Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Crazy Ones

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have little use for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them, because they change things – they push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy…because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

- Steve Jobs --1997

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Propaganda: When will the Masses Smarten Up?

In a recent article on OpEd News, author Robert Raitz uses the 1936 movie Reefer Madness as an outstanding example of how propaganda was used to manipulate the actions of the American public.

"Tell Your Children, A Paradigm of Dope" gives a pretty good description of the movie that was instrumental in getting marijuana outlawed in The United States. Unfortunately, its outrageous claims of the effects of marijuana left anyone in the know swinging from the chandeliers. The movie has become a cult classic and has recently been turned into a Broadway musical.

The point of the article is to illustrate how the government and special interest groups still use similar types of propaganda to instill fear in the American public which results in knee-jerk reactions based on emotion. These reactions are as unwise now as they were then, and the article leaves me wondering if the masses will ever quit falling for it.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Starving Writer Promotes Regular Maintenance

About seven years ago I was working in the fiber-optic construction business and spent quite a bit of time driving between work crews collecting data. It wasn't unusual for me to log 250 to 300 miles per day and my old 1980 Ford pickup had seen better days. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I inherited a 1995 Dodge Dakota extended cab 4x4. It was five years old and the original owner had obviously taken pretty good care of it.

Since I virtually lived in my vehicle and spent most of my time around utility construction sites, the white pickup was transformed to a dingy grey quickly. Determined to take care of the pickup despite the heavy use and high miles, I got
bi-monthly oil changes and routine maintenance, and I took it to get detailed once a week.

Like many things in this world, the fact that I was earning incredible pay for my job made these preventative maintenance items easy to keep up with. Now that I'm a starving writer who's never sure how next months bills are going to get paid, I don't have the luxury of hiring out those tedious duties, but still appreciate the importance of taking care of a vehicle. Also because I'm a starving writer I know that I can't afford to replace this vehicle.

About every 4,000 miles I go buy oil, filters and various automotive detailing supplies and do the maintenance myself. My odometer has gone from 50,000 miles when I got the pickup to 180,000 miles and still runs and looks pretty good.

Until I find that elusive job that pays a livable wage or get that best selling novel published, I'll be pampering my pickup and changing my own oil. I don't know how long it'll keep going but at 180,000 miles I'm starting to really hope I get that big break soon. All things die eventually -- no matter how well they are cared for.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Liberty Cried

When Dick Cheney's henchman err... Former Chief of Staff... Scooter Libby was convicted of obstructing a federal investigation and lying about matters of national security, the husband of the CIA undercover operative whose life Libby put at risk felt justice had been done. Joe Wilson, whose wife Valerie Plame's identity as an agent was leaked to the press by Libby, told reporters, "We see this as a reaffirmation that we are a nation of laws, we live in a democracy. The verdict shows no man is above the law."

I can't help wondering what Wilson thinks now that Bush has picked up one of his presidential pens and commuted Libby's 30 month sentence. It appears we are not a nation of laws and we are no longer a democracy. Bush's act proves that the administrations fall guys are in fact above the law. Ambassador Wilson now says Bush is "corrupt to the core." Do ya' think?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Painting the World with Communication

For the last several months, as I've been exploring ways to use my experiences in life, journalism, broadcasting and public relations to earn a living wage, I've been forced to work in the trade I went to college to get out of -- painting. Not the artistic kind of painting, but the kind where you wear white pants and improve the appearance of peoples residences.

Honestly, the work isn't that bad and I was always proud of the work I've done to beautify a persons surroundings. And painting a luxury home can earn a guy some pretty decent financial rewards. Most importantly, it always gave me a good feeling when I left a home in better shape than when I found it.

But I don't want to do that for the rest of my life. I want instead, to take my creative skills, education and experience, and use them to help make our world a better place than when I found it. I think the best way I can do that is by communicating with the masses, utilizing my writing, reporting and personal communication skills to bring people together. Beautifying the world one house at a time is nice, but I think I am intended to beautify the world on a much larger scale.

