May 30, 2004

UGA Names, part 2

In response to the UGA Naming issue, UGA and Accidentals alum Joey googe offers this nugget:

Once the dust settles, the Accidentals may have to sing this version of one of our old standby's, just to stay safe from the lawyers:

She's the daughter of a primary color and a color that represents the
absence of light,
She's for a state located in the Southeastern United States and she'll never take it back,
She can't hold herself in check, When she yells, "To Hell with a rival institution located in the same state!"
Or a group of winged insects that look similar to bees give her any
slack, (Any slack),
When she dances she's a dream, Regular sugar-coated cream,
Her primary colored lips and eyes that are colored the same as the
absence of light are fair to see,
Glory, Glory to Ol' aforementioned state.
That's the song my baby who is from that state sings to me

Also got another wire from Vaughan Nash. He respectfully declined my suggestion to open up a blog of his own, but he did offer these bits of prose, that I had to share with ALL FOUR of my readers:

New Films:
Troy - the least wooden performance is by the horse. CGI not up to the waterline either, spoilt we are.
The Day after Tomorrow - Special effects are staggering. Plot lines are also staggering. Running down the corridor chased by homicidal ice?

And I will enlist the help of U.N. Translators to transmogrify this line from English into American:
"Worst memory hanging upside down off a barbed wire fence in Chesterfield, best memory 3 steaming 50 in Wigan giving it the come on with no standing takers. We all did it at some point but it was part of growing up in the eighties."

I'm guessing that it has to do with football (their kind or our kind, I don't know), based solely on context. Stay tuned.

May 28, 2004

UGA By Any Other Name

UGA May Lose It's Name [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

After 219 years, the University of Georgia could become the school with no name.

UGA's already messy divorce from its fund-raising organization took a nasty, unexpected twist Thursday: It turns out that the university doesn't hold the trademark to its own name. Instead, in papers filed last year, the University of Georgia Foundation has declared itself the owner of all things labeled "University of Georgia."

In doing so, the nonprofit foundation asserted control over every commercial use of the university's moniker, from UGA-embossed coffee mugs to boxer shorts — to "education services, namely providing instruction at the college level," according to its trademark papers.

It's not clear how the trademark filing will affect a yearlong dispute over attempts by some foundation trustees to oust UGA President Michael Adams. But the name issue puts a new spin on the state Board of Regents' decision Tuesday to end UGA's 67-year relationship with the foundation.

On Wednesday, regents' leaders said that if the foundation remained in business, it could no longer operate with the university's imprimatur. State officials described UGA's name as the regents' "intellectual property."

But, at least in theory, the foundation could try to force the University of Georgia, founded in 1785, to stop calling itself the University of Georgia.

How's that for an unfortunate turn of events? I'm sure that the UGA Foundation will just use this for levarage, but consider for a moment if the UGA Foundation successfully pressed for UGA to change it's name? Let's run the absolute worst-case scenario. (Pardon me as I try to channel Lewis Grizzard for a moment... ah, there.)

The UGA Foundation, embittered by years of disputes, hires a Dream Team of lawyers and wins legal ownership of the name "The University of Georgia" and "UGA." Along with the rights to these names comes a flood of lucrative licensing deals for t-shirts and other promotional items.

The Foundation finds itself suddenly swimming in the cash, newly freed of the ties to the university whose name it owns. It's profit margins draw the attention of Big Business and The Foundation is quickly purchased by AOL/Time/Warner. Ted Turner and the boys, in dire need of the revenue stream, decide to cease any financial support to the University.

Meanwhile, the University is stripped of revenues from licensing it's name and donations from the UGA Foundation, reducing it to near-bankruptcy. They have to find a new source of revenue fast, or they would be faced with shutting down the school. They hold frantic fund-raising efforts, including a telethon hosted by Ray Goff and Larry Munson, offering a glossy 8x10 of the famous picture of our mascot biting the Auburn player in the end zone for each donation above $150.

However, The University's emergency fundraising efforts come up tragically short. Protests by angry students and parents continue for weeks as the Board of Regents conduct emergency meetings to keep the school open. In the 11th hour, The University has no choice but to take cues from professional sports and whore itself out to commercial advertisers.

When the students return in the fall, the new buildings are unveiled: The School of Music, presented by Napster. The Viagra Pharmacy School. The Wal-Mart School of Business. The Amazon.Com Library building. The "1-800-Divorce" School of Law. The School of Psychology, brought to you by Paxil. The Crayola Art School. Caterpillar Bulldozers present: The Wayne Hill School of Environmental Design.

