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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Credit Cards


And when we think we are not paranoid enough........


Scene 1

What somebody would do with expired credit cards.

Friend goes to the local gym and places his belongings in the locker. After the workout and a shower, comes out, sees the locker open and thinks to himself, "Funny, I thought I locked the locker ... hmmm," dresses and just flips the wallet to make sure all is in order. Everything looks okay, all cards in place.

A few weeks later his credit card bill comes! A whooping bill of $14k! Calls up the credit card company and starts yelling at them saying that he did Not make the transactions. Customer care personnel verified that there is no mistake in the system and Asks if his card had been stolen.

"No" he says -- takes out wallet and pulls out card -- And -- yup! You guessed it -- a switch had been made! Another similar (same type Master/Visa from the same bank) expired card was placed in the wallet. The thief broke into his locker at the gym and Switched cards.

Verdict? Credit card issuer says since he did not report the card missing earlier, he would have to Still pay the amount owed to them. How much does he Have to pay for items he did not buy? $9k !!!!!

Why were there no calls to verify the amount swiped? Small amounts rarely trigger a 'warning bell' in some Credit card companies. It just so happens that the Small amounts amounted to big ones!


Scene 2

A dad at a local restaurant paid for his meal with his Credit card. The bill came, he signed it and the waitress folds the receipt and passes the credit card Along.

Usually, he would just take it and place it in his Wallet or pocket. Funny enough, he actually just took a look at the card and lo and behold -- expired card Of another person. He called the waitress and She looked perplexed. She took it back, apologized and hurried back to the counter under the watchful eye of The dad.

All the waitress did whilst walking to the counter was wave the wrong expired card to the counter cashier and the counter cashier immediately looked down and took Out the real card. No exchange of words --nothing -- she took it and came back to the Dad with apologies.

Verdict: make sure the credit cards in your wallet are Yours! Check the name on the card every time you sign for something and the card is taken away for even a Short period of time.

Many people just take back their credit card without even looking at it, thinking that it has to be theirs.

For your own sake, DEVELOP THE HABIT OF CHECKING YOUR CREDIT CARD EACH TIME IT IS RETURNED TO YOU AFTER A TRANSACTION!

The Perfect Dog! (One for DW)


Google celebrates 50 Years of The Flintstones


50th Anniversary of The Flintstones

Batter-UP!


Two ninety-year old men, Moe and Sam, have been friends all their lives.

It seems that Sam is dying, so Moe comes to visit him. "Sam," says Moe, "You know how we have both loved baseball all our lives. Sam, you gotta' do me one favor. When you go, somehow you've got to tell me if there's baseball in heaven."

Sam looks up at Moe from his deathbed and says, Moe, you've been my friend many years. This favor I'll do for you." And with that, Sam passes on.

It is midnight a couple nights later. Moe is sound asleep when a distant voice calls out to him, "Moe....Moe...."

"Who is it?" says Moe sitting up suddenly. Who is it?"

"Moe, it's Sam."

"Come on. You're not Sam. Sam died."

"I'm telling you," insists the voice. "It's me, Sam!"

"Sam? Is that you? Where are you?"

"I'm in heaven," says Sam, "and I've got to tell you, I've got some good news and some bad news."

"Tell me the good news first," says Moe.

"The good news," says Sam "is that there is baseball in heaven"

"Really?" says Moe, "That's wonderful! What's the bad news?"

"You're pitching Tuesday!"


Back by 'POOP' ular Demand....


Play With The Poop Machine. Click Here.

Click above to "Play with the POOP Machine!"

*Wizard's Note: Depending on your choice of food, you may have to 'refresh' the poop machine page to continue eating.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bullying has got to STOP!


Seth Walsh, a Tehachapi 13-year-old who hanged himself from a tree in his back yard after years of being bullied, died Tuesday afternoon after nine days on life support.

Below is a video that was made after he died..


Give a Damn.org

Photoshop Fun From Down Under

Captain, Speaking...

Kangaroos

Saskatchewan, Land of Living Skies


This picture was taken Near Moosomin SK

You know you're from rural Saskatchewan when . . .


