2-6-2004 A shameless request for donations


What a great day. It's snowing, sleeting...sneeting, freezing rain is on the way-a beautiful day in Northeast Pennsylvania. Today I am taking electronic pen in hand to ask for a huge favor from you and your large and growing audience.

For several years I have been a big supporter of certain charities, one of those being St. Jude's Children's Hospital and Cancer Research Center. This is very near and dear to my heart. At the age of 7 my sister Sue was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After 11 years of treatment at the Philadelphia Children's Hospital, by the time she was a senior in high school, she was in official remission. She went on to lead a normal life, graduated with high honors from the University of Florida, got married, had a little girl, Nicole and five years later another little girl, Erin. Things changed however, when Nicole hit the age of 8 and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphomic Leukemia. She was treated at the Little Rock Children's Hospital in Arkansas, a great children's hospital. And within two years was in official remission.

In just a few short years the treatment period for Leukemia was reduced from as many as ten years down to just two years and the survival rate is ever increasing. It is because of places like St. Jude's Cancer Research Center, Philadelphia Children's Hospital, and Little Rock that these kids are given back a "normal" life much faster than ever before. I have always supported places such as the above as well as the Ronald McDonald Houses, where I spent much time from the age of 8 until 18.

Very shortly my two daughters will be taking part in the St. Jude's Mathathon for Cancer Research. They will be doing 200+ math problems consistent with their ages, Elora, 8 and Emily, 6. Every year these two kids sit down at our dining room table and do math problems rather than playing or watching TV for 1 to 2 to 3 cents a problem or a $5 donation. And once again I am asking for people's support. If anyone out there wishes to support my daughters, please let Mark know and he can let me know. Thank-you very much for that shameless plug.

Now, onto other things. I did my duty and took my lumps and ate some crow, Quesadillas actually, and bought Sue lunch. I still can't believe that she busted me over the airwaves. And yes, she did give me a bit of the business, and yes, she did ask me what the next bet was that I could lose to her. I also found out that yesterday her show was taped by PCN for airing on cable. What a great honor-one that she deserves. She does a great job behind the mic and on PBS, but she also does a lot of other things to help people that folks do not know about. Okay Sue, my turn, how about that cell phone bill, ouch.

I was shocked and crushed this morning when I heard the newsbreak from Florida that they found the body of the11 year old girl that was abducted. Remember her name, Carlie. Forget the name of Joseph Smith, a 13-time loser that was acquitted of a similar crime before. Take him a half-mile out into the Florida Keys area, slit his wrists, and tell him to start swimming. Sit back and watch the feeding begin. A predator should be fed upon by a predator. It's only fair.

But we will no doubt be treated to media clips of his great aunt twice removed, "Oh, he was such a good boy," or "You know, he never really had a father figure," or "He was picked on when he was a kid." The lawyers and psychologists are already gearing up. Well, I hope this guy gets his just deserts. Yes, of course if he is found guilty. But if he is, first, release him into general population in prison. If that doesn't do it, there's always "chumming the waters."

I have to weigh in on a story by Sports Writer Steve Wilstein of the AP on Janet Jackson that appeared in the Leader. His opening sentence, "It's hard to work up too much outrage over Janet Jackson's bared breast..." Um, no Steve it's not, especially if you are a parent. He continues, "A generation of kids have been brought up on Sex in the City, and movies with nude, lewd scenes." Um, no Steve, they haven't, especially if you are a parent that actually cares what you kids watch. I know that the concept is probably alien to you Steve, but there are parents out here that do limit what their kids watch and do teach their kids morals, values, and God forbid, their religious views. I know that it will probably seem even more foreign to you that some of us don't even have cable TV and that we sit together around the dinner table and TALK. Some of us don't own a Play Station and don't allow our kids to surf the net by themselves. Some of us actually sit and read with our kids, play games, or make things. Don't feint Steve. Breath, breath, in, out, in, out.

He goes on, "Flip the channels and you can find more flesh anytime of day...The Internet puts sex sites in reach of anyone with a computer." Steve, on this, you are correct, but guess what, you have to actively search for these things. They are not pushed upon us. When I watch the Super Bowl I do not expect to see nudity. Cheerleaders? Yes. Dancers? Yes. A halftime show? Yes. A bare breast in primetime? NO. And that is where the problem really is. I was not given a choice at that moment, because had I known that was going to happen, I would not have watched. And, it happened so fast that I could not get to the remote fast enough. I chose to watch the game. I chose to watch the halftime show. But at that instant, my choice as a parent was taken away. Steve you are right in saying there is a lot of trash on TV, mostly on cable, but you are wrong in your tag line, saying "...nothing new." It was new, it was vulgar, it was classless, it was primetime, it was a major network, it was perhaps the most watched show, and it was too much, too far, and I hope there are heavy fines and job losses over it.

Bowie in concert. I will be there. Mark, you up for some Spiders from Mars or what? Let me know and we can procure some tickets.

Keep the Faith.
Private Sector Dude.

Fractional divisions thereof