Eventually, the university sells the remaining rights to Disney. Our school colors change to orange and black, and our new mascot, Nemo, leads the "Fighting Clown Fish" onto Eisner Field (where the hedges have been trimmed into amusing character topiaries). Newly-issued diplomas bear signatures of Mickey Mouse ("Chairman of Fun") and Professor Von Drake ("Dean of Smart Stuff"). Local merchants start to cash in on the trend, opening "Lilo & Stitches" Alterations, "The Emperor's New Grooves" records store, and the "Buzz and Woody" Bar & Gentleman's Club.

The final insult comes when the newly-renovated arches welcome students to "Disney's Georgia University Adventure."

May 25, 2004

A Series of Unfortunate Events...

The Disney Trip was...eventful to say the least. There were some really stressful situations that came up, but Matthew was blissfully unaware of them and had a blast in the parks. Months in advance, we warned Craig that this trip would be MUCH slower paced than his usual Blitzkrieg tactics of theme park conquest. When you have a 2-year old, he sets the pace for the pack. Any guide will tell you not to force the more grown-up idea of "ride accomplishment" on a young child. They'll like some rides, but they'll enjoy the atmosphere and characters more. It's like a MasterCard Commercial:

Gas money to drive to Orlando: $50
3 Nights in Disney Resort Hotel: $400
Theme Park Tickets to SeaWorld, The Magic Kingdom & Epcot: $450
Your child having the most fun playing in a puddle: Priceless

Matthew had a great time, and Craig dealt with the change in pace surprisingly well. Melissa swelled with pride when the little guy saw the entrance to DisneyWorld and shouted "Mickey!!" Even with the kid in tow, we accomplished most of the things that we like to do in the parks. For roller coasters, we either took turns or did them while he took his mid-day nap. ("Mission Space" at Epcot is absolutely top-notch.)

Melissa and I are firm believers in what we call the "Vacation from Reality" principle: When you are on a vacation, your daily worries and routines are checked at the door. These are a few days to escape from the concerns of everyday life. Eat whatever you want, no matter how bad for you, and likewise, let your child eat what he or she wants. Buy a few trinkets if it makes you and the child happy, even if you know you'll never use them outside the park. If your child wants to do something that's not in your plan, yield to the child when you can. Still do things for yourself, but remember that you have the final say the other 360 days out of the year, so let your kid call the shots for a while.

Even without kids, this principle will allow you to have the greatest vacations of your life. Americans tend to be busier on their vacations than they are in normal life, packing it full of more schedules and activities than you can handle. How is that supposed to be a break, exactly? Note that this principle works in the short term, for vacations up to 10 days, but be flexible beyond that. Some British families come to Florida for upwards of a month. If you ate nothing but corndogs and cheesecake for four weeks, you'd come back looking like Roseanne Barr's family portrait. (See also "Supersize Me!")

As I said, there were some stressful times, like being awakened by hammering on our roof at 5:30 AM, a brief illness and a flat tire. But I found that all of Matthew's positive experiences overshadowed them: Seeing his face light up when Minnie blew him a kiss, hearing him shout with joy as he rode in the front car of the monorail, feeling him bouncing happily on my shoulders as he watched the parade, and laughing as he quacked loudly at people dressed as ostriches (it sort of looks like a duck, I guess). I gladly accepted the stress to have these memories.

In our absence, Mel's parents enjoyed our gift of tickets to see Bill Maher at the Tabernacle. This was less of a gift and more of a repayment for various & sundry auto repairs that Ron performed on our cars, including putting new tires on my car before we left. I'm glad they enjoyed the show, and hold absolutely no ill will towards Ron, who forgot to give me the warranty paperwork for said new tires, which sprang a leak on their maiden voyage to Orlando. It's all water under the bridge. Really. Bygones. (See All the Pics)

May 19, 2004

Changes in Lattitude

Blogging will be temporarily suspended as the (extended) family is taking a weekend in Orlando to visit a certain mouse. In place of my usual programming, I suggest everyone click over to LiveJournal and select a random Blog. After a few clicks, I'm sure you'll find something to hold your attention while I'm gone.