1. You never meet any celebrities except maybe "Theresa Sokyrka or The Cottonpickers " or the Johner Bros !
2. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor on the highway.
3. "Vacation" means going to Moose Jaw Spa.
4. You've seen all the biggest bands ten years after they were popular.
5. You measure distance in hours.
6. You know several people who have hit deer more than once.
7. Your classes were cancelled because of cold.
8. You often switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day.
9. You use (or need) a down comforter in the summer.
10. Your grandparents drive at 100/km per hour through 13 feet of snow and raging blizzard - without flinching.
11. You plan your financial future around bingo.
12. You see people wear hunting clothes at social events.
13. You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.
14. You think of the major four food groups as deer meat, beer,fish and saskatoons.
15. You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows how to use them.
16. There are always 4 empty cars running in the parking lot at the beer store at any given time.
17. You only own 3 spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup.
18. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
19. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow
20. You think everyone from a bigger city has an accent.
21. You think sexy lingerie is tube socks and flannel pyjamas.
22. You know which leaves make good toilet paper.
23 You know all 4 seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter and Construction.
24. It takes 3 hours to go to the mall for one item even when you're in a rush because you have to stop and talk to everyone in town.
25. You actually understand these jokes and forward them to all your friends from Saskatchewan.


Some Laughs For You


A police officer pulls over a speeding car. The officer says, I clocked you at 140 kilometers an hour, sir." The driver says, "Gee, officer I had it on cruise control at 110, perhaps your radar gun needs calibrating."

Not looking up from her knitting the wife says: "Now don't be silly dear, you know that this car doesn't have cruise control."

As the officer writes out the ticket, the driver looks over at his wife and growls, "Can't you keep quiet for once?" The wife smiles demurely and says, "You should be thankful your radar detector went off when it did."

As the officer makes out the second ticket for the illegal radar detector unit, the man glowers at his wife and says through clenched teeth, "Darn it, woman, can't you keep quiet?"

The officer frowns and says, "And I notice that you're not wearing your seat belt, sir. That's an automatic $75 fine." The driver says, "Yeah, well, you see officer, I had it on, but took it off when you pulled me over so that I could get my license out of my back pocket." The wife says, Now, Dear, you know very well that you didn't have your seat belt on. You never wear your seat belt when you're driving."

And as the police officer is writing out the third ticket the driver turns to his wife and barks, "WHY DON'T YOU PLEASE SHUT UP??" The officer looks over at the woman and asks, "Does your husband always talk to you this way, Ma'am?

I love this part....

"Only when he's been drinking."



GREAT TRUTHS THAT LITTLE CHILDREN HAVE LEARNED:

1) No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.
2) When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
5) You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
6) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
8) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
9) Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
10) The best place to be when you're sad is Grandpa's lap.




GREAT TRUTHS THAT ADULTS HAVE LEARNED:

1)Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to a tree.
2) Wrinkles don't hurt.
3) Families are like fudge...mostly sweet, with a few nuts.
4) Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.
5) Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
6) Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.





GREAT TRUTHS ABOUT GROWING OLD:

1) Growing up is mandatory; growing old is optional.
2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.
3) When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do while you're down there.
4) You're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
5) It's frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.
6) Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician.
7) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.



THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE:

1) You believe in Santa Claus.
2) You don't believe in Santa Claus.
3) You are Santa Claus.
4) You look like Santa Claus.


As I've Matured...

I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in...
I've learned that one good turn gets most of the blankets.
I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people are just jackasses.
I've learned that it takes years to build up trust, and it only takes suspicion, not proof, to destroy it.
I've learned that whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to others - they are more screwed up than you think.
I've learned that depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
I've learned that it is not what you wear; it is how you take it off.
I've learned to not sweat the petty things, and not pet the sweaty things. I've learned that ex's are like fungus, and keep coming back. I've learned age is a very high price to pay for maturity.
I've learned that I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy it.
I've learned that we are responsible for what we do, unless we are celebrities.
I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
I've learned that 99% of the time when something isn't working in your house, one of your kids did it.
I've learned that there is a fine line between genius and insanity.
I've learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon and all the less important ones just never go away. And the real pains in the ass are permanent.



Pass this webpage along to 5 friends...trust me, they'll appreciate it. Who knows, maybe something good will happen.


If not...tough!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

AN ELDERLY COUPLE

An elderly couple is sitting together watching television.


During one of those commercials, the husband asked his wife, "Whatever happened to our sexual relations?"


