Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Week

OK, I admit it... I'm a junkie for politics and news in general. As a result, I am also a junkie for magazines. It seems as though there is a never-ending stream of magazines, journals, and other assorted rags flowing into the PTF HQ on any given day.

The most recent to hit my radar screen is one I feel like I should have known about a long time ago - The Week. This magazine tries desperately to avoid an editorial slant, and instead provides 40 pages of digest-formatted news from the week, culled from sources all over the world. Think of it as a Cliffs Notes for news - not something that you should read INSTEAD of the news, but a damned fine way to pick up some stories or viewpoints you might have missed over the last week.

The online version also has a kick-ass page of links to other online media sites that is worthy of a bookmark.

Take a look - they're currently (I believe) in the process of a significant push to increase their readership, so you might be able to pick up a deal on a subscription. Find a copy, and let PTF know what you think!

Posted by FleshPresser at 7:04 PM /

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A Personal Take on Schiavo

As I said a day or two ago, PTF was going to begin to take on a more personal nature from time to time, and this seems as good a time as any to begin.

As opposed to the standard "blogger format", I'm not going to link to any other articles or websites - if you're reading this, then you already have more than enough information on the situation as it stands.

And if you're not reading... well... umm... right.

Here's the thing. My mother died of breast cancer in the mid '90s. She went through a first course of chemotherapy and radiation, as well as a mastectomy, and did well for quite a while.

She and my father decided together that should the cancer come back, she would not go through chemotherapy again. If it recurred, she simply wanted to let that be the end.

For a few years, the cancer remained in remission, and she and my father spent that time doing things they always wanted to do... things that had never been a high priority, but now were the keystones to their lives and their relationship with each other.

The cancer did come back, and rather than going into the hospital, she chose to ride it out at home, employing hospice in the final weeks of her life. My father took care of her, and did everything he could to make her life more comfortable in that time, while still respecting her wishes. He did this, knowing completely and fully that had she gone in for the second round of chemotherapy and other treatments, her life could possibly have been spared once more.

But he, as her partner in life, respected her wishes, and loved her so completely that he did everything in his power to make her decisions a reality.

I bring all this up because as I watch the Schiavo case (it sounds so cold to even refer to this tragedy as "the Schiavo case", but that's what the government and the media have diluted it down to), it makes me think about her situation.

I'm not sure what was listed on my mom's death certificate under "Cause of Death", but I could certainly hazard a pretty educated guess and say that it was "starvation and dehydration". She stopped eating and taking fluids easily for a week prior to the day that she died. She exhibited the signs that Terry Schiavo's mother is talking about to the media - the sunken eyes, the dry lips, the flaking skin.

I know also that my father at any time could have asked that she be put on IV or a feeding tube or any other manner of treatment to preserve her life. Because he knew the wishes of my mother, he refused.

I also hear Terry Schiavo's mother telling the media that someone needs to stop this needless suffering - the agony that her daughter is going through. Again, I can only speak from my own experience. I know that in the case of my mother, she was given pain medication to ease the suffering that she might have been going through, and we were reassured constantly that she wasn't in pain. She told us that herself many times as we sat by her bedside.

I don't fault the family of Terry Schiavo for acting in the way that they are. Everyone grieves differently, and they are doing everything that they are physically able to keep from losing their daughter. It is incredibly difficult to let go of a loved one.

There have been speculations in the media and blogosphere about the motives behind Terry Schiavo's parents versus that of her husband. While I don't know much, I do know this - the decisions that they are facing are incredibly personal, difficult decisions, and should not be used as political fuel, ratings grabbers, or grist for the mill of those with a particular agenda.

While it appears that the courts have not caved in to the political pressure of Republicans in Congress trying to step in and take action, there is word of Gov. Jeb and politicians in Florida now beginning to mobilize to try and step in.

It also strikes me as odd that those who lay claim to incredibly strong religious beliefs are the ones fighting hardest to keep Terry alive. As for my family, we had very strong religious beliefs, and KNEW that the place Mom was heading was far better than where she was at the time. If one has strong religious values and convictions, wouldn't that individual be fighting to allow this fifteen year tragedy to end, secure in the belief that Terry would in good hands?