Also, click over to the site of my Father-in-Law's new employer, Draftech. Ron thinks that they should hire me to do a little web design make-over. Twenty seconds in, and I was sure that I could help. Take a look and comment for yourself.

May 18, 2004

RE: Don't buy gas May 19

This FYI brought to you by Snopes.Com, The Urban Legend Reference

Claim: Participating in a one-day "gas out" on May 19 will help bring the retail price of gasoline down.
Status: False.
Origins: Although it went into hiding for several years, the one-day "gas out" craze is back — and with it a reminder that protest schemes that don't cost the the participants any inconvenience, hardship, or money remain the most popular, despite their dubious effectiveness. A one-day "gas out" was proposed in 1999, and a three-day-long event was called for in 2000, but both drew little participation and had no effect on retail gasoline prices because they were based upon flawed premises. This year's version is no different.

First of all, everyone's "not purchasing a drop of gasoline for one day" will not cause oil companies to "choke on their stockpiles." Oil companies run their inventories on a weekly basis, and since the "gas out" scheme doesn't call on people to buy less gasoline but simply to shift their date of purchase by one day, oil company stockpiles won't be affected at all.

Next, merely shifting the day of purchase will not "hit the entire industry with a net loss of over $4.6 billion." Consumers won't be buying any less gasoline under this "gas out" proposal; they'll simply be purchasing gas a day earlier or a day later than they usually would. The very same amount of gasoline will be sold either way, so the oil companies aren't going to lose any money at all.

By definition, a boycott involves the doing without of something, with the renunciation of the boycotted product held up as tangible proof to those who supply the commodity that consumers are prepared to do without it unless changes are made. What the "gas out" calls for isn't consumers' swearing off using or buying gasoline, even for a short time, but simply shifting their purchases by one day. Because the "gas out" doesn't call on consumers to make a sacrifice by actually giving up something, the threat it poses is a hollow one.

Not buying gas on a designated day may make people feel a bit better about things by providing them a chance to vent their anger at higher gasoline prices, but the action won't have any real impact on retail prices. An effective protest would involve something like organizing people to forswear the use of their cars on specified days, an act that could effectively demonstrate the reality of the threat that if gasoline prices stay up, American consumers are prepared to move to carpooling and public transportation for the long term. Simply changing the day one buys gas, however, imparts no such threat, because nothing is being done without.

Moreover, the primary potential effect of the type of boycott proposed in the "gas out" messages is to hurt those at the very end of the oil-to-gasoline chain, service station operators — the people who have the least say in setting gasoline prices. As such, the "gas out" is a punch on the nose delivered to the wrong person.

Gasoline is a fungible, global commodity, its price subject to the ordinary forces of supply and demand. No amount of consumer gimmickry and showmanship will lower its price in the long run; only a significant, continuous reduction in demand will accomplish that goal. Unfortunately, for many people achieving that goal would mean cutting down on their driving or opting for less desirable economy cars over less fuel-efficient models, solutions they find unappealing.

An event like a "gas out" can sometimes do some good by calling attention to a cause and sending a message. In this case, though, the only message being sent is: "We consumers are so desperate for gasoline that we can't even do without it for a few days to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with its cost." What supplier is going to respond to a message like that by lowering its prices?


May 14, 2004

RIAA Cooking the Books

So the RIAA claims that CD sales are down 7%, and alleges that it's due to song-swapping. Then why does Soundscan report that sales are UP by 9%?

There is only one logical integration of all these statistics with the recent Soundscan data: even though actual point-of-purchase sales are up by about 9% in the US - and the industry sold over 13,000,000 more units in 2004 (1st quarter) than in 2003 (1st quarter) - the Industry is still claiming a loss of 7% because RIAA members shipped 7% fewer records than in 2003.

Forget the confusing percentages, here's an oversimplified example: I shipped 1000 units last year and sold 700 of them. This year I sold 770 units but shipped only 930 units. I shipped 10% less units this year. And this is what the RIAA wants the public to accept as "a loss." LINK

May 13, 2004

"God is greatest" indeed

...A man, who identified himself as Nick Berg of Philadelphia (C) seated in front of his five masked captors moments before he was executed. Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq beheaded an American civilian and vowed more killings in revenge for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, an Islamist Web site said on Tuesday. After one of the masked men read out a statement, they pushed Berg to the floor and shouted 'God is greatest' above his screams as one of them sawed his head off with a large knife then held it aloft for the camera.

