Actualities, Certainties, and Factoids

25 Actualities, Certainties, and FactoidsOkay, I give in. I’ve been tagged about a billion times to post 25 silly little tidbits of self-centered trivia so that others may indulge their voyeuristic ways. But hey, we’re all voyeurs. So on with the show-n-tell.

1) I am a Christian and have strong faith in God. I voted for Obama. I am pro-choice, anti-abortion and pro sexual education. I believe in evolution. I believe creation came first. I believe Adam and Eve were real but that the story was written so that we could comprehend it. Because of of my Obama vote, a Christian brother once called me “less of a Christian”. I am not that kind of Christian.

2) I’ve always been severely ADHD but wasn’t properly diagnosed until age 32.

3) ADHD drugs changed my life horribly. ADHD drugs changed my life wonderfully. The horrible part is now in the past. The wonderful part continues.

4) I have two acoustic guitars, three awesome electric guitars, one bass guitar, four amps, a mandolin, and a full set of drums, but I’m a horrible musician.

5) I have a slight obsession with not being defeated.

6) That person who everyone calls when his or her computer malfunctions, I’m that guy.

7) I am a complete Mac snob. I can’t understand why everyone hasn’t figured out that a Mac is a far superior computer. You’ll never go back, I promise.

8) My father died when I was 10-years-old. It profoundly affected me then as it does now. As I near the age of my father when he died, I’ve found myself truly appreciating some of those important things that we all frequently take for granted.

9) I will spend hours on end tweaking one photo until I believe it’s as perfect as it can be.

10) I never finished a novel until I was 32-years-old (see #2)

11) I worked on a island one summer during college and at the Grand Canyon the following summer.

12) An incident while hiking/camping in the mountains during 8th-grade caused me to dig a hole and burry my underwear.

13) I was honored with two Emmy Awards, a National Headliner Award, and approximately 20 AP & RTNDAC Awards during my time as a TV news journalist.

14) I’ve come to the realization that I have issues, and so does everyone else.

15) I still have several great friends from high school with whom I continue to keep in contact, and did so before Facebook.

16) Buddy Baily and I once heated up a quarter to a red glow and tossed it in the hallway during change of class. Mr. Kornhaus found out, pulled both of us out of our following classes and went ballistic.

17) I think that the strengths of women are egregiously underestimated most of the time.

18) I’ve interviewed astronauts, murders, presidents, rapists, rock stars, famous athletes, and even Billy Graham. I’ve seen a man’s brains put into a body bag with a shovel, a burned body hanging out of a bus and the aftermath of a day-trader’s killing spree. I’ve searched for Eric Robert Rudolph in the mountains of North Carolina. I’ve covered the Susan Smith trial, the 1996 Olympics and the shootings of police officers. I’ve stood on an overflowing mound of pot in the bed of a truck . I’ve done live shots from three hurricanes, flown in a hot air balloon, and hung from the skids of a sheriff’s helicopter while shooting video. Still, the best part about being in TV news was the ordinary, every-day person who trusted me enough to tell his or her ordinary, every-day story.

19) I’m taking three days vacation this coming April to go see the Grateful Dead in Boston. It will be my 11th and 12th times. The first 10 were with Jerry.

20) Being a daddy of two daughters has presented a big challenge to me when it comes to playtime. It’s tough for a man who grew up destroying things to play with dolls, frilly stuff, and other things that are pink.

21) I have the most wonderful wife in the entire world. We may not always agree on things, but she is always there for me.

22) The most important thing that I’ve learned while working at Clemson University is that education in any form is all about taking something and making it meaningful to someone.

23) I’d rather look at html code and java script instead of internet porn.

24) I once watch several emergency room doctors and nurses work on a 14-year-old boy who was still wearing his football practice pants and cleats when he arrived unconscious. The boy’s mother, father, younger sister, and football coach were all watching, too. Then I watched the doctors stop and pronounce the boy dead. I can still hear the screams of his mother.

25) I believe that being rich has nothing to do with money and everything to do with trust, family and personal integrity.