More than likely, every family will deal with an issue such as this, or know someone close to them dealing with a similar issue.

All I can say is this - despite the fact that it happened well over ten years ago, and as incredibly difficult as it was, my mother's death remains one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had in my life. Is it difficult to look back at her situation and second-guess, particularly in light of the plethora of new treatments available to those suffering with breast cancer? You're damned right it is.

But in those final moments, as my father and brother and I sat by her bedside, our hands on her body, verbally telling her that it was OK... that she didn't have to fight anymore... that it was alright to let go... and watching her slip away, I learned more about life and death than I had prior or have since.

I will not post anything else on the subject, out of respect for the family and for Terry Schiavo.

Posted by FleshPresser at 4:15 PM /

Monday, March 21, 2005

Sanctity of Marriage?

Let me get this straight - the Republican-led Congress and President Bush are supporting the wishes of the parents of Terry Schiavo, rather than the wishes of Terry's husband and life partner?

Rather than letting Terry's partner make the decisions that will affect his wife's life, President Bush signed legislation which would let the courts decide?

Let's rewind to January 2004, at the State of the Union, when President Bush was running for re-election, and found it convenient to state the following:

THE PRESIDENT: A strong America must also value the institution of marriage. I believe we should respect individuals as we take a principled stand for one of the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization.... Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage. (Applause.)

How about October of 2003, when Bush declared:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim the week of October 12 through October 18, 2003, as Marriage Protection Week.

How about when he stated that "I will work with congressional leaders and others to do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage."

Is this involvement in the Schiavo case what they had in mind when the Administration paid syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher $21,500 to write columns supporting the sanctity of marriage?

If Congress wants to take on issues of morality, life, and death, perhaps they should look at the deaths they have facilitated by their lack of a true policy of health care for Americans.

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:36 AM /

Damn, it looks good! Posted by Hello

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:34 AM /

A Glimpse of the Future.... hopefully! Posted by Hello

Posted by FleshPresser at 10:41 AM /

My Green Car is Black

For those close to FleshPresser you know a few things:

* FleshPresser is not my real name (I changed for the purposes of PTF, knowing that FleshPresser was more commercially viable - I'm still waiting for my Day Pass to arrive in the mail);

* Survivor is the only true reality show I can follow on a "have to watch every show" basis (I CANNOT believe that there have already been 10 Survivor casts); and

* I love my Chrysler PT Cruiser, and will keep it until the day that I die. My Cruiser was one of the very first Cruisers on the road, and I waited six months to finally receive it... back in the days when they weren't quite as commonplace as they are now.

Well, I guess evolution ensures that everyone changes, and the same can be said for me.

This past weekend, I evolved, and traded my PT Cruiser in for a 2005 Toyota Prius, one of the few cars turned my head and was able to seduce me away from my fossil-fuel guzzling Cruiser.

Although I was sad to see my Cruiser head to the used car lot, I couldn't resist the allure of the Prius. Given the impending drilling in ANWR, the political ramifications of our continued and ever-increasing dependence on oil, oil and gas companies continuing to line their pockets as "dealers" to this growing addiction, with the environmental ramifications and with no end in sight given the state of the current Administration, The Prius is a car that allows me to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, as well.

The Prius is a car that gets 60MPG in the city (where I do most of my driving), and 51MPG on the highway. All this while reducing, and in some cases eliminating, harmful emissions. All that, and the car is damned sexy, too. It has an electric start, Smart Key technology, GPS, and is simply a superior car to most gasoline-only cars.

I'll post more as I continue to discover the joys of driving a Prius, but in the meantime, let's hope that these cars spark the true beginning wave of the future.

Posted by FleshPresser at 10:35 AM /

To Blog Or Not To Blog?

It strikes me today that at times, it is very difficult to maintain a blog, particularly when there are so many ideas going through my head, and so little time in any given day to capture them. Every blogger goes through the "Is there anybody out there?" syndrome, I'm sure. And if no one is reading, then why write?