The U.S. State Department official said on Tuesday the body of a U.S. citizen identified as Berg had been found in Baghdad. The official said Berg had no ties to the U.S. military or the Defense Department, but offered no further details.(Reuters Tv/Reuters) (Link)

This is what coalition forces are up against. National Guradsmen whose leave has been extended for two years end up getting burned alive by a mob and strung up on a bridge. Even non-military personnel, like Nick Berg, are routinely targeted and killed by Iraqui insurgents. In fact, civilian personnel are targeted more often because they are easier targets. "They're all infidels," goes their logic.

Their violence against our troops IN NO WAY justifies the inhuman treatment of Iraqui prisoners. I think that all of our nation and the world are united in disgust at the pictures of mistreatment that we've seen. The question has to be posed, however, if our mistreatment of these prisoners justifies them brutally sawing off the head of a civilian contractor.

The US is held to the highest standards of conduct by the world. Standards so high that only a handful of nations can even be reasonably compared. Every nation should strive to meet certain standards of conduct, such as not harming civilians and ensuring basic needs of occupied cities remain intact, and we as a nation do more to ensure that these standards are met than anyone else. Our military publishes reams of new rules every year, updating them as needed, and punish any who disobey them.

The problem is that while the world holds us to this standard, the people of Iraq and al Qaeda do not so much as consider standards of conduct for themselves. Insurgents have free reign to torture and kill reporters, snipe national guardsmen and burn them alive, and now, to brutally decapitate an American civilian. In the face of such brutality, we must maintain the moral high ground, and not sink to their level. This is not difficult to do, because most of us are born with something called a conscience. It's that little Jimminy Cricket or angel sitting on your shoulder that tells you not to do something because it's wrong. Unfortunately, it appears that these insurgents are not burdened by such a thing as conscience.

In the middle east, the reigning policy appears to be the "get-back." You did this to me, so I'll get you back by doing this to you. You got back at me by doing this, so I'm going to get YOU back for GETTING me back by doing this to YOU! Back and forth, since the dark ages, like siblings fighting in the back seat on a long trip. The get-back is what's important, it doesn't matter what started it all, or if you were justified, so long as you continue the Hatfield-and-McCoy tradition.

The real tragedy is that these insurgents and terrorist groups are usually small groups of extremists, and are not representative of their nations' population. small as they may be, however, these groups are usually so powerful that they hold sway with the countries' leaders, like cells of ultra-violent lobbyists. Some leaders are directly affiliated with such groups, others promise to keep the groups in check or mediate between them, but these extremist groups are as much a part of the politcal landscape in the middle east as political parties are in the States.

Most of these groups claim some religious affiliations, but these links exist mostly to provide some weak justification for whatever atrocities that they decide to carry out. The brutal murder of Nick Berg is case and point. The acts of decapitating a civilian and chanting "God is greatest" seems quite at odds with one another.

Of course, the translation of their chant changed "Allah" to "God", which is a mistranslation on the scale of JFK's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" (In which he mistakenly claimed to be a donut-like pastry, rather than a citizen of Berlin). Don't get me wrong, the Judeo-Christian God is just as often misquoted as Allah, and many atrocities have been carried out in each of their names (The Salem Witch Trials, The Crusades, the "christianizing" of the Phillipines, etc. ), but any citizen of the middle east will tell you that they are far from the same thing.

May 11, 2004

Links of Note:
  • "Return of the King" was an okay movie, but I think it needed a Rap Song. Enter "Lord of the Rhymes." This is what would happen if the Beastie Boys worked Tech Support at Hewlett-Packard. **WARNING: Explicit lyrics**
  • Hollywood moves to ban smoking in movies
  • SquareSoft holds Final Fantasy Symphpony in Los Angeles
  • Log In, Expunge your sins, Log off
  • The Hubble Telescope Escapes the Scrap Heap
  • May 10, 2004

    For those about to Blog, We salute you

    My BlogHome, has taken a giant leap forward by introducing a fresh, new version of Blogger with most of the features that bloggers have become accustomed to, such as e-mail posting, professionally designed templates, integrated comments, individual post archives and user profiles. If you've never blogged, now is the time to start.  I really like the new layout, and I wish some of my friends would get on the ball and join me in the Blogosphere. (Ahem, Craig? Justin? Rob?)

