Wednesday: 28.February.2007

On the Rad Road to Recovery

Back Bay Loop bike path: Newport Beach, California Last day of February. (Hooray! my least favorite month). Tomorrow begins March, which brings first day of spring (vernal equinox, 21st). And none too soon.

Speaking of tomorrow .. that's the First Thursday Art Walk (here in Laguna) .. for those of you who live locally. Perhaps we'll see you out on the town tomorrow night.

In other news, I definitely have a sense (after injuring my back) that I need a recovery. No longer in debilitating pain, just not feeling very robust.

Whenever I feel the need to recuperate (like now), I always make a crock of my nuclear grade stew (which makes me feel grounded) and exercise out in nature (which I find emotionally rejuvenating).

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I made the stew last weekend (with lamb shoulder, it's all gone now). And my new exercise stomping ground (Crystal Cove) is the Back Bay, ~ a mile away, in Newport Beach.

I have two pictures for you. Here's how the Back Bay looks at > sunRISE. And here's how it looks at > sunSET.

There's a path (paved) that takes you all the way around the Back Bay (an estuary, where sea water meets fresh). I usually ride my bike there (actually, Julie's bike .. Julie, by the way, is skiing in Mammoth this week). The entire trip (all the way around) is ~10 miles. The ride is especially nice on a sunny, warm afternoon. Definitely a special (therapeutic) place.

(Note: the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the entire US. Anybody familiar with the novel by Michener > Chesapeake?)

Lots of other folks out riding, running, walking & roller-blading. One guy was being pulled along on his skateboard by a dog. And I even saw two people on horseback.

I was feelings pretty strong before the injury, so (hopefully) I should be back up to normal operating speed (NOS) in no time.

The problem with the back, I've determined, is simply that the bug is getting heavy .. and it's hard to get anywhere very fast without carrying him. I mean, his isn't going to leave the part of his own volition .. not when he's having lots of fun. So therein lies the rub. (No more mornings like THIS.)

Posted by Rad at Wednesday: 28February2007

Monday: 26.February.2007

Martin Scorsese (finally) Wins Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Director

Scorsese finally won his Oscar for Best Director (for the Departed). I like how it was presented by three other directors:> Spielberg, Lucas & (my favorite) Coppola. Very dramatic.

But .. how do you actually evaluate a director's performance? I mean, no one who votes for Best Director is present there (on the set) while the director is doing his job. All we have to go by is the final product (the film).

Can you tell from (viewing) the film how well of a job the director did? Really? How?

And look at the cast Scorsese had to work with > Jack, Leonardo, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen. I mean, who *couldn't* direct such a cast of actors? (at the top of their game)

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Now if you take a group of *unknown* actors (ordinary schmucks), and extract from them Oscar-caliber perfromances, then yeah, I say you're a bona fide directing stud.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of Scorsese. I'm not saying he didn't deserve the award. I'm merely sharing long-standing questions I've had regarding how the award for Best Director is determined.

[Side note: Alfred Hitchcock, who some say is the best director ever, never received an Oscar (for Best Director), despite being nominated 5 times. Neither did Stanley Kubrick.]

I have broached this topic before .. with various (graduate) Film school students, and they all claim there are ways you can tell (how well a job the direct did). But none of them have ever been able to tell me exactly what those ways are.

Anyway, glad Martin won. I saw the Departed back in October, when it first came out and was impressed, putting it (you may recall) on my official Recommended list. "Well made" are words that come to mind regarding this film.

If it didn't win, I would've lost what little respect I have for the Academy's claim to judge excellence. Some film buffs, on the other hand, feel you won't know for 10 or 20 years what films are *really* the best.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search pre-configured for the query: martin scorsese oscar academy award best director departed

Posted by Rad at Monday: 26February2007

Sunday: 25.February.2007

Magoo Publishes Guide to Linux

Magoo posted his (long awaited) Linux guide today. Lucky you. No easy task. Nine pages. Nicely done. Great info, as you'll see.

He hit all the key topics. Everything you need to get started. The site's cool factor just jumped a notch. See here > INTRO TO LINUX

Magoo (from Arizona) has plenty of experience with Linux. First-hand experience is something we at Radified prize.