Although there are times I doubt anyone is reading this (a large majority of the times, at this point), I suppose one writes in a diary or other personal journal as well, wholly knowing that the act of writing and capturing the thoughts is what is truly important. There is a basic knowledge that no one will read the journal entries, but the writer will still have the thoughts for self, if for no one else.

So, I will continue to blog away for the time being. If anyone else reads my thoughts, so be it. If not, I write for the pure act of doing it myself.

As such, PRESSING THE FLESH may begin to take on more of a personal tone, but will always be written with the knowledge that, at any given time, someone may sneak a peek into my journal and riffle through the pages - maybe looking for something in particular, and possibly just reading for the voyeuristic quality of glimpsing inside someone else's skull for a brief moment.

Is there anybody out there?

Posted by FleshPresser at 10:23 AM /

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

An Observation...

Is it just me, or when Bush starts "pontificating" on a topic he supposedly feels he knows something about, doesn't he remind you of Corky St. Claire?

Just a thought...

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:02 AM /

Press Conference Highlights...

On the heels of nominating Karen Hughes to the position of undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, President Bush moments ago nominated Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank.

Not only is this a slap in the face to the world at large, but almost a guarantee that Rumsfeld won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

It also means that I guess Bono will have to be satisfied in his current position as front man/celebrity advocate. Do you think Bono would have gone by Paul Hewson if he was nominated to the position?

More later... Bush is being called out right now for his continued use of pre-packaged "video news releases"... it's getting good now!

Posted by FleshPresser at 10:38 AM /

Monday, March 14, 2005

Scented Balls

umm.... just read the story. 'Nuff said.

Posted by FleshPresser at 6:50 PM /

Dress the Flesh

So, you're sitting at work, and you have a few minutes to kill before you head home. And you've ALWAYS wanted to see what Camilla Parker-Bowles might look like in just a slip, a simple pink hat, and a lace shawl? OK OK... bad example. You've always wanted to lay claim to dressing Eminem yourself? No? OK... How about costuming Dame Edna or Conan O'Brien?

If you answered yes to any of these questions.... well, PTF is greatly concerned for you, and we'll leave our office light on for you, but in the meantime, feel free to visit Paper Doll Heaven, a fabulous site that allows you to dress and undress these and hundreds of other more palatable celebrities in any way you see fit!

Way more fun than mere mortals should be allowed!

Posted by FleshPresser at 5:11 PM /

Passion-Less Weekend

I'm still taking submissions for that perfect circumcision joke to complement the re-release of Mel Gibson's The Passion Recut. Suffice to say, however, that the joke is on Newmarket and Mel - the re-edited version of the film sailed out on 957 screens this weekend, yet it grossed only $240,000, according to Box Office Guru. Just to clarify, that equals a $251 average per screen.

To put it in perspective, Kevin Costner's new flick, The Upside of Anger, opened on NINE screens this weekend, and made $225,000 - although PTF will never claim to be a fan of Kevin Costner films.

It's not like The Passion and Newmarket are stinging too much, given the $370 million that the "unedited" version made during it's first release, in addition to all of the revenue off of DVDs, etc.

Still, PTF notes the lesson here relating to one of those seven deadly sins - Mel Gibson, being such a holy, pious, and truly spiritual man - well, he should know better than to give in to Greed, right?

Posted by FleshPresser at 4:54 PM /

Friday, March 11, 2005

Cappuccino, Gore-Tex, and Drought?

It was announced today by Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire that rainy Seattle and the rest of the state will more than likely be facing a drought this year.

Turns out that they had a pretty significant drought in 2001 as well, and in light of some of the problems they've faced in the past, they're beginning efforts to conserve and restrict water usage already.

For those of you who have resisted moving to Seattle because of the weather, it looks like you're in the clear. So to speak.

Posted by FleshPresser at 3:58 PM /

A Hole in the Story?

Just when it appeared there was no way the Bush Administration could appear more slimy (I just finished reading ModFab's post on Rumsfeld being cleared of any and all wrongdoing related to Abu Ghraib), and then I read this... an ex-Marine who participated in the capture of Saddam Hussein has come forward to report that there was no hole in the ground in which Saddam hid until his capture.