 

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First SC Apple Store Opens at Clemson University, More Coming

Clemson Apple Store Worlds Beyond RittmanFinally! With the departure of CompUSA, the Upstate–all of SC actually–has been jonesin’ for Apple pieces and parts. Well the wait is over. The first Apple store has opened its doors on the campus of Clemson University. This is the first of a rumored three openings in the state.


As most of you can see, I’m departing from my usual photo/video blogging to bring you this news. Why? It’s simple really. Macs rock. Apple simply has the best OS on the market today. Also, access to this information is pretty easy for me. I work on campus. Oh wait, one more thing, MS Vista sucks worse than Windows 95. Yes, I am a Mac snob. You should be, too. …and on with the news.

Mac users once hid in the shadows around the Tiger campus. They occasionally found a little relief in the form of help from those within the School of Education, the only people on campus who know better. Most of the time, however, computer support on campus had the standard solution to all Mac problems…”We don’t support Macs.”

Oh how things change. Mac users at Clemson University are now getting a huge support…in a big, over-the-top way. Clemson Computing and Internet Technology (CCIT) has opened a retail Apple store in the heart of campus. Located in the Loggia of the University Union, the Apple store now offers all Clemson users the convenience, affordability and personal attention of a local outlet at prices even better than online or the regular educational discounts. Plus, you can receive personalized service and advising on products and features.

“The goal of the store is to offer our customers the products, services and information they desire as we (CCIT) provide better support for this growing community of Mac users,” explains Jason Domke, director of CCIT’s business office.

The Clemson Apple Store, the first in South Carolina, carries a full selection of Apple products including laptops, iPods, monitors and accessories. Currently, customers can take advantage of a special Back-to-School offer from Apple and receive a free iPod with the purchase of one of the recommended Apple laptops. [source ]

Rumor #1 – A Store in Greenville
New store coming to Magnolia Park. This city’s site was originally planned for Haywood Mall, but there was no appropriate space. So in August 2007 Apple switched to this 670,000 s.f. town center being created after the former mall was demolished along I-85. It will include retail, retaurants, cinema, offices and hotel space on 65 acres. It would be the second-largest mall in the state, and the first Apple store in the state. Mall opens in Fall 2009. [source]

Rumor # 2 – A Store in Charleston
This once-seedy section of downtown has been turned into the “SoHo of the South,” with many familiar Apple store neighbors (J. Crew, Abercrombie, GAP, Pottery Barn, etc.). The street offers 500,000 s.f. of retail and is 96% occupied. Apple reps visited the city’s Department of Economic Development in mid-2006, snapped site photos and asked about zoning/heritage approval procedures for a space renovation. Speculation is on 301 King St., a 2-story brick building formerly occupied by the Cumberland’s Pub & Grill. An architectural design proposal was submitted to the city review board on March 3, 2008. Job listings posted June 9, 2008. Could open by late summer, 2008. [source ]

Mac OS X Buckeye Edition, Mac OSX Wallpaper Ohio State University Buckeyes Columbus Macintosh Apple Free Apple Wallpaper

For all of you Ohio State Buckeye Mac Users, feel free to download one of my latest Wallpaper designs – Mac OS X Buckeye Edition.

 

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Be A Man, Find Your Purpose


I know because I feel it, too. Thirty-something with a good job, a great family, and some cool toys acquired over the first half-ish of your professional working career. You want more, but more of what? That sense, the little feeling, what is it?


I measure up. I have a house. It’s not as big as the houses of my friends. I earn a decent salary. It’s not as much as I believe I’m worth and it certainly doesn’t measure up to those friends who have the bigger house…and the new Honda with the duel-screen DVD player. You know who I’m talking about, the family that seem to take the trips that I want to provide for my family.


That guy who has the bigger house, the new car, and travels the world with the confidence of Indiana Jones, he feels the same way you do.


Thoreau it all a way and find your Walden. (It took me nearly 30 seconds to think of that) This is where purpose resides.


Look, I’m not saying that you have to toss that cool new Mac Air, stop using deodorant and wipe your ass with surrounding roughage. I’m talking real change, the kind that takes place in your heart, mind and soul. I’m talking the hard kind of change.