After a long thoughtful silence, the wife replied during the next commercial. "You know, I don't know. I don't even think we got a Christmas card from them this year!"

Crabby Old Woman?

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Ireland.

The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health.

A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet:


Crabby Old Woman



What do you see, nurses?
What do you see?
What are you thinking
When you're looking at me?

A crabby old woman,
Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,
With faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food
And makes no reply

When you say in a loud voice,
"I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice
The things that you do,
And forever is losing
A stocking or shoe?

Who, resisting or not,
Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding,
The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse,
You're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am
As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding,
As I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten
With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters,
Who love one another.


A young girl of sixteen
With wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now
A lover she'll meet.


A bride soon at twenty,
My heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows
That I promised to keep

At twenty-five now,
I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide
And a secure happy home.


A woman of thirty,
My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other
With ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons
Have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me
To see I don't mourn.


At fifty once more,
Babies play round my knee,
Again we know children,
My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me,
My husband is dead,
I look at the future,
I shudder with dread.


For my young are all rearing
Young of their own,
And I think of the years
And the love that I've known.


I'm now an old woman
And nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age
Look like a fool.


The body, it crumbles,
Grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone
Where I once had a heart.


But inside this old carcass
A young girl still dwells,
And now and again,
My battered heart swells.


I remember the joys,
I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living
Life over again.

I think of the years
All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact
That nothing can last.


So open your eyes, people,
Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;
Look closer . . . see ME!!


Remember this poem when you next meet an old person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within . . we will all, one day, be there, too!

PLEASE SHARE THIS POEM. IT'S SOMETHING WE ALL NEED TO READ.

Fact or Crap?



Sir Thomas Crapper invented the toilet.





Crap!  and more Thomas Crapper was a real person, who operated a plumbing business in 19th century London, but he didn’t invent the flush toilet. This is credited, instead, to Joseph Adamson, who took out the first patent for a flush toilet in 1853. A 1969 book by Wallace Reyburn, Flushed with Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper, has helped to propagate the myth that Crapper was the inventor of the toilet. Reyburn’s biography of Crapper is simply a fabrication.

Remember The Gremlin?

Click here
Reminisce! Click above.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gloria Stuart, Star of Titanic, dies a centenarian


Gloria StuartGloria Frances Stuart (July 4, 1910 – September 26, 2010) was an American actress. Over a Hollywood career that has spanned more than 70 years, Stuart appeared on stage, in television and film, and was best known for her roles as Claude Rains' sweetheart in The Invisible Man and as Old Rose in her Academy Award nominated role in the film Titanic.

She died yesterday at her home in West Los Angeles, California, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing her family. She was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago, the newspaper said.

Stuart was 87 when “Titanic,” director James Cameron’s epic fictional account of passengers aboard the doomed luxury liner, opened in December 1997. The movie followed Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) as they met, fell in love, navigated the Titanic’s strict class divisions and then tried to survive after the ship struck an iceberg.

Stuart narrates the movie as 101-year-old Rose, who joins treasure hunters searching the Titanic’s wreckage for a legendary diamond necklace. Toward the film’s end, she reveals the necklace she has secretly possessed since the night the ship sank, and drops it into the ocean.

Stuart’s role in “Titanic” capped a film career that appeared to have ended, with little fanfare, decades earlier.


Gloria Stuart
‘Classy Yet Seductive’.



*Read more at imdb

Flow Chart To Fix Anything!


The List


The most destructive habit..............................Worry
The greatest Joy......................................Giving
The greatest loss.......................Loss of self-respect

The most satisfying work......................Helping others
The ugliest personality trait....................Selfishness
The most endangered species.................Dedicated leaders

Our greatest natural resource.......................Our youth
The greatest "shot in the arm"..................Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome.........................Fear

The most effective sleeping pill................Peace of mind
The most crippling failure disease....................Excuses
The most powerful force in life..........................Love

The most dangerous pariah..........................A gossiper
The world's most incredible computer................The brain
The worst thing to be without... ...................... Hope

The deadliest weapon..............................The tongue
The two most power-filled words......................"I Can"
The greatest asset.....................................Faith

The most worthless emotion..........................Self-pity
The most beautiful attire..............................SMILE!
The most prized possession......................... Integrity

The most powerful channel of communication.............Prayer
The most contagious spirit.........................Enthusiasm


Kids Say The Darndest Things....