Instead, he was found in and captured in a home, and the military went out afterwards to fabricate the story of pulling Saddam out of the hole in the ground.

Wow.... it'll be interesting to see how fast THIS story takes to ignite. I'm going to go be sick now.

Posted by FleshPresser at 3:43 PM /

How Spain Copes...

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Madrid terror bombing - a tragedy which killed 191 people and injured thousands more.

I am struck by the actions of this country a year after they suffered their own catastrophic terror attack.

Three days following the attack, the citizens of Spain unseated conservatives in their general election, largely citing the Popular Party's support for the United States and the war in Iraq. Upon arrival in office, incoming Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero pledged to bring home the 1,300 troops that Spain had stationed in Iraq.

Spain has survived for the past year without the existence of a Department of Homeland Security. They have survived without the existence of a Patriot Act. Their government has not become mired in lawsuits or compensation issues related to the attack. Prime Minister Aznar, within days of the attack, announced hundreds of millions in aid to victims and their families, granted Spanish nationality to affected foreigners, and promised legal residency to illegal immigrants affected by the attacks.

Despite their lack of color codes and Patriot Acts, and despite the fact that Spain lives with an extremely large Muslim population, in a far less geographically isolated country than the United States - despite all this, they have not suffered another terror attack of the magnitude of March 11, 2004.

Today, the nation stopped and grieved as a unified nation. And though there is tension between the Spanish people and the Muslim community, Muslims cleric leaders in Spain today announced a fatwa against Osama Bin Laden.

I bring up March 11th, 2004 largely in memory of those who died, and because the major media of the United States will tuck this away somewhere in the middle of their "world" section of the news, if they cover it at all. Take a look at CNN or elsewhere today and let me know if I'm wrong.

Posted by FleshPresser at 1:21 PM /

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Running With... And Against... Each Other?

File this story under A Different Kind of Running Mate:

This weekend saw two potential 2008 Presidential candidates running together, instead of against each other. Democratic Governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, and Republican Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, both completed the Little Rock Marathon, with Huckabee finishing about 40 minutes faster than Vilsack. As an avid runner, PTF congratulates both of them for "going the distance." Particularly impressive is Huckabee, who was diagnosed with diabetes and began running as a way to improve his health. He has since dropped over 100 pounds and been cleared of all symptoms of his diabetes. He has become a big advocate for public health in his home state of Arkansas, taking on insurance reimbursements to those with lower incomes, as an example. It's amazing to see how Republicans suddenly find value in public health care when their own health becomes an issue.

If the trend continues (Gov. Clinton in Arkansas, Gov. Bush in Texas), these are two Governors worth keeping an eye on as 2008 approaches. As far as handicapping the rest of the race, Presidential Primaries 2008 does a nice job of ranking both the Democrats and Republicans as we line up for the race.

Posted by FleshPresser at 9:17 AM /

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Another One Bites The Dust.... Unless YOU Help!!! Posted by Hello

Posted by FleshPresser at 10:38 PM /

The Continuing Demise of Radio

Is the "mainstream" idea of commercial radio continuing to become more and more of a fossilized notion? Between the ever-increasing competition between "free" radio, satellite radio behemoths XM and Sirius, and other technology competing for attention (and dollars), it amazes me how utterly thoughtless programmers within the commercial radio conglomerates have become.

For those of you in the Washington, DC and Baltimore markets (as well as many, many people across the country), you are all too painfully aware of the demise of WHFS, eliminating perhaps one of the most prolific alternative/modern rock stations in the country, and the only one of its kind in the Washington/Baltimore area, for a Hispanic-focused station - one of six in the metropolitan area now.

In a half-assed attempt to placate listeners, the format was picked up by Live 105.7, a Baltimore-based station, albeit as a filler for hours on the evenings and weekends when they don't have programming from the Infinity stable of shock jocks to fill their airwaves and coffers. In addition, WHFS signed a deal with AOL Radio to become an Internet-based station, as well. At least this allowed the staff a broader range of music they're able to play, and widened the potential listening audience.