    May 07, 2004

    "I won't be there for you...Anymore"

    Alas, "Friends" has gone and ended on us. But at least we went out in style. Ends up that Kris and Jim won tickets for a Star94 Friends Party at Dave & Busters, and invited us along! (Thanks to Mom & Dad Petrey for watching Matthew, you usually miss about 30% of any TV show when dealing with a 2 year-old.) They set us and the other winners in a party room with a buffet and a huge projection TV that showed the retrospective and the last episode. 11Alive news was there, as well as Cindy & Ray from Star 94's afternoon show (whom Melissa schmoozed with).

    I will miss this show so much. Let me rephrase that: I will miss having NEW EPISODES of this show so much. (Let's face it, Friends will be in syndication until Matthew's in college.) Melissa says that she married a Chandler, and what can I say? Could I BE any more like Chandler Bing? Yeah, the kooky punchlines and I-Need-To-Be-Funny personality are rather familiar...

    The send-off was great, seeing Jim & Kristina was wonderful. Then, Jim's brother John arrived. John is the Anti-Jim, Jim's evil twin from the parallel universe. Not mean or evil per se, just brooding and unfriendly. Because unwittingly I dated his ex-fiancee ten years ago while they were "ON A BREAK" (thank you, Ross), and because said ex told some lies about me, John probably wants to kick my ass. He probably would, were I not careful to have many witnesses and/or small children in the room whenever we meet. Now we just try to avoid eye contact.

    The room fell into a hush whenever the show came on, and there were a few misty eyes when Ross & Rachel narrowly missed hooking up at the end. It feels like a release, seeing this show off into the sunset. Melissa revealed why: Because the Friends characters were just as old as Melissa and I were. We and the cast went through a lot of the same issues: Leaving college, getting settled in your job, trying to have a baby, transitioning to life as a parent, and eventually letting go of old friends. It meant a lot to us, and we'll miss the show. (New episodes, anyway.)

    TechTv Braces for Impact

    It's also the End of another Era, that of TechTV, which is being purchased by Comcast in the next few months, to be rolled into Comcast's own video gaming channel, G4. As a result, 285 TechTv employees were given pink slips.

    As sad as I am to see them go, I can't say that I didn't see it coming. TechTv had a handful of excellent programs like "The Screensavers" and "Call For Help", as well as decent news in TechLive and cool gadgets on "Fresh Gear." However, the rest of the daily schedule was always struggling for life. The network eventually added "Wired for Sex," which was the Techie's equivalent of "Baywatch", Futuristic Anime shows at night, and the questionable culture program "Nerd Nation." They even went out on a limb and showed re-runs of the ultimate puppet sci-fi drama, "ThunderBirds" Honestly, the only bit of good syndication was adding Britain's "Robot Wars."

    "The Screen Savers" was aptly named because TechTv is used by many geeks (myself included) as the Television's ScreenSaver, leaving it running in the background constantly. I find that it adds a soothing sense of ambiance to my day, hearing a virtual Tech support running in the background. Even Craig, who actually works Tech Support, does this. My In-Laws do this with CNN, but I find that having politics and current events constantly streaming just gives an ambiance of generalized paranoia.

    I hope that the good shows like ScreenSavers and Call For Help will carry over to G4. I'll cross my fingers for Adam and Morgan from "X-Play" (the TechTv Video Gaming show) will find a new home on G4, being an all-gaming channel.

    May 06, 2004

    Randomly-Generated Spam Subject Line of the Day:
    pace raw southeastern newsreel antarctica genealogy boomerang gambit gill choppy

    May 05, 2004

    Farenheit 9/11

    It should come as no surprise that Disney is Attempting to stop Miramax from Distributing "Farenheit 9/11", the new documentary by Michael Moore. The Disney-Miramax relationship is like siblings in the backseat: "You stay on your side of the line, and I'll stay on mine." Big D gets to keep it's squeaky clean image, yet still put out some darker, more mature movies under the Miramax name, and both houses retain credibility. Could you imagine, as my friend Justin suggested, "Disney's Kill Bill Vol. 2"?

    "Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, told the New York Times that Eisner asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Emanuel said Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where President Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, is governor."

    Let's be clear on this: Michael Moore is a necesary Evil. Like the Druge Report, there are most likely a few fabricated facts or misleading information, but most of the stuff is true and needs to be seen. Go into his films with the knowledge that not everything is absolutely true, then research the bits of the film that you doubt and make up your own mind. No one person's view is absolutely correct and unbiased and no one can present facts or a story without putting their own spin on it, no matter what the subject matter. (Case and point: The Bible. Creative editing can go pretty far, if your audeince is big enough.)