100 Reasons To Celebrate Saskatchewan!


Click here

Reason #17

Click above to find them out!

They Grow 'Em Big In Texas....


A Texan went to Chicago and thought he would buy a new "city" outfit.

He went into Marshall Fields and when asked by a sweet young woman if she could help him, he answered, "Yes ma'am. Ya see, I'm from Texas and I want to buy a complete city outfit."

Her eyes lit up as she asked, "Where would you like to start?"

"Well, ma'am, how about a suit?"

"Yes sir. What size?"

"Size 53 tall, ma'am."

"Wow, that's really big."

"Yes ma'am, they really grow them big in Texas."

"What's next?" she asked.

He replied, "How about some shoes?"

"What size?"

"Size 15 double E."

"Wow, that's really big!.

"Yes ma'am. They really grow them big inTexas."

"What's next?"

"Well, I reckon I'll need a shirt."

"Yes sir. What size?"

"Nineteen and a half neck, sleeves 38," he replied.

"Wow, that's really big!"

"Yes ma'am. They really grow them big inTexas."

"Will there be anything else?" she asked.

"Yes ma'am. I 'spect I'll need a hat."

"Yes sir. What size? and style?"

"Eight and five-eighths. Stetson."

"Wow, that's really big!"

"Yes ma'am. They really grow them big inTexas."

She virtually glowed as she asked, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"

"No ma'am , I reckon that will be all."

As the sweet young thing tallied up his bill, and as the Texan counted out his money, she blushed and asked, "Sir, could I ask you a personal question?"

"Yes ma'am, I already know what it is..... And the answer is four inches."

Astonished, she blurted out, "Why, my boyfriend is bigger than that!"

Without so much as a stutter, the Texan replied........................



From the floor ma'am................. From the floor.

HYUK!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Gambler


During the Great Depression, there was this man who walked into a bar one day. He walked up to the bartender and said, "Bartender, I'd like to buy the house a round of drinks".

The bartender said, "That's fine, but we're in the middle of the Depression, so I'll need to see some money first". The guy pulls out a huge wad of bills and sets them on the bar. Well, the bartender can't believe what he's seeing. "Where did you get all that money?", asked the bartender.

"I'm a professional gambler", replied the man.

The bartender said, "There's no such thing! I mean, your odds are 50-50 at best, right?"

"Well, I only bet on sure things" said the guy.

"Like what?" asked the bartender.

"Well, for example, I'll bet you $50 that I can bite my right eye."

The bartender thought about it. "OK". So, the guy pulls out his false right eye and bites it.

"Aw, you screwed me", said the bartender, and paid the guy his $50.

"I'll give you another chance. I'll bet you another $50 that I can bite my LEFT eye" said the stranger.

The bartender thought again and said, "Well, I know you're not blind, I mean I watched you walk in here. I'll take that bet". So, the guy pulls out his false teeth and bites his left eye.

"Aw, you screwed me again".

"That's how I win so much money, bartender. I'll just take a bottle of your best scotch in lieu of the $50", said the man.

With that, the guy went to the back room and spent the better part of the night playing cards with some of the locals. After many hours of drinking and card playing, he stumbled up to the bar.

The guy, drunk as a skunk, said, "Bartender, I'll give you one last chance. I'll bet you $500 that I can stand on this bar here on one foot and piss into that whiskey bottle on that shelf behind you without spilling a drop".

The bartender once again pondered the bet. The guy couldn't even stand up straight on two feet, much less one. "OK, you're on".

The guy climbed up on the bar, stood on one leg, and began pissing all over the place. He hit the bar, the bartender, himself, but not a drop made it into the whiskey bottle.

The bartender was ecstatic. Laughing, the bartender said, "Hey pal, you owe me $500!".

The guy climbed down off the bar and said, "That's OK. I just bet each of the guys in the card room $1000 each that I could piss all over you AND the bar and still make you laugh!".


Amazing ASCII !