Now if I can figure out how to earn a living in the process, I can retire my paint brushes for good and start paying for that education...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Libby Walks; Joins North in Annals of the Neutered

When the Vice President's Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, was convicted of committing several crimes against the American people, I wrote a blog entry on my other blog comparing him to the other Republican scapegoat in the not too distant past, Ollie North. I predicted then that Scooter Libby would be awarded a get out of jail free card from Boy George for keeping his mouth shut about who else was involved in his criminal actions.

I'm not gloating, but writing this instead to explain the future prescription drug addiction that I'm now predicting I'll be afflicted with if someone doesn't stop this madman named Bush. He didn't even have the decency to wait until Libby started serving his time before commuting his sentence.

How long will the American public tolerate this administration thumbing their nose at the Constitutional laws that define precisely how this country should be run. Who is going to stop this crap? Maybe his mom, Barbara, or his brother, or anyone? Beuller.... Beuller....?

Monday, July 2, 2007

How Much is Enough

One of the web sites that actually pays a measly sum for some of my writing, Associated Content, is really starting to piss me off. I understand that a lot of things on the internet are there solely for the purpose of generating page views, and in turn advertising revenue. But it seems to me that you need to draw a line between those valuable keywords and altering the writers words (even headlines) so that they are more search engine friendly. Recently, they've not only been changing the headlines, but some Content Manager who suffers Napoleon syndrome is altering the titles so they don't even represent the article.

Crap! Use some common sense AC. I'm on the verge of following several other of your former writers away from that kind of BS. Just look at the one's you've lost in the last two months. Personally, I participate with AC for the comaraderie of other writers. But the ones I have gotrten to be good friends with are all jumping ship. Keep changing the headlines of my articles and I'll be overboard with them

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Taking Care of Business

My good friend Flatch has suggested I try to make a few bucks on a web site called They will reportedly pay cold, hard cash into my paypal account if I can somehow work an assigned phrase and link into my blog postings. Well, I'm a creative guy that can really use a little walking around money, so I'm giving it a try. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Writing: Fighting Injustice Armed only with a Keyboard

As I peruse this never ending novel of society as we know it, the Internet, I frequently come across entries written by people who are totally different, yet eerily similar to me. On occasion the entries they contribute attempt to explain the reasons for the very existence of those entries. And so we arrive at one more of those explanations for why I write.

I first learned my words had the ability to incite discussion when I was writing copy for TV ads. I’ll never forget the Mother’s Day morning years ago, while I was standing in the line for the champagne brunch buffet at the Hilton, I heard the people behind me discussing a television commercial I had written and produced. Two total strangers were discussing the message my words were meant to transmit. It was the first time it really occurred to me that people were communicating as a result of what I was writing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fallwell's Death Article Funnier than a Carload of Clowns

I may go to hell for thinking this, but Jerry Fallwell doesn't even have to wait until he gets there before being roasted. Prolific Associated Content Content Producer thebarefoot (I think his name's funny) has written a brutally, almost honest report of the Reverend's long awaited passing.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Even Jesus Christ is a Blogger

I've come across the greatest blog that I've seen in quite awhile and, excuse the expression, but by God I feel the need to share. It's a blog written by the son of God himself, Jesus H. Christ. In the blog that began in April, J.C. tells his readers of the trials and tribulations of his life and clears up a few misconceptions. He sounds like a pretty decent guy just trying to get through each day, not unlike the rest of us. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Generational Realities

After writing a very provocative article on Baby Boomers and Generation Y, I recieved a lot of feedback from readers that either really disagreed or thought I was right on the money with my analysis. Thanks to all who have written me.

This morning a friend put it into perspective for me. This video says a lot.