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Linux is a powerful operating system. Everybody should download a distro and install it on their system. Linux is fun to explore and free.

Magoo prefers Ubuntu, which, like many Linux distros, offers both a Desktop and Server version. Yes, you can install both on your system (called multi-booting).

The Radified server (physically located in downtown Los Angeles), which served you the page you're currently reading, runs off of the Linux distro CentOS.

In other news, the Oscars air tonight. I am fairly disgusted with the Oscars, cuz they rarely award the most deserving films and actors. But yeah, I'll still watch. The Oscars are a big deal here in SoCal, being home to Hollywood.

Posted by Rad at Sunday: 25February2007

Saturday: 24.February.2007

Reflecting on Source of Painful Injured Back

Like a rider who climbs back on the horse that threw him, I returned yesterday to the same park (in Laguna) where I hurt my back (two weeks ago).

Yesterday was the first day my back actually felt good .. tho, in the days following the injury, it felt like it might never recover.

In reflecting, trying to understand the injury, how it happened, and (more importantly) how I might ensure it never happens again .. I feel, intuitively, the injury was due, not to a weak back, but rather to being tired.

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Two weeks ago, I had been pushing it > late nights, early mornings, running hard .. (trying to burn off the stress I was feeling).

And it was this fatigue (I surmise) that led to the bad lifting mechanics, which caused the injury. Everyone understands how fatigue can lead to bad decisions and sloppy mechanics.

So my conclusion is > rest is important, even when you're feeling stressed .. especially when you're feeling stressed.

Back in the day, in my 20's (living the aloha dream in Hawaii), I could get away with the vampire lifestyle. I was invincible, bulletproof, one bad hombré. But it has become (painfully) clear I'm no longer the hotrod I once was. Aging (physically speaking) suks.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search pre-configured for the query: back injury pain

Posted by Rad at Saturday: 24February2007

Friday: 23.February.2007

No Longer a Baby, The Bug is Now a Little Man

Back in the day, in my 20's (living the aloha dream in Hawaii), I could get away with the vampire lifestyle. I was invincible, bulletproof, one bad hombré. But it has become (painfully) clear I'm no longer the hotrod I once was. Aging (physically speaking) suks.

Every few weeks, I take the bug back to Laguna, to the place he was born. We begin by visiting the old neighborhood, where we were living at the time.

"There's your old house," I say as we drive up. "Do you remember?" "Dada's house," he usually replies, pointing.

Not sure he remembers living there, since he was only 5 months when he left. It must feel something like a déjà vu for him. I can almost hear the gears in his head turning, as his eyes scan the scene.

The new occupants don't seem to mind our nostalgic snooping, and the old neighbors enjoy seeing how much he has grown. Just this week, several people observed, "he's no longer a baby" .. that he has finally become "a little man".

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I agree. Something is different. Like a baby chick that breaks out of its shell, I can finally glimpse what he'll be like full-grown.

It's an encouraging picture. He seems happy, healthy and emotionally secure. Sociable and fun-loving. Athletic. Easy to get along with. No tantrums. He laughs much and cries very little. So I have a feeling of accomplishment.

The whole parenting experience, for me, has been an adventure. It's based (I've come to believe) primarily on *instincts*, hard-wired deep in our subconscious. Which is why I have trouble understanding how some dads want nothing to do with their children. I don't get it. Where are their instincts?

My instincts (which are unmistakable) prompt me to provide him with as much (unconditional) love and affection as I can, in the limited time I have him each week. And if this means pushing it when I'm tired .. then, so be it. I can always rest on days when I don't have him.

I heard (in my court-ordered co-parenting classes) that the first three years are most important, developmentally. My hope is that he'll come to associate his earliest memories with feelings of being loved and appreciated.

We spent yesterday afternoon at the beach, exploring tide pools at Crescent Bay & Shaw's Cove. There we found purple urchins, green sea anemones, and orange starfish - all of which he insisted on touching.