Thirty Days hath September


Thirty Days hath September
Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
February has twenty eight alone
All the rest have thirty-one
Except in Leap Year, that's the time
When February's Days are twenty-nine



and alternately;

30 days hath September,
April, June and November,
All the rest have 31,
Excepting February alone.
Which only has but 28 days clear
And 29 in each leap year

There is also a mnemonic counting on the knuckles of one's hand to remember the numbers of days of the months. Count knuckles as 31 days, depressions between knuckles as 30 (or 28/29) days. Start with the pointer finger's knuckle as January, and count one finger at a time towards the pinky knuckle (July), saying the months as you go. Then jump back to the pointer knuckle (now August) and continue for the remaining months.


One variant of this approach differs after reaching the pinky knuckle (July): instead of wrapping around back to the pointer finger, some people reverse direction and continue from the pinky knuckle (counting it for both July and August) and ending on the middle finger knuckle. Still others use two hands: starting with the pinky knuckle of the left hand proceed to the left pointer knuckle, then (swapping hands) jump to the right fist's index knuckle for August, finishing on the knuckle of the right ring finger (December).

My Kind Of Angel


Hill-Billy Mama


A woman walks into the downtown welfare office, trailed by 15 kids..." WOW",the social worker exclaims, "are they ALL YOURS?"

"They are all mine", the flustered momma sighs, having heard that question a thousand times before. She says," Sit down Leroy.

All the children rush to find seats. "Well", says the social worker," then you must be here to sign up.I'll need all your children's names".

"This one's my oldest - he is Leroy."
"OK, and who's next?"
"Well, this one, he is Leroy, also."
The social worker raises an eyebrow but continues. One by one, through the oldest four, all boys, all named Leroy. Then she is introduced to the eldest girl, named Leighroy!

"All right", says the caseworker. "I'm seeing a pattern here. . ..are they ALL named Leroy?" Their Momma replied, "Well, yes-it makes it easier. When it is time to get them out of bed and ready for school, I yell, 'Leroy!' An when it's time for dinner, I just yell 'Leroy' an they all comes arunnin. An if I need to stop the kid who's running into the street, I just yell 'Leroy' and all of them stop. It's the smartest idea Iever had, naming them all Leroy.

The social worker thinks this over for a bit, then wrinkles her forehead and says tentatively, "But what if you want just ONE kid to come, and not the whole bunch?"

"Then I call them by their last names".


Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Morality Test

The Morality Test. Click here.

Click above

The Paper-less Toilet
Have a lick. Save a Tree!

How many group members does it take to change a lightbulb?

1 to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been changed

14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently

7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs

27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs

53 to flame the spell checkers

41 to correct spelling/grammar flames

6 to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb" ...

another 6 to condemn those 6 as anal-retentive

2 industry professionals to inform the group that the proper term is "lamp"

15 know-it-alls who claim *they* were in the industry, and that "light bulb" is perfectly correct

156 to email the participant's ISPs complaining that they are in violation of their "acceptable use policy"

109 to post that this group is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a lightbulb group

203 to demand that cross posting to hardware forum, off-topic forum, and lightbulb group about changing light bulbs be stopped

111 to defend the posting to this group saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts *are* relevant to this group

306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique, and what brands are faulty

27 to post URL's where one can see examples of different light bulbs

14 to post that the URL's were posted incorrectly and then post the corrected URL's

3 to post about links they found from the URL's that are relevant to this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group

33 to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety including all headers and signatures, and add "Me too"

12 to post to the group that they will no longer post because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy

19 to quote the "Me too's" to say "Me three"

4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ

44 to ask what is a "FAQ"

4 to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?"

143 to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting questions about light bulbs"

1 forum lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now and start it all over again....

get the point? heehee


Girls Night Out


Two women friends had gone for a Girls Night Out, and had been decidedly over-enthusiastic on the cocktails.

Incredibly drunk and walking home, they needed to pee.

They were very near a graveyard and one of them suggested they do their business behind a head stone or something.

The first woman had nothing to wipe with so she thought she'd take off her panties, use them, then throw them away.

Her friend, however, was wearing a rather expensive underwear set and didn't want to ruin hers but was lucky to salvage a large ribbon from a wreath that was on one of the graves and proceeded to wipe herself with that.

After finishing, they then made off for home.

The next day the first woman's husband phoned the other husband and said, "These damn girls night out have got to stop. My wife came home last night without her panties."