How to Avoid DUI Convictions

Believe it or not, the police will try to trick you into doing things to help them obtain a conviction, no matter how much you've had to drink before driving. Speaking from personal experience, I've learned what you should do to avoid incriminating yourself when they request you perform a field sobriety test.

Please remember, driving while drunk or high is not a good idea and as I mentioned in previous articles, a conviction can end life as you know it. While my expertise is limited to practical experience and many attorneys agree with the points I mention in this article, it is not intended to replace professional legal counsel.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Stuffed Monkey Leads to Drug Bust

I finally broke down and submitted a news story to Associated Content, simply because it was too funny and unbelievable to ignore.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Word Discovered

I have discovered (or created) a new word that I'm going to share with those of you brave enough to venture to these web pages. My guess is you will help me get the word well known and in common usage by enough people that Webster will have no choice but to officially accept it's definition and include it in the next edition of their etymological tome.

The word is: squat-tle \skwat-el\ - transitive verb: The manner in which one moves between the toilet and the closet containing the spare roll of toilet tissue.

I've been known to invent some pretty creative words in the past, but this is more than an attempt to win at Scrabble.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Generation Y is not Ready! Oops!

Note: I initially wrote the linked article and mistakenly referred to Generation X instead of Y. Not surprisingly, I offended an entire generation of people because of the vague time frames each generation covers. I apologize and thank the many readers that quickly corrected me.)

I can't help agreeing with those in the mental health psyco-community who suggested it was best that I not reproduce. While I did have a significant role in raising my girlfriend's 18-year-old daughter, Bob, at least I didn't contribute to the gene pool... as far as I know. A few of Bob's recent personal choices have me concerned.

To be honest, I don't think most of my generation was ready to raise kids. That's why the aging baby boom generation and the rest of the world born before them is scared. Generation Y isn't interested enough to be concerned. This article explains more.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Mountains and Nature's Jacuzzi

Some of America's great creative talent have found inspiration at Chico Hot Springs near Livingston, Montana. Sam Peckinpah, Larry McMurtry, Robert Redford and Moscow's Red Elvis' have all spent some time there, if for no other reason but to recharge. Here's an article that shares the history and all the things that can be found at Chico.

Damn, I've Been Busy

For someone who knows his way around a keyboard, has a good work ethic, has experience in an extensive array of professions, and has salvaged a significant degree of brain cells despite many years of behavior conducive to destroying them, I've had a terrible time finding gainful employment. I've responded to hundreds of listings for freelance writers and recieved about four responses -- each wanting to pay little or nothing for my words. I've applied for about 50 traditional positions that I felt I was a perfect candidate for and have recieved two rejections and one request for more information which was followed by one of the previously listed rejections.

Perhaps this is because of my anti-disestablishmentarianism and vocal opposition to political corruption. It might be I don't know how to effectively ask for jobs and am presenting myself incorrectly. It could be my age or for all I know my last name. I simply can't figure it out.

The calls that I won't answer are becoming more frequent and the pile of things I need to pay is getting taller.

So I've been trying to take my mind off of it and after spending two or three hours a day applying for work, have been escaping to the yard to do some long overdue yard work. While this doesn't pay, I've managed to work off some of the extra weight I've gained as a slave to the keyboard. This morning, I put on and actually buttoned a pair of pants that were too small last month.

The $170 fuel pump went out on my pickup the other day and I actually managed to change it myself. Whoever decided these belonged inside the gas tank really pisses me off. And of course it had to happen the day after I nearly filled the tank.

I had an interview with Nielsen Media Research Friday in Nashville. I took some critical reasoning tests and should find out if I passed or not within the week. If I do, I'll go onto the next phase of the application process, which will include another interview and background check. The job has some pretty good benefits and will enable me to pretty much be my own boss. Not holding my breath yet, as there are about 20 out of 140 still in the running for two or three positions available.

So, if I've been less than attentive to my friends, family, acquaintances and my fan, please accept my sincere apologies. I've been damn busy and in a pissy mood. You probabvly haven't wanted to hear from me lately. Nonetheless, I truly am trying to remain positive.