The most frequent comment I hear from others is how developed his language skills seem. ("He talks good for two.") Yesterday at the beach, he learned three more words, tho has trouble pronouncing anemone .. which sounds more like enemy. =)

Posted by Rad at Friday: 23February2007

Wednesday: 14.February.2007

Update on the Back Injury

My back is definitely improving, tho not as quickly as I'd like. Still stiff. (Have a heating pad on it now.)

Thanks for all your letters. The in-box was filled with sage advice from readers the world over. Apparently, the problem is more common than I realized.

I never cease to be impressed by the intelligence of those writing in. That's one of the perks of having a site such as this > I get to hear from (& dialogue with) interesting, articulate people from all over the the planet.

Must admit, I loved hearing your tales of woe (back trouble). Cuz (as you know) misery loves company.

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Lotsa recommendations to see a chiropractor, some for an acupuncturist, and a few to take up yoga. Also learned about Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. And no, needles are not for me.

Some readers however, wrote to say this injury was God's way of punishing me for talking ugly about our president. (Uh, I disagree.)

Oddly enough, sniffing hurts, tho sneezing does not. Weird, huh? Twisting hurts more than bending.

I read the injury should be iced the first 24-48 hours (to minimize swelling), and heat applied thereafter (to promote healing).

I hit the sauna (heat) the first day, which might be why I woke in such pain the next morning. Lesson learned (the hard way, unfortunately).

Most sources advise *using* the muscles after the first two days, to encourage healing. Complete healing (they claim) usually comes within 2 weeks.

I get the bug tomorrow, so I don't have 2 weeks. Looks like I'll be opting for drugs .. to make up the difference.

I haven't had any coffee the last few days, so my dang head has been pounding. Also feel like I'm starting to catch a cold. Sometimes I feel like somebody should just come over and put me out of my misery. (I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to find a volunteer.)

I checked my bio-rhythms, which shows my physical attribute as bottoming out:

• Physical: Your energy seems gone. You feel listless. • Emotional: You feel even-tempered. Enjoy it long as you can. • Intellectual: Finish pending tasks quickly, so you don't have to do them when things are worse.

Update: I broke down & took some Motrin. What a difference! Almost feel human again. Feels like somebody kicked me in the back .. instead of feeling like I got ran over. This I can handle. Better living thru chemistry.

Posted by Rad at Wednesday: 14February2007

Saturday: 10.February.2007

Falling Apart at the Seams

Few days ago, I bit into a granola bar and busted a tooth. Ouch. Might've been a shell in there. Felt like I bit into a rock. Knew it wasn't good from the explosive, crunching sound.

A corner of my bottom-molar broke off, size of a grain of rice. Small, but feels like a cavern to my tongue, which continually probes the sharp edges.

My left shoulder has also been sore the last few weeks (especially when I try to raise my arm), from carrying the bug, I speculate.

Not sure, but he's starting to get heavy, and that's the arm I use, to keep my right hand free for things requiring manual dexterity.

Then yesterday, while at Crescent Bay Point Park (in Laguna), I picked him up at an awkward angle (using bad mechanics, lifting him with my arms extended, while twisted at the waist) and tweaked my lower back. Felt it go *zing*.

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"Ooh," I thought, "That's not good." Didn't seem too bad at the time, but I could hardly climb out of bed this morning. Climbing in-n-out of the Rad-mobile is murder.

So .. busted tooth, bum shoulder and a geriatric back .. I'm falling apart at the seams. Won't even mention how my eyesight is failing (need reading glasses).

I'm usually good at stress-management, but sometimes the stress on the inside has a way of working its way out, and I have several sources of stress in my life. Tho nothing that a few days at Two Bunch couldn't cure.

Posted by Rad at Saturday: 10February2007

Tuesday: 06.February.2007

The War in Iraq: A Voter's Perspective

Can't sleep. Things on my mind. Might be a good time to share my views on the war in Iraq.

In the spirit is civil disobedience, espoused by the likes of Thoreau, King & Gandhi, I offer this protest with a sense of duty.

When I think of the war in Iraq, the first thing that comes to mind is incompetence, followed closely by deception, political myopia and the waste of both lives and treasure.