"That's nothing, said the other husband, "Mine came back with a card stuck between the cheeks of her ass that said, "From All of Us At the Fire Station, We'll Never Forget You."


Friday, September 24, 2010

Saskatchewan Starter Home


Don't Start A Family Feud Over Email


Sending email to family and friends is a fantastic way to communicate. There are no long-distance telephone charges and the recipient doesn't have to be right by the phone to get your message. What is really great about it is that you can send jokes, pictures and other files but that is where some people get into trouble. Here are some guidelines for email etiquette.

Keep It Short
If you want your email to be read, keep it short and straight to the point. Format long messages so that it can be scanned by using paragraph headers, just like these tips have been formatted.

Ask Before Sending Attachments
Some people will not open attachments because of the virus risk so why send them if they won't be opened?

Don't Send Huge Files
That 2.5 MB video may be the greatest thing since the invention of the computer but people on slow dial up connections may be get upset if you send it.

On a slow connection, a 2 MB file takes around 15 minutes to download. If you have permission to send attachments don't send files larger than 100 KB to dial up users unless you ask first.

Remove The Junk
There is nothing worse than trying to read something with six forward signs (>>>>>>) in front of each line and all the past forwarding headers. If the joke is that great that you want to share it, clean it up.

And Speaking of Jokes
Did you ask if they the recipient wants jokes forwarded to them? (That was the main reason I started 'OZ'... that way, my friends can read them at their leisure). You don't have to forward every one that you come across! Send jokes that you know that the receiver would enjoy. Also be sure to ask the recipient if they want jokes that are colorful in nature because they might not care for them or they have kids that use the same email program.

Use The BCC Option Whenever Possible
When sending an email to a group of people, use the BCC option instead of CC option so that everyone won't see the long list of email addresses on the email. This should be done for safety reasons because stalkers have infiltrated groups of friends by seeing a group of email addresses, then sending to one of the people saying they know the other person. Using the CC option and then forwarding with other headers produces a long list of email addresses that spammers would love to get their hands on.

Sending Pictures
I love to get pictures from family and friends! To me this is one of the greatest features of Internet! If you want to send a lot of pictures to many people, why not create a photo album online? That way you can just send the address to your friends, then they can go look!

Be Emotional
Remember that when a person reads an email they can't see your facial expressions. Add a smile face :) or a frown :( so that the reader can tell your mood when you wrote something. For example, "That Linda is something else" can be clarified by adding a smile face if you mean it joking or with a frown if you are trying to convey that Linda is a disappointment.

Don't Give Out Other People's Email Address
Many sites offer the ability to "Email This Page". It is a great service if they have a certified privacy policy. Some sites harvest the email addresses you enter and then sell them to spammers.

Don't Get Mad
Did you send a joke and not get a reply? How high of an email volume does this person have? As for myself, I get on average 200 email messages a day (spam, discussion groups, jokes and business email). If I replied to every single message I would never be off the computer.


What makes people gay?


The debate has always been that it was either all in the child's upbringing or all in the genes. But what if it's something else?

With crystal-blue eyes, wavy hair, and freshly scrubbed faces, the boys look as though they stepped out of a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. They are 7-year-old twins. I'll call them Thomas and Patrick; their parents agreed to let me meet the boys as long as I didn't use their real names.

Spend five seconds with them, and there can be no doubt that they are identical twins - so identical even they can't tell each other apart in photographs. Spend five minutes with them, and their profound differences begin to emerge.

Patrick is social, thoughtful, attentive. He repeatedly addresses me by name. Thomas is physical, spontaneous, a bit distracted. Just minutes after meeting me outside a coffee shop, he punches me in the upper arm, yells, "Gray punch buggy!" and then points to a Volkswagen Beetle cruising past us. It's a hard punch. They horse around like typical brothers, but Patrick's punches are less forceful and his voice is higher. Thomas charges at his brother, arms flexed in front of him like a mini-bodybuilder. The differences are subtle - they're 7-year-old boys, after all - but they are there.

When the twins were 2, Patrick found his mother's shoes. He liked wearing them. Thomas tried on his father's once but didn't see the point.

When they were 3, Thomas blurted out that toy guns were his favorite things. Patrick piped up that his were the Barbie dolls he discovered at day care.