I started this post to tell readers they should now be able to leave comments here. I've had a few people tell me they weren't allowed to. If you still have problems, let me know and I'll get it fixed. In fact whoever reads this should at least let me know you were here and leave a quick comment. Thanks.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Quote of the Day

From Anne Waymans forum at comes a wonderfully relevant quote for those creative spellers among us:
" It is a damn poor mind indeed which can't think of at least two ways to spell any word." Andrew Jackson

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Scooter Goes on Vacation

Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff was convicted yesterday of lying to a federal grand jury and four counts of making false statements to the FBI. Libby is facing between 1 1/2 and three years in a federal camp for white-collar criminals, if he's not pardoned by the Bush Administration after his appeals are exhausted. The charges come from an investigation of who leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent to the press.

The CIA officer was Valerie Plame, who is married to one-time ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Wilson had accused the White House of using flawed intelligence to justify the war in Iraq, which makes him a hero in my book. He referred to a CIA mission he took to Niger in 2002, which found no merit to claims that Iraq was trying to buy weapons-grade uranium. Plame was outed eight days later.

Here's the clincher. Wilson told reporters after the verdict was announced that the conviction shows even a top White House official is subject to the American justice system. "We see this as a reaffirmation that we are a nation of laws, we live in a democracy. The verdict shows no man is above the law."

There you have it, folks. The husband of the victim doesn't seem to have a problem with the fact that Libby is the only person being held accountable. It is almost painfully obvious that Libby is the Bush Administration's Oliver North. I honestly believe a helluva lot more than one top White House official was involved with this massive breech of security.

According to an article in the Washington Post, Wilson, who with his wife has filed a civil lawsuit against Libby and several top administration officials alleging that they disclosed her identity. Why aren't more officials being charged?

Finally, what's the deal with the 1 1/2 to three year sentence if the guy isn't pardoned by his partners in crime? If you or I were convicted of four felonies involving national security, do you really think we'd get off that easy? There are people being held longer than that at GITMO who have never even been charged with a crime, let alone convicted. And I assure you, GITMO is not a summer camp for white collar criminals.

So Mr. Wilson, good luck with the law suits. I'm glad you think justice has been done and that this proves no man is above the law. If it were my wife whose life had been put in danger, I wouldn't have been satisfied quite as easily. Perhaps that's a flaw in my character.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Colin Powell in 2008?

Perhaps the only thing that could get me to vote Republican would be if this man were on the ticket. In I discuss Powell's gig as Bush's Secretary of State and how he regained my trust and respect.

And even though this guy thinks I'm a Ms, The G-Man has a pretty optimistic prediction about who will be President in 2008. I agree 100% with his assessment and hope many others do also.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Remembering A Literary Hero - HST

Yesterday, February 20th, was the second anniversary of the self-caused death of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson was an inspiration to many and an idol to me. His brutal honesty and honest brutality came through in the words he wrot. If he felt it, he wrote it or said it regardless of whether it was the politically correctthing to do. As an example, here's a eulogy he wrote in 1996 for former President Richard Nixon, who he didn't really care for:

SinceI have a couple of dachshunds, I got a laugh out of this quote from the speech:

“He had the fighting instincts of a badger trapped by hounds. The badger will roll over on its back and emit a smell of death, which confuses the dogs and lures them in for the traditional ripping and tearing action. But it is usually the badger who does the ripping and tearing. It is a beast that fights best on its back: rolling under the throat of the enemy and seizing it by the head with all four claws.
That was Nixon's style -- and if you forgot, he would kill you as a lesson to the others. Badgers don't fight fair, bubba. That's why God made dachshunds.”

Hunter is missed by many.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How to be Outstanding

For several years I owned and operated a small residential painting company. I not only was the owner, but the estimator, the PR guy, the customer service guy and sometimes even the helper and laborer. I offered my services for a reasonable price, always tried to give a little extra and did a nice job on the homes I painted. I stayed busy due to word of mouth and was making decent money until… “the fire!”