Makes me ashamed to be an American. Most Americans now regard the war in Iraq as the single worst foreign-policy blunder since Viet Nam, and maybe in our nation's history (we don't yet know how bad it will turn out).

Heck, even the Dixie Chicks could see, back in 2003, that invading Iraq was a bad idea. (As did Bush-41, following the first Gulf war.) And now it looks like we're planning to repeat those same mistakes in Iran. It's déjà vu all over again.

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For those who haven't been paying attention, .. our government claims that (basically) they screwed up in Iraq so bad that - 4 years after proclaiming the Mission Accomplished - we now can't leave. Even worse, we actually need to send *more* brave young men to die in Iraq's civil war (they're calling this troop increase a 'surge').

It's generally accepted that Evangelicals put GWB into office (both times), .. cuz I'm sure they felt he was a "man of God" (or at least that's what my hard-core Christian friends told me).

George even claimed to have heard the voice of God, telling him to invade Iraq. I'm convinced Evangelicals were duped by dub-ya, cuz he learned how to speak their lingo.

If it's true what the bible says: Ye shall know them by their fruit, which (in this case) happens to include death, destruction, record debt, lies, deception, torture, poverty at a 32-year high, and (among other things) a military that experts claim is on the verge of breaking .. then whose voice do you reckon George is listening to?

Still, many of my Christian friends won't admit voting to re-elect the president was a mistake. Reminds me of an investor who buys a bad stock, yet refuses to admit he miscalculated, while he watches the price of his stock continue to sink.

Some speculate the last remaining hold-outs in the president's approval rating consist of Evangelicals who are having trouble seeing the light on Iraq. (+ those who earn more than $200K per year) I keep telling them: "Look at the fruit. (The modern translation of this scripture is: Actions speak louder than words.) Do you really believe a God of peace approves of all this unprovoked death & destruction?"

And what does this say about the average Evangelical? .. who I'm sure prayed about his decision regarding who should get his vote?? I can see (kinda, sorta) how someone might've gone along with the war at its outset .. cuz there was tons of mis-information being spread, in an attempt to justify leading nation into war ...

... but now .. it's really clear what's going on .. as we've heard from a wagonload of sources .. to the point people feel compelled to cry out in protest. Ignorance (of the facts) is no longer an excuse.

Anybody else having trouble reconcilling the way the administration used information they knew to be false, regarding "yellow cake uranium from Niger" (and then lied about what they knew) in order to lead the nation to invade & occupy a nation that posed us no threat .. with the bible's description of the salt of the earth. Salt is a preservative, no? Wars destroy.

Even the most pro-Bush evangelical however, should understand that - if it really were "God's will" for us to invade Iraq - then there would be no need for the president to *lie* about the reasons for going to war.

Anyway, I predict it will be a long time before we elect another man who knows how to use the name Jesus , and manipulate Evangelicals, the way George (& Rove) did.

If any of you Evangelicals happen to see the president, do me a favor and tell him to read Mark 4:22: For there is nothing hid, save that it should be manifested; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light. If he would've known that, we wouldn't be in this mess.

If someone believes in Armageddon, do you suppose those beliefs might affect the decisions he makes? I doubt the Prince of Peace wanted George to lead this nation into a such a mess, which has wrought so much death & destruction.

I also contend that, in 2001, if you would've asked a group of our best minds to sit down and come up with a strategy to wreck havoc in both our nation and the world, they wouldn't have been able to come up with anything as effective as what our leaders have been able to accomplish these past six years.

Furthermore, my contention has been, following September 11th, 2001, that those in power demonstrated incompetence the minute that first airliner crashed into the World Trade Center, and therefore lost the right to continue governing our country. They should have either resigned or been "encouraged" to step down, because they failed at their #1 responsibility: to keep the American people safe.

Are we even *looking* for Osama bin Laden any more? .. you remember > the guy responsible for bringing down the World Trade Center towers on 9-11. What ever happen to "Dead or alive"?