It was a two-step reality check that set my sail. I nearly lost my family and God stepped into my life.


Now, before you write me off as some Christian zealot waiting until the middle of my musings to spring my trap of damnation, take a second to realize that I’m writing about what worked for me. I’m writing about concepts, not fire and brimstone. I don’t even know what brimstone is or why it’s pejoratively coupled with fire. Heck, I don’t even know if I can use pejorative as an adverb…but I did. Call me crazy.


Out of a sense of something between curiosity and guilt, coupled with a strangely unexplainable desire, I attended Promise Keepers in Atlanta, Summer 2006. The speakers captivated me. I was a bit freaked out at the same time by 16,000 men cheering across Philips Arena, “Yes, yes, yes we do. We love Jesus, how bout you”. I’ve always considered myself a Christian, but not one that screams about it. Seems a little preacher-with-bullhorn-ish to me, but whateveah’.


After a day-and-a-half filled with biblically-centered motivational speak, comedians, and a killer rock show (I don’t even like Christian rock), I emerged with three concepts that changed my life forever. In theory, only one deals with God. In my reality, they all do. I’ll get the God one out of the way first.


Concept #1: God has created everyone for a purpose. Purpose has nothing to do with money, power, or fame. You will be who you are, period. Finding who you are is nothing more than being mercilessly truthful with yourself beyond the point of mental fatique. Then–this is the hard part–you have to accept it.


Concept #2: The only way to face life full-bore is by enlisting the strength of another. Personally, I choose God/spirituality/holy spirit/whatevah to help me. This hasn’t been easy, but it has given me more than I could have ever achieved on my own. Now remember, I’m explaining a concept here. Tracking me? Concept. That concept is that if you believe you can do life solo, you’re traveling a path of disappointment. You have to give it up, your mind, body and soul. Make yourself emotionally vulnerable and you become stronger.


Concept #3: Become the leader of your family: Say what you will, but I believe that there can be only one king, one leader at the top of the chain making the FINAL decisions. The reality is this (I am so going to take it on the chin for this one), women want men to be the leader of the family. In a family, especially one with at least one child, (most) women desire the man to be the provider. They want the man to make the hard decisions. They want the man to take care of the stereotypical man stuff along with being rock-solid on all matters.


I’m NOT saying that women should be subservient. I’m NOT saying that a man should make all decisions without consulting his wife. Or without giving her the respect that she deserves. I am NOT saying that the woman ranks second in the household. And I am NOT saying that a woman would simply fall apart without a man. C’mon, people, everyone knows that women are smarter and usually more rational than men. Hell, I would fall apart without my wife; she holds me together and makes our family run.


Leadership is a trait lacking in the majority of people; it’s not usually something that we are taught in school, and it’s a hard concept to understand. Most intelligent people will actually decline such positions of authority simply because it’s difficult, extremely stressful, and gives more responsibility than most people want. The fact remains, however, all families need leadership.


Be a leader by being a humble servant to your family. Include your wife in all major and semi-major decisions. Give her opinions as much–if not more–weight than your own.

Be decisive. Trust yourself. Do not waiver in that which you believe. Have your “yes” mean yes and your “no” mean no in all matters.

Discipline your children after thinking intelligently about the “crime” committed. Most adults don’t understand that children desire discipline. They need it, and they want rules. Enforcement should be out of love, not anger. Wait until you are no longer angry before allowing the child to learn that all actions have consequences. Beating NEVER helps a child understand the meaning of integrity and trust.

Give to your family what they most desire from you. Don’t presume to know, you have to ask. THIS is what it means to provide for your family. And when you do, they will give you—without even thinking about it—that for which men yearn most, to be respected and admired.


There is one last thing, but I didn’t learn this from Promise Keepers. Be open to the thought of God and spirituality. If other things aren’t working for you, explore. Christians won’t bite you. They won’t stone you for having once cheated on your wife. They won’t make you do anything that you don’t want to do. Think of it as knowledge being power. You once explored the alphabet, and now you can read. Now you can choose to read or not read any thing you wish. Your decisions are based on an intelligent understanding of how words work, not a preconceived notion of how letters fit in a particular order to form words….um…you know what I’m saying.