    Is "Farenheit 9/11" political? Absolutely. Will it show President Bush in an unfavorable light? Of course. But the real question is this: Will it present information that the general population needs to know to have an informed opinion on the matter? Without a doubt. Go see this movie if you're a Republican or a Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, Tory or Labour. I guarantee you that you'll leave the theater and talk about it (good or bad) to your friends & family, and that is the idea.

    Whether you debate for or against it's issues, YOU WILL BE TALKING ABOUT 9/11, and that's the whole point. The event that changed our nation forever needs to cause more reaction from it's constituents than a brief period of flag-waving and some awful songs by Toby Keith. It needs to cause a time of reflection on the big-picture causes of this tragedy. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter if we could have prevented this specific event. Even if we had known about it and prevented 9/11 from happening, the motivations and potential of it would still remain.

    In the big picture, Bin Laden does not matter, nor does al Quaida. If our time in the middle east has taught us anything, it's that Terrorism is a hydra that you can't kill by chopping off only one of it's heads. Take down Bin Laden and another will take his place, as long as the root remains. What matters most is what caused al Quaida to BE. I doubt very much the Bush line that they "Hate us for our freedom." It's not that simple, not by a longshot. What they hate about us starts with our Foreign Policy, the opinion of which has been made even worse by our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the recent evidence of prisoner abuse.

    I don't have all the answers, and no one does, but it's our duty to keep asking them until we get a good answer. But some people don't know enough about a topic to ask the questions. That's where Michael Moore comes in. So go see this movie, whether put out my Miramax or any other company, and learn some more good questions that deserve answers.

    Corrections: The Nash's of Northamptonshire ( I got it right at the end of the post, mind you), set some boundaries for the British NHS: "Our National Health Service is free to UK citizens and also EU citizens, but you may not be entitled to the full benefit straight away if you come from outside the EU. Please don't sue me if you're on your own with a wonky toenail in your first week!!!"

    (I will be using the word "Wonky" a great deal inthe next few weeks. Only in Britain!)

    Randomly-Generated Spam Subject Line of the Day:
  • niggle anarch postwar clone quaternary goad kilohm bauble cryptanalyze encomia
  • May 02, 2004

    Call from Across the Pond

    A fairly low-key weekend was saved this afternoon by a call from our friends from England, The Nash family. First off, they wanted to correct me, I accidentally blogged that they live in Devonshire, when in fact they live in Worchestershire. No, I meant Middlesex. Suffolk? No, that's not it either. Well, I'm sure it'll come to me.

    We met this family on our trip to London in October, we were in line to meet the Lord of the Rings cast members at Collectormania. We met up twice during the day, and just hit it off, exchanging addresses before we left. They've secured a cheap Sunday afternoon long-distance plan, and they've called every few weeks to keep in touch. Without fail, we stay on the phone with Cas and Vaughan for around three hours each time they call. They're just as interested in Stateside life as we are in life in Britain, so even with the Lord of the Rings films (mostly) done, we still have loads to talk about.

    ("Peebles", perhaps? No. That can't be it. Far too silly sounding.)

    Last time, we were out of our depth discussing the war in Iraq. Without question, Vaughan is the most knowledgeable person in socio-geo-political topics, short of the enigmatic Greg Lee back at UGA, that we have ever had the pleasure to speak with. We were completely out of our depth last time talking about politics and world relations, and we consider ourselves pretty up to date on current events.

    This week was more in areas of expertise. We talked about topics like health care, inane parenting laws and movies, for nearly four hours. They have a National Health Service there, where you can get any necessary medical procedure done, without resorting to HMO's. The only variable with health care over there is possibly the speed in which you are seen, which can be sped up with private health insurance. Unlike in America, where the actual QUALITY of your care depends on how much you can fork over each month.

    This clinches it, we're moving to England. They just seem to have it figured out over there. But you know what the funniest thing about England is? It's the little differences. A lotta the same stuff we got here, they got there, but there they're a little different. You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in London? They don't call it a Quarter Pounder, they got the metric system there, they wouldn't know what the heck a "Quarter Pounder" is. No, they call it "Crap on a Bun"

    Just like here, now that I think about it.

    I've got it. It's Northamptonshire. That's where they're from. I just hope that I addressed their package correctly.