The movement to try and dislodge this type of music format from the airwaves has crept up the I-95 corridor, and Philadelphia has now felt the sting of management ignorance. Y100, another monster in the modern rock format, had the plug pulled by parent company Radio One, abruptly changing the format from the unique sound that was singular in the Philly market to yet another "urban contemporary" format - because Philly simply doesn't have enough outlets for 50 Cent or Usher as of yet.

Actually, the worst part is that the station now inhabiting the Y100 spot on the dial was actually just moved from it's prior spot (103.9) because Y100 had a stronger frequency.

Fair enough.

So, why not simply switch positions and place the Y100 format on the weaker signal, at least salvaging the jobs of those working for Y100? Noooooo.... Radio One, in it's infinite wisdom, created a Gospel station in the new spot, because obviously the new station will be MUCH more commercially viable than tired old bands like Green Day. ugh.

So, what can be done? Well, probably not much, although the usual round of rallies and protests are taking place. Y100 has been given an Internet slot on, and an online petition can be signed at this site (50,000 signatures to date). All other information can be found at Y100Rocks.Com.

I would encourage all PTFers to check out the story at a minimum, viewing it as yet another cautionary tale of big business unconcerned about the public it supposedly serves. Sign the petition, write a letter, and get mad about this! Or else don't complain when it happens in your community.

Posted by FleshPresser at 9:44 PM /

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Exploring Ananova

Yes, it sounds like something sordid one might do to a Russian tennis star, but that's not it at all. Ananova is a UK News site, and in honor of trying to lighten our spirits for the weekend, I found a few of the quirkier stories of the week:

* BREAST WISHES? Will Smith says he won't sign his name to women's breasts anymore. For their own good. Yeah. OK.

* DORIS DAY PORNO SNAFU - A couple is horrified right down to the final credits!!

* POLISH MAN FOUND WITH KNIFE IN HEAD - Insert your own joke here. No, seriously. This might be the REAL reason he had the knife in his head. Or maybe it was this.

Have a good weekend!

Posted by FleshPresser at 5:41 PM /

Friday, March 04, 2005

Beware of Shifty Santorum

With the 2006 Senate elections already beginning their opening salvos, PTF has been paying particular attention to the opportunity Pennsylvanians have to unseat the evil Rick Santorum. PTF reported Santorum's sagging poll numbers last month in a race against State Treasurer Robert Casey.

Well, now it appears that Santorum is attempting to distance himself from the President and his own evil conservative record. According to The Hill, it appears Tricky Ricky is trying to shift himself to the left in advance of the Campaign. This, of course, happeneing as Robert Casey announces today that he will officially enter the race.

PTF encourages all Pennsylvanians and non-Pennsylvanians alike to follow this race closely, as it not only impacts Pennsylvania specifically, but the entire nation.

Posted by FleshPresser at 3:47 PM /

Why I've Been Gone...

Sorry that it's been so long since my last post. As I alluded to earlier, I've had a very busy week. In addition to opening a show that I recently completed directing, I thought I'd share some of the other things I've been working on:

* Roadtrip to Alabama to smuggle in a few items to some folks who can't get what they need;

* Several calls to Eminem, Christina, Fred, and Ashlee, making sure we're all still on for the surprise birthday party next week;

* Enlist in the Armed Forces, knowing now some of the perks that are going to come with the job;

* Trying to come up with the PERFECT circumcision joke for Mel Gibson's attempt to cash in on the Easter Season;

* Calling Dan Rather to let him know about Brian Williams' on-air SNAFU, in case he wanted some sweet revenge;

* Roadtrip to West Virginia to see if I'm too old to pass myself off as a middle school student, for obvious perks; and

* Sending e-mails to Jeff Gannon, asking why he's not in the Press Room any longer if he had nothing to hide.

Needless to say, I've been a bit busy lately, but I'll try to keep PTF more current in the days to come.

Posted by FleshPresser at 2:59 PM /