You hear members of Congress claiming that the current debate on the war in Iraq gives "aid-n-comfort" to the terrorists. Let me tell you what *really* gives "aid-n-comfort" to the terrorists:> the fact that - 6 years after 9-11 - the #1 terrorist in the world (Osama bin Laden) is still free. The United States is unable to bring this man to justice.

Yeah, that's what really gives aid & comfort to the enemy. You can almost hear bin Laden taunting us:> "Nah, nah - you can't catch me .. cuz you have no energy."

The administration now has a clear track record. We know them. The trend is not good and it's not going to get better. Doesn't take a genius to see that.

Most agree the President is in denial about Iraq, which shouldn't surprise anybody, since denial is the very nature of the alcoholic.

As a side-note, doesn't it seem odd that the singular gift of this administration is the ability to divide people? Here in our country, people are divide over things they have done & said. Even his own party is divided over his policies. In Iraq, Sunni & Shia are killing each other in record numbers. Across the globe, the world is at odds with American foreign policy. What is the source of such divisiveness?

My final point today pertains to the Senate's resolution against the surge, and how some claim this goes against supporting the troops. Can't believe anybody is actually trying to pawn off this dysfunctional logic as credible. I contend that sending more troops to Iraq (where they can be shot at, blown up, killed or maimed is *really* not "supporting the troops" .. most of whom don't agree with the war anyway. How twisted the thinking in Washington has become.

All this talk by the government od supporting the troops is baloney. The best way to support the troops .. is to bring them home.

I'd feel better about the war in Iraq if more than a few members of congress had a son fighting there. You could be assured, that if every politician in Washington had to send a son or daughter to Iraq to fight in this upcoming surge, there would be no surge. (And there'd be no war.)

The president came out of the oil industry, and the Veep came out of the defense industry. Funny how those two industries have profited most under this administration. Well, it's not really funny. More shameless than anything. If you build bombs or drill oil, you're sitting pretty.

If I needed a single word to describe our government these past six years, I'd have to choose inept.

When they write the book, Decline & Fall of the United States, I'm afraid chapter 1 will begin like so: The election of George W. Bush, the 43rd POTUS, and son of former president George Herbert Walker Bush, was decided on December 12, 2000 by the United States Supreme Court following a legal battle lasting more than a month....

The really *sad* thing, and the thing we need to keep in mind .. is that there are still boys dying in Iraq. Iraq may be important (especially to the president's legacy) but it's certainly not worth dying for.

And certainly, the president's legacy is not worth dying for. (which bears repeating)

I think it's becoming clearer, what Kerry meant when he said, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" .. especially when you yourself avoided serving in Vietnam. (Takes big cojones to send boys to die in a foreign land when you wouldn't go yourself. Big credibility gap.)

The infuriating thing is that .. we've been thru this bullshit already .. back in the 60's. Remember that old Who protest song: Won't Get Fooled Again? .. with its lyrics (1971):

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Then I'll get on my knees and pray...
We don't get fooled again

Who's gonna pay for this war, anyway? Are we dumping the debt onto our children? It's clear that we'll be paying for the mistakes of this president for generations to come.

Congress should post a large Debt Clock right above the Speaker's chair, so they can see what effect their decisions are having.

National Debt Clock

Does no one remember what happened to the mighty Soviet Red Army when it invaded Afganistan? The returned home 10 years later. Defeated by guys living in caves, who wore towels on their heads. That was the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union.

Regarding the proposed "surge" .. does anyone else feel as if the president gave us-voters a political middle finger, following the elections of November 7th? .. when the will of the people was made clear. What kind of public servant hears from the electorate and does the exact opposite?

We have *names* for leaders who follow their own agendas, contrary to the expressed will of the people. And none of them are very flattering. What kind of leader ignores the will of the people to pursue his own agenda ... at the expense of the lives of others?

We can put an end to this .. no matter *what* the Decider says. They're already had this thing 4 years now. If they were gonna turn things around, they woulda done it by now. Heck, even WWII didn't last this long.

My biggest fear is that the president will resent meddling by the Congress and attempt to sabotage Iraq by attacking Iran. Like a boy who refuses to share his bat and ball, he might say, "If I can't have it *my* way..." as he heads for home and ruins the game for everyone.