For those readers who have been thinking about lighting your self on fire, I would highly recommend against doing so.

Don’t do it!

It Hurts!


And you may end up in Indiana!

Just ask anyone who has used old gasoline as an accelerant and then foolishly bent over with a Bic lighter to get the brush pile going. I’m confident they’ll agree that it is not only painful, but makes it very difficult to paint houses while you are growing new skin on your arms, hands, neck and face.

After months of daily debridement followed by more months of being amazed by the human body’s ability to regenerate skin cells, I had a fresh coat of brand new baby skin and a lot of bills. The painting business did not recover and I was looking for work.

I had to find employment and was offered a job as a laborer for a company that built fiber optic networks throughout the country. Considering the overtime pay for the planned 12 hour days, six day weeks and the per diem, the money offered was impressive. The person offering me the job, aware that I had been a successful business owner, expressed concern with offering a menial position. I told him that I would start at the bottom because I knew nothing about the industry, but I also told him I wouldn’t be a laborer for long.

It was late January when I departed Billings, Montana to report to work in northern Indiana. I reported to the shop, to find a crew of well over 100 fiber bums stumbling in to work in the pre-dawn, bone chilling, sub-zero weather. As the crews began to leave for their respective job locations, someone pointed at me, asked if I was a new laborer, pointed to an old toothless guy and said go with him.

An hour later I was dropped off in a cornfield next to an open manhole. The hole in that field contained 18 various colored pipes coming in one side, and 18 others going out the other. My instructions were simple: Watch the hole. As the dentally challenged man, who I later came to know as Smitty, drove off in a cloud of powdery snow, the wind picked up and I realized it was very cold where I was, and I had absolutely no idea where that happened to be. Nor did I know what I was supposed to be watching for in that hole in the middle of that Indiana corn field.

The only thing I really knew about my new job was that I had been assigned to watch that hole and I was being paid well to do it. I stood there in that corn field, thinking at times I would freeze to death. I couldn’t avoid wondering what I had gotten myself into this time. I not only watched that hole, but several times I even crawled into that hole and used it to escape the brutally cold winds coming off of Lake Michigan.

Because I had no place to go, nor any way to get there, I stood there in that field and watched that hole for a bone-chilling six hours before Smitty returned. It was fortunate that he noticed my lunch bucket in the back of his truck and remembered he’d left me watching that damned hole or I may still be there. Unapologetically, Smitty informed me there was a situation 20 miles away and he got redirected. Meanwhile, I shivered.

I’ve always tried to do any job to the best of my abilities and this was no different. I did exactly what I was told to do that day, but this time it wasn’t out of my normal sense of self pride. The plain truth is the only reason Smitty ever saw me again after deserting me in that Indiana corn field that morning had nothing to do with a strong work ethic or dedication on my part. I stayed there simply because I didn’t have the means to go anyplace else.

The next morning at the shop, in front of my new co-workers, the project manager called my name and proceeded to present me with a certificate. I had no choice but to laugh with everyone else as he read the words proclaiming that I was “Out Standing in my Field.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Writing with Focus - Why I'm Nocturnal

For most of my life my words have been the bread and butter of my income. Whether spoken or written, the words that originate in my head have managed to keep food on my table most days of the week. I think that qualifies me as a writer.

Like many writers, I have certain rituals and habits that tend to make others think I’m a bit off. One of them is that I do most of my best work in the middle of the night. The reason I lean toward the nocturnal is that there are very seldom any interruptions at three in the morning and that allows me to get into a thought process and stay there.

Besides, during the day I exist to cater to Blue and Skye, a couple of dachshunds that live in my house. Blue and Skye don’t understand that this is my job. They are certain I stay home so they have someone to hang out with all day.