A great place to start without having to face all of those silly Christian people on Sunday morning is a book by Lee Strobel, a journalist, an agnostic journalist, who set out prove or disprove the myth of Jesus in A Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence.

 

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A Pedophile Is Exploiting My Child

It was an odd Website name. It appeared in my statistics as one hit at first. I started investigating when the hits became ten. I nearly puked when I discovered that an image of my four-year-old little girl was on a Website catering to pedophiles.

I found his name and address. He’s proud of what he does. He likes the attention because he feels he is doing do a service to this country by defending the first amendment.

I made a complaint to the business from where he rents server space. The business is Softlayer Technologies. Within hours the site was down. I was proud of myself for doing what was right. I was proud of Softlayer Technologies for doing what was right. Things aren’t always as they seem, but more on that later.

I did feel, however, that I owed the owner of the Website, Pedowar.com, an explanation as to why I made the complaint. Mistake.

I caught up with him in a chat site after searching his name, the name of his Website, and a few other terms. I knew it was him because the specific topic was about the Website being shut down. I wrote an open letter of sorts explaining why I did what I did.

I knew it was only a matter of time before his site was up and running again. I asked him to be a man, prove that he “cares deeply about me”, and take all mention of my family off his site. Read it all here. It’s completely safe. It’s not a pedo or porn site. It’s just text.

I was certainly not satisfied with his refusal, so I took a dive into the underbelly of the Internet. I thank God that I was able to get some information, unbelievable information, without having to see any disgusting images. Some of the titles were enough to again make me sick to my stomach.

I found that Mr. Pedowar is all about displaying as much information as he possibly can. For all intents and purposes, he was bragging about me. This quote from him was taken from one of those underground pedophile sites. “He has no idea we know everything about him. He’s a not too bright Christian.”

Huh? How could he have all of my information?

Why? Because Softlayer Technologies provided him with my name, address, phone number, and email address.

I have two children.

Softlayer Technologies took down Mr. Pedowar’s website because they believe that the content within is in violation of the law and/or their “zero tolerance policy”. However, they gave my contact information to him.

Mr. Pedowar subsequently posted my contact information for all pedophiles to see on these underground pedophile Websites.

Watch the video. It’s brief, and it will explain some of the additional details. By the way, Softlayer Technologies continues to provide this purveyor of pedophilia with service.

_____________________________________________________

Complete Series of this True Story

 

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Cootie Stark: The King of Piedmont Blues

When I read about Mr. Johnny Miller in a local Greenville, S.C. newspaper, I had to go meet him. I was really into playing the blues guitar during that time, and I had no idea that a Piedmont Blues legend lived no more than a mile from my home.

The projects where Johnny lived weren’t far from city condemnation at that time. I pulled up in unit four, my WYFF-TV news vehicle, during a lunch break and knocked on the door. A humble yet cigar-thick voice greeted my call with hello as he opened the door.

There he was, Cootie Stark, right in front of me. Cootie was his stage name.

He invited me in before I could finish explaining my purpose.

The dark four room dwelling had painted concrete block for walls and no decoration. I guess it made sense; he’s a guy and he’s blind. I probably wouldn’t decorate, either.

Cootie started telling me the story of his life and included things like growing up in Laurens, S.C. and pickin’ peas as a child. He spoke of traveling all the way to Greenville (about 20 miles) during the summer, and how he came to play guitar. He made mention of his relationships with Baby Tate, the Rev. Gary Davis and several other Piedmont Blues legends living in the area around the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

He also talked a lot about the Music Maker Relief Foundation, and the MMRF president, Tim Duffy. He called him Timmy. He told me how the organization has helped him survive, travel the world and feel as though he again had purpose. The stories captivated me.

My lunch hour almost gone, I asked if I could come back some time and shoot a story about his life. He agreed, and I stood to leave.

“Hey, uh, I seem to be havin’ a bit of trouble with my CD player,” Cootie said. “You any good at that kinda stuff? Could you look at it for me?”

