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Updated: 01/02/03

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Thursday, 02 January, 2003

Watched two movies on DVD yesterday: Chasing Amy and The Royal Tennenbaums.


I had heard good things from other people about both of these and was all prepared to enjoy them both. Oh well. There is, apparently, no acounting for my taste.

What is it with the French and aliens? First the Raelians, and now this:

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - A Frenchman who raced through a motorway road block, triggering a high-speed police car chase that ended in a minor crash, has blamed aliens from Mars for his reckless driving.

Under police custody in a hospital in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, the 42-year-old told police he was being "chased by Martians" when he charged through a road block on the A55 motorway Monday evening, police sources said.

A breathalyzer test for alcohol proved negative, but police are still awaiting the results of drugs tests and a psychiatric examination.

[From Mars. Heh. Dummy, they were obviously Elohims!]

I LOVE this story. It is the classic "someone else owes me money for something" mentality that our country seems possessed with.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jack Ass says "Jackass" has given him a bad name.

A Montana man who legally changed his name to "Jack Ass" in 1997 has sued media giant Viacom Inc., claiming its stunt-heavy, gross-out TV show and movie "Jackass" had defamed his character.

In a suit filed in November in Montana and posted this week on a legal Web site, Jack Ass, who said he changed his name to raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving, claimed Viacom was "liable for injury to my reputation that I have built and defamation of my character which I have worked so hard to create."

The suit asks for damages of $10 million or more.

A man who legally changed his name to Jack Ass says that someone else is making him look bad? Here's my favorite quote of the story:

Jack Ass is representing himself.

[What can one say?]

I received an e-mail from my friend Keith this morning. It kind of goes along with my disdain for the blame someone else mindset, plus it was a nice little stroll down memory lane.

You lived as a child in the 60s or the 70s. (Some of us, the 40s or 50s.) Looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have . . .

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat. Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention hitchhiking to town as a young kid!)

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable.

We played dodgeball and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We got cut and broke bones and broke teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it. We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar soda but we were never overweight . . . we were always outside playing. We shared one grape soda with four friends, from one bottle and no one died from this.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X Boxes, video games at all, 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cellular phones, Personal Computers, internet chat rooms . . . we had friends. We went outside and found them. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rung the bell or just walked in and talked to them. Imagine such a thing. Without asking a parent! By ourselves! Out there in the cold cruel world! Without a guardian.

How did we do it? We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with dissappointment.

Some students weren't as smart as others so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade . . . Horrors! Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. No one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law, imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years has been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to accept, cope with, ignore and/or handle the situation. And you're one of them. Congratulations!

Please pass this on to others that have had the luck to grow up as kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good.

I can remember riding to the beach in the back of the Nystrom's station wagon - no seatbelts, although we always wore them in our car. I cracked my front teeth while running on our neighbor's lawn, and the Kuhn's horse trampled me when I was in grade school and I had to have two dozen stiches in the back of my head. When I did something wrong - when I stole that piece of candy in the super market, or plucked all of the leaves off of the Baker's hanging plant - I had to go and APOLOGIZE to them. Face to face. My grades were my grades and if I didn't do well, it was my fault, not the fault of the teacher or the school system or the State of California.

And let me tell you, there are days now when I wish I could blame someone else for everything that goes wrong. And while I'm not responsible for everything that happens to me, how I react to it and what I do about it are up to me.

[Thank you, Mom and Dad.]

~ ~ ~

Quote du jour:

"The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence."

-- Denis Waitley ( - ____) US motivational speaker

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