This video pretty much sums it up, chronicling the long list of mistakes .. begining with the assertion that Iraq had WMDs. (Remember that?)

If there's one thing the 60's taught us, it's that, when we see our leaders committing senseless acts of bullshit on a grand scale, we have a *duty* .. to cry out in protest .. or in the common venacular .. to call bullshit.

And when we see soldiers dying needlessly, and mega-debt being passed on to future generations .. that's a good sign senseless bullshit is being committted. We need a bumper-sticker that says: This War is Bullshit

When the war in Iraq is all said & done, what do *you* think will be the total number of dead US soldiers? Right now, that number stands at 3120.

I think the reason the war in Iraq torques me is cuz I grew up in the nuclear industry, and operating a reactor plant on a nuke sub, .. where incompetence can be deadly. Screw-ups in important matters shouldn't get a second chance.

Anybody remember the 1st Gulf war? Now *that's* how war should be done. Fast & efficient, with the world on your side.

In closing, I will simply add that the money we spent (are spending) in Iraq could've been better spent. Far better .. than on bombs & bullets.

The end. For more along these lines, here's a Google search pre-configured for the query-string: iraq+war

Sources:

The Nation • Wikipedia • CNN • Russian site • Polls • University of Michigan • Iraq War Timeline • Iraq War pictures (grusome) • Historical background • Iraq War Facts

Iraq War Statistics • When did the Iraq War start? • How did the Iraq War start? • Veterans Against Iraq War • BBC • Aljazeera • New York Times

Why do our leaders feel more military will solve our problems, when it was the unnecessary use of military that got us into this mess in the first place? Does not their reasoning seem irrational? (It's certainly ironic.)

Posted by Rad at Tuesday: 06February2007

Sunday: 04.February.2007

More Adventures in Co-Parenting

Spent the day playing Rad dad. I donated the balance of my allotted time this weekend to his mom .. long as she agreed to let me take him to church today.

It's nice to be able to sing a few songs with him. (Today, for example, they played Amazing Grace.) The whole Christian theology (as you know) is predicated upon a father/son relationship.

I befriended with the worship leader (soon to be a dad himself), who let the bug run around on stage after the service, exploring the various musical instruments there.

My objective, in donating my time this weekend, was an attempt to help foster co-parenting harmony.

The bug will soon be at the age where he starts questioning things like, "Why doesn't mommy & daddy live together? .. like other moms & dads do?"

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I think a harmonious relationship with his mom would help minimize any negative aspects associated with the answer to that question.

Along those lines .. I received a call from his mom last week, saying she was keeping him on my normal day of visitation, cuz (she claimed) he was sick.

This wasn't the first time this has happened, despite the fact that court documents clearly state sickness is not a valid reason to withhold visitation. (Either parent can care for a child equally well.)

Sure, I coulda made a stink, and went over there waiving a copy of the court order. But I let her keep him. (I didn't even call back.)

And, it just so happens that she always pulls this on days when I'm supposed to get him for overnight visits, which hurts even more, cuz I look forward to spending time with him. Then at the last minute...

And he *never* seems sick the next day (when she*does* let me have him). Miraculous healing?

This week however, he was clingy the next day .. wanting to be held .. wouldn't let me put him down .. which naturally concerned me .. cuz he's never clingy. He's normally independent and adventurous.

Why does a normally-secure child suddenly become insecure? The human mind (as you know) tends to imagine the worst. It's a horrible, sinking feeling.

On a more positive note, the most common comment I get from other parents is, "He talks good" (for his age). Since he's my only one, I have nothing to compare him with.

His latest verbal declaration was the protest, "No gotta go." .. when we were playing at the park, and I tell him, "Okay, we gotta go now."

I'm also teaching him a few Spanish words, such as the words for horse, water, here, chicken, steak, beans, spicy, bathroom...

Don't know if I'll *ever* get used to this part-time dad thing. Seems so .. unnatural. Doing the best I can .. giving him as much love & affection & attention as I can .. in the limited time I have him each week

Posted by Rad at Sunday: 04February2007