Skye, the female we obtained to one day be the mother of Blue’s children, thinks my lap is her recliner. She does seem to know when I’m at my desk that there’s a bunch of buttons in front of me that I keep pushing on and she wants to help. The problem is, she’s a lousy typist and doesn’t spell very well.

As soon as I politely explain she has no fingers for typing she cops an attitude. The next words out of her mouth are accusing me of not appreciating her. After I’ve offended her and she’s gone in the other room to tell Blue what a jerk I am, I start feeling kind of bad. After all, she was just trying to help. If nothing else, for such a funny looking little dog, Skye has a huge heart.

But Blue has corrupted her. Before I can even offer a cookie because I hurt her feelings, Blue has told her that what I’d really like is for them to both begin playing with their toys that squeak. “The louder the better,” Blue tells her as they take off into a symphony of their own making. There’s nothing that will take your focus away from writing more quickly than two wiener dogs playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on a rubber cheeseburger and a pink tennis ball. I feign appreciation and listen attentively. Having already told her she’s a lousy typist there’s not a chance in the world you can get me to tell her she’s a poor musician as well.

Following the recital, Skye excuses herself to use the powder room, which is right outside the French doors in my office. Of course Blue has to go out with her. He knows that she’ll need him to bark incessantly at the first sign of one of the hundreds of squirrels that reside in our back yard. Of course her being the helper she is, she’s got to do a lot of barking too.

I swing open the door and yell for their silence, but am ignored. The frantic barking intensifies. I’ve learned the only way to silence the beasts at a moment like this is to hit them with a stream from the super soaker squirt gun I keep next to the door for just this purpose.

It’s empty so I’m standing there yelling and pumping up the squirt gun and shooting out air. By this point the squirrels are not only sticking their tongues out at Blue and Skye, but they’re laughing at me as well. I retreat to the kitchen sink and replenish my ammo. Moments before I return to the door with my weapon fully loaded, the barking dogs and laughing squirrels become silent. Just as I get to the door, Skye leaps at it to let me know she wants in.

I open the door and she rushes past me in a flurry of fur. Blue sits nonchalantly out in the yard looking at me. I say, “Come on, boy!” and he continues to sit, staring blankly. No sooner do I shut the door and return to my desk to look at the blank page where words should be, does Blue start barking again. It’s not the squirrel or cat bark. It’s not the strangers in the yard bark. It’s not even the “I want to come in now” bark. No, it’s the one he uses for no apparent reason whatsoever. Again I command, “Come on, boy!” Again he ignores me.

I take aim with the super soaker and plan my trajectory to ensure I’ll make it over the Dogwoods and hit Blue with the full stream of cold water. If I don’t hit him on the first shot, he will take evasive action. I gently squeeze the trigger.

Bull’s eye! No sooner does the water hit him than he charges toward me. Dachshunds are remarkably quick critters, considering their legs are only two inches long. Blue covers the 25 to 30 feet between us in the blink of an eye! He flies between my legs and head butts Skye who was watching the whole situation unfold from right between my two feet. Now the real fight begins. Blue has weight and experience on his side, but Skye is not at a disadvantage. She’s quick, she’s agile and she’s smart. Plus, she’s a female and they don’t always fight fair.

The ferocious growling, snarling and yelping as these two killers chase each other around in circles is deafening. Blue takes Skye to the ground only to be out-wiggled and then he suffers a swift counter-attack. Skye unexpectedly pulls a Tyson and has Blue’s ear clamped tightly in her jaws. This looks bad for Blue.

But wait. Blue tells Skye that the sun is shining through the window onto their doggie bed and she lets go of his ear, they walk to the bed, curl up and go to sleep. It’s 11 a.m.

Now what was I writing?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Drunks Against Mad Mothers (DAMM) Strike Back With Statistics

It doesn’t matter if you’re a water buffalo, canary, house pet or person, chances are favorable that you are aware of the use of statistics in our lives. Whether you’re being born, voting, living, or dying you are personally involved with statistics. I was forced to take (and pass) a Statistics class prior to receiving my college diploma, even though I claimed to be a conscientious objector.

