Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday's Author

Christopher Moore has amassed a huge following with his quirky, original novels. With titles like You Suck, Bite Me, The Stupidest Angel, Fluke, and Lamb, Moore keeps his readers enthralled with his tales of vampires and the like. He has a unique sense of humor which he conveys with artistic genius. The man can do almost no wrong when he writes.

I've interviewed Chris a couple of times and he always makes me laugh with his witty observations and clever answers. He has a way of attracting people to his talent without really having to try all that hard. He can also keep a reader hooked from page one right to the very end. There's nothing false or fabricated about his gift. He is the real thing. A true master of his craft.

Pentagon Study Says Openly Gay Troops Can Serve Without Harm

From Yahoo! News:

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Anne Flaherty, Associated Press – 8 mins ago

WASHINGTON – A Pentagon study on gays in the military has determined that overturning the law known as "don't ask, don't tell" might cause some disruption at first but would not create any widespread or long-lasting problems.

The study was expected to provide some much-needed ammunition to congressional Democrats struggling to overturn the law. But despite supporters' hopes to force a vote during the lame-duck legislative session, it remains unclear whether the findings would be enough to sway skeptical Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen were expected to discuss the report later Tuesday, with the study's co-chairs, Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham.

The findings were confirmed by several people familiar with the study who spoke on condition of anonymity because the results hadn't been publicly released.

The study found that 70 percent of troops surveyed believed that repealing the law would have mixed, positive or no effect, while 30 percent predicted negative consequences. Opposition was strongest among combat troops, with at least 40 percent saying it was a bad idea. That number climbs to 58 percent among Marines serving in combat roles.

The study also draws a strong correlation between troops who have worked with a gay service member and those who support repeal. According to the assessment, 92 percent of troops who have served with someone they believed to be gay thought that their unit's ability to work together was either very good, good, or neither good nor poor.

One person familiar with the report said it will show that military commanders believe gay and lesbian troops have a strong desire to fit in and feel accepted by their units. The report will also show that gay service members currently serving in the military have expressed a patriotic desire to serve, and want to be subject to the same rules as other service members.

The survey is based on responses by some 115,000 troops and 44,200 military spouses to more than a half million questionnaires distributed last summer by an independent polling firm.

The House has already voted to overturn the law as part of a broader defense policy bill. But Senate Republicans have blocked the measure because they say not enough time has been allowed for debate on unrelated provisions in the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised a vote on the matter by the end of the year, after hearings can be held this week on the Pentagon study. Still, some gay rights groups have complained that Democratic leadership has done little to push for repeal before the new Congress takes over in January.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley said the majority leader is "very much committed to doing away with the ban this year" but that it was the GOP's fault for blocking the bill.

Terrific Tuesday

The BBC hit a big homerun in 1990 when it debuted the situation comedy Waiting For God. Set in a retirement village in Bournemouth, England, the series was an attempt to cast a humorous look on the problems that the elderly face as they wend their way through the golden years of their lives. It was a major success and ran for five series.

Starring the devilishly funny Stephanie Cole as Diana Trent and the late Graham Crowden as Tom Ballard, these feisty oldsters amused themselves by creating as much havoc as they could for the management of Bayview, as well as for their own families. Tom’s half wit son and drunken daughter-in-law were always on hand to provide a foil for Tom and Diana, as was Harvey “the idiot” Baines, as Diana called him, the CEO of Bayview, and his assistant, the love struck Jane. Often recruiting their peers into their escapades, Tom and Diana never tired of proving that just because they were getting on they were in no way slowing down.

Now a hit on PBS stations across the US, as well as in many other countries to boot, Waiting For God finds new fans all the time. It is simply a delicious selection on the international menu of fun, as is readily apparent in this clip of Tom and Diana setting out to sabotage Baines’ latest plot to turn Bayview into a business rather than their playground.

This Day in History: November 30

1782 - The United States and Britain signed preliminary peace articles in Paris, ending the Revolutionary War.

1803 - Spain completed the process of ceding Louisiana to France.

1804 - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase went on trial accused of political bias. He was later acquitted by the U.S. Senate.

1835 - Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born. He wrote "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" under the name Mark Twain.

1853 - During the Crimean War, the Russian fleet attacked and destroyed the Turkish fleet at the battle of Sinope.

1875 - A.J. Ehrichson patented the oat-crushing machine.

1897 - Thomas Edison's own motion picture projector had its first commercial exhibition.

1936 - London's famed Crystal Palace was destroyed in a fire. The structure had been constructed for the International Exhibition of 1851.

1940 - Lucille Ball and Cuban musician Desi Arnaz were married.

1954 - In Sylacauga, AL, Elizabeth Hodges was injured when a meteorite crashed through the roof of her house. The rock weighed 8½-pounds.

1956 - CBS replayed the program "Douglas Edward and the News" three hours after it was received on the West Coast. It was the world's first broadcast via videotape.

1967 - Julie Nixon and David Eisenhower announced their engagement.

1971 - ABC-TV aired "Brian's Song." The movie was about Chicago Bears' Brian Picolo and his friendship with Gale Sayers.

1981 - The U.S. and the Soviet Union opened negotiations in Geneva that were aimed at reducing nuclear weapons in Europe.

1982 - The motion picture "Ghandi" had its world premiere in New Delhi.

1986 - "Time" magazine published an interview with U.S. President Reagan. In the article, Reagan described fired national security staffer Oliver North as a "national hero."

1989 - PLO leader Yasser Arafat was refused a visa to enter the United States in order to address the U.N. General Assebly in New York City.

1993 - U.S. President Clinton signed into law the Brady Bill. The bill required a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases and background checks of prospective buyers.

1993 - Richard Allen Davis was arrested by authorities in California. Davis confessed to abducting and slaying 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Petaluma.

1995 - President Clinton became the first U.S. chief executive to visit Northern Ireland.

2000 - David Spade was assaulted with a stun gun by his longtime personal assistant, David Warren Malloy. Malloy attacked Spade during a burglary of Spade's home in Beverly Hills.

2001 - In Seattle, WA, Gary Leon Ridgeway was arrested for four of the Green River serial killings. He was pled innocent on December 18, 2001.

2004 - In Stockholm, Sweden, the Carl Larsson painting "Boenskoerd" ("Bean Harvest") was sold at auction for $730,000. The work had been in a private collection for more than a century. The Larsson work "Vid Kattegatt" ("By Kattegatt") sold for $640,000 at the same auction.

Tuesday's Flashback

One of the biggest hits of 1985, Out of Touch was Daryl Hall & John Oates last trip to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was viral on radio and the video played in endless rotation on MTV. The premiere single from their Big Bam Boom album, Out of Touch came at a time when the duo was experimenting with producing other artists as well as making hits of their own. It was one of the best examples of the magic that this pair could achieve when they joined forces.

Remaining a popular radio fixture, the video always takes one back to the big 80’s and the sound that defined a generation. It’s simply impossible to escape once you get into its hooks and grooves. Not once, not twice, but every time you hear it you’ll find your toes tapping to the beat and you’ll feel yourself humming along with the chorus. Out of Touch is a masterpiece.

Thought for Today

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -- Anais Nin