units are made."
It is also highly likely (*IF* the deaths are at the hands serial murderers) that the person committing the crimes has a convenient means by which to transport victims. A friendly professional in a uniform, driving a company van, would also give most college students less cause to become suspicious if offered a ride home late at night.Hmmm...

My Initial Theory: We may be looking at a couple (or more) female serial killers. Before you write off that theory, think it over. You're an athletic, college age male, who's been out partying with friends. You leave to walk home or clear your head before heading back to the dorms. A car drives up with a couple nice looking young ladies inside. They offer you a ride... maybe a promise of "some fun" ... and a little something else to drink. How many horny college dudes would say no? One could answer -- the ones who lived. Others are the reason for this thread -- and hundreds more like it. The fem fatales leave a smiley face at the scene where they drop the unconscious or lifeless bodies of their victims into the cold water of the river (or local lake). Another intriguing idea...