I was honored with the thought of helping such a such a legend. I reached over and picked up the CD player. My keen sense of electronictechnogeek kicked in quickly and I determined without a doubt that the CD was in upside down. Yes, I know. My brilliance continually amazes me, too.

I flipped it and hit play. Out comes this great Piedmont Blues. “This is great,” I said. “Who is it?”

“That’s me,” he said in his polite southern gruff.

I shook his hand, set up a time to do a feature story* and departed to the nearest music story to pick up a copy of Sugar Man. I was late getting back.

I had a few more conversations with Mr. Miller before he died in April 2005. I again honored one evening at the Handlebar when I was able to thank him for helping me achieve my goal of winning an Emmy. I was also able to thank him for allowing me to preserve a dying form of true Americana.

I shook his hand and gave him a copy of the story.

“Thank you young man, you gonna to do just fine with your life,” was that last thing he said to me.

Listen to Cootie Stark:

* Kudos to my reporter and friend, Kimbery Lohman, for an doing such an excellent job on this story.

 

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Attacked Reporter Speaks About Her Experience

Hear from Charmayne Brown, a black female reporter in South Carolina who was standing on a street covering a murder investigation when she was attacked by a white family yelling racial slurs. Get the Background & Watch the Entire Attack Video.

Are You a Racist? What Should Happen to the Attackers? Does SC Need a Hate Crimes Law? Leave a comment and let the whole world know.

Charmayne Brown Interview on WORD Radio

A look into Race Relations in South Carolina

 

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Reporter Attacked On Camera by Three Women

A reporter for WSPA in Spartanburg, S.C. was attacked while covering a murder investigation.

According the the WSPA Websitereporter Charmayne Brown and was standing on public property when a group surrounded her and started punching. Brown says she was across the street from the victim’s house when family members began yelling at her to leave.

Brown says the group was also yelling racial slurs at her and her photographer. She says one of the women in the group then rushed at her, punched her and dragged her to the ground. She says at that point it’s hard for her to recall what was going on, but WPSA’s satellite truck operator Ray Daubenspeck says he also saw the woman punching her. He called 911, picked up a camera and began recording video. Charmayne says at least two other people joined in on the attack as her photographer tried to pull them off of her. Source: WYFF & WSPA

 

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Quotes: Bush v. Iraqi Information Minister

When I saw the headline across the Web: Bush Claims No Recession for US; Bush Rejects Recession Claims; and Bush: United States Not In Recession, I couldn’t help but think of the words coming from the mouth of the Iraqi Minister of Information, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, during the US invasion of Iraq.

I snickered. And then I opened Photoshop. I simply couldn’t help putting together this photo collage mixed with George Bush quotes along side some of the quotes from the Iraqi Information Minister.

As a quick aside, I’m not usually one to blog politics. Everyone has their own personal views and the little-known blog of Worlds Beyond Rittman certainly isn’t going to change anything. It’s just for fun, really.

 

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Bush Addresses UN, Cries

Call me an insensitive pig. I don’t care.

Imagine seeing the above headline in the NY Times or the WP (the insensitive pig musing isn’t that to which I refer).

Picture George Bush making his case for war to the UN, (take camera two) and a tight shot of the President of the United States of America with tears running down his cheek.

I have nothing personal against George or Hillary. I’m neither endorsing nor berating any party. And I believe that the decision-making emotional side of women keeps love alive and many of the world populous from killing one another.

I also believe that the majority of people view perception as reality.

When it comes right down to it, I don’t want any world nation to view the United States as a country that cries, EVER.

Don’t get me wrong, crying is a good thing. There is a lot of stress in the ever-day lives of every-day people. I would expect to see a president or a presidential candidate cry at, say, the funeral of a loved one. But that’s about it.

I haven’t made my decision yet, and I probably won’t until the chad puncher (or stylus in SC) is in my hand. I will vote while preserving the responsibility of being informed voter. I will vote for whomever I believe will best serve our nation. I will not vote for someone who cannot keep emotionally in check when the cameras are rolling.

There is no crying in baseball.

 

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