If you’re wondering what I could have possibly been conscientiously objecting to, it was the whole concept of statistical methods. You see, I’ve watched these little bits of information be used in ways that just are not right. With the correct wording, sentence structure and a little well placed inflection, the results of a study or survey can be, and usually are, manipulated to portray whatever you want them to.

I’m going to use drunken driving statistics to show how this is accomplished. Before everyone starts trying to lynch me let me state that I do not advocate drunk driving in any way, shape or form. I’ve done it hundreds of times and I have finally concluded it’s stupid. Without adequate research and personal knowledge, however, I would not be able to say with any authority how stupid it is. (Disclaimer: The author no longer drives drunk.)

In 1980 an organization called Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was created. Since then, MADD has grown from a small grass roots effort to a national phenomenon and they’ve done it by presenting data about drinking and driving in a manner that renders the population without a means of contesting their claims.

For instance, quotes information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that says in 2005, 39 percent of all traffic fatalities were killed in alcohol-related crashes. That’s 16,895 out of 43,443 people killed in accidents that involved alcohol. That is comparable to one person every half-hour.

This is true. What they don’t tell you though is what I have a problem with.

The term "alcohol-related" doesn’t say the fatality was caused by the presence of alcohol. If a drunk guy is walking down the street and a sober driver runs over him while swerving to miss a herd of penguins, that’s considered an alcohol-related fatality. If a drunk driver in a car gets hit by a sober guy on a bicycle, that’s reported as an alcohol-related fatality. An NHTSA Highway & Vehicle/Safety Report estimated 12 percent of alcohol-related traffic fatalities involve an intoxicated bicyclist or pedestrian and not a drunk behind the wheel of a car.

The NHTSA has also declared “a motor vehicle crash is considered to be alcohol-related if at least one driver or non-occupant (such as a pedestrian or pedal cyclist) involved in the crash is determined to have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 gram per deciliter (g/dL) or higher.” A BAC of .01 is a long way from the .08 that is considered legally intoxicated in the United States.

So when MADD cites statistics saying 39 percent of traffic fatalities, or 16,885 people, were killed in alcohol-related crashes, we now know that 2,024 of those deaths weren’t the result of someone drinking and driving an automobile. Out of the remaining 14,859 fatalities, it’s estimated that 15 percent or 2,228 fatalities involved someone with a BAC less than .08 which is not even legally intoxicated. That leaves us with 12,631 out of 43,443 traffic fatalities actually caused by drunken drivers. That comes out to 29 percent and not the 39 percent being cited by MADD.

If we then consider that 29 percent of all traffic fatalities in this country are caused by drunk drivers, wouldn’t that indicate, statistically speaking of course, that 71 percent of all traffic fatalities are caused by sober people? Who is causing more deaths on our nation’s roads, drunks or sober folks? Who should MADD really be mad at?

Another statistic I came across while researching for this article has left me scratching my head and asking, “Huh?”

According to a study released by Loyola University Health Systems, safety belts were found wrapped around 12.8 percent of fatally injured intoxicated drivers, while a whopping 33 percent of sober drivers killed in crashes were buckled in. These statistics tell me that 87.2 percent of drunks not wearing seat belts walked away from accidents while only 67 percent of sober people not buckled up were able to walk away.

And that’s why I despise the word statistics. Statistics tell me that sober folks cause more fatal accidents than drunks. So why aren’t the people not drinking and driving breaking the law, being arrested and sent to jail, followed by a treatment program that teaches them the basics of drinking and driving?

And why would there be such a huge push for people to buckle up when clearly the numbers tell us that more people die while wearing their seat belts and not drinking?

Based on this information, I suggest everyone get naked, open a beer and go for a ride without any protection…. from seatbelts I mean.