When the twins were 5, Thomas announced he was going to be a monster for Halloween. Patrick said he was going to be a princess. Thomas said he couldn't do that, because other kids would laugh at him. Patrick seemed puzzled. "Then I'll be Batman," he said.

Their mother - intelligent, warm, and open-minded - found herself conflicted. She wanted Patrick - whose playmates have always been girls, never boys - to be himself, but she worried his feminine behavior would expose him to ridicule and pain. She decided to allow him free expression at home while setting some limits in public.

That worked until last year, when a school official called to say Patrick was making his classmates uncomfortable. He kept insisting that he was a girl.

Patrick exhibits behavior called childhood gender nonconformity, or CGN. This doesn't describe a boy who has a doll somewhere in his toy collection or tried on his sister's Snow White outfit once, but rather one who consistently exhibits a host of strongly feminine traits and interests while avoiding boy-typical behavior like rough-and-tumble play. There's been considerable research into this phenomenon, particularly in males, including a study that followed boys from an early age into early adulthood. The data suggest there is a very good chance Patrick will grow up to be homosexual. Not all homosexual men show this extremely feminine behavior as young boys. But the research indicates that, of the boys who do exhibit CGN, about 75 percent of them - perhaps more - turn out to be gay or bisexual.

What makes the case of Patrick and Thomas so fascinating is that it calls into question both of the dominant theories in the long-running debate over what makes people gay: nature or nurture, genes or learned behavior. As identical twins, Patrick and Thomas began as genetic clones. From the moment they came out of their mother's womb, their environment was about as close to identical as possible - being fed, changed, and plopped into their car seats the same way, having similar relationships with the same nurturing father and mother. Yet before either boy could talk, one showed highly feminine traits while the other appeared to be "all boy," as the moms at the playgrounds say with apologetic shrugs.

"That my sons were different the second they were born, there is no question about it," says the twins' mother.

So what happened between their identical genetic starting point and their births? They spent nine months in utero. In the hunt for what causes people to be gay or straight, that's now the most interesting and potentially enlightening frontier.

WHAT DOES IT MATTER WHERE HOMOSEXUALITY COMES FROM? Proving people are born gay would give them wider social acceptance and better protection against discrimination, many gay rights advocates argue. In the last decade, as this "biological" argument has gained momentum, polls find Americans - especially young adults - increasingly tolerant of gays and lesbians. And that's exactly what has groups opposed to homosexuality so concerned. The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian think tank in Washington, D.C., argues in its book Getting It Straight that finding people are born gay "would advance the idea that sexual orientation is an innate characteristic, like race; that homosexuals, like African-Americans, should be legally protected against 'discrimination;' and that disapproval of homosexuality should be as socially stigmatized as racism. However, it is not true."

Some advocates of gay marriage argue that proving sexual orientation is inborn would make it easier to frame the debate as simply a matter of civil rights. That could be true, but then again, freedom of religion enjoyed federal protection long before inborn traits like race and sex.

For much of the 20th century, the dominant thinking connected homosexuality to upbringing. Freud, for instance, speculated that overprotective mothers and distant fathers helped make boys gay. It took the American Psychiatric Association until 1973 to remove "homosexuality" from its manual of mental disorders.

Then, in 1991, a neuroscientist in San Diego named Simon LeVay told the world he had found a key difference between the brains of homosexual and heterosexual men he studied. LeVay showed that a tiny clump of neurons of the anterior hypothalamus - which is believed to control sexual behavior - was, on average, more than twice the size in heterosexual men as in homosexual men. LeVay's findings did not speak directly to the nature-vs.-nurture debate - the clumps could, theoretically, have changed size because of homosexual behavior. But that seemed unlikely, and the study ended up jump-starting the effort to prove a biological basis for homosexuality.

Later that same year, Boston University psychiatrist Richard Pillard and Northwestern University psychologist J. Michael Bailey announced the results of their study of male twins. They found that, in identical twins, if one twin was gay, the other had about a 50 percent chance of also being gay. For fraternal twins, the rate was about 20 percent. Because identical twins share their entire genetic makeup while fraternal twins share about half, genes were believed to explain the difference. Most reputable studies find the rate of homosexuality in the general population to be 2 to 4 percent, rather than the popular "1 in 10" estimate.

In 1993 came the biggest news: Dean Hamer's discovery of the "gay gene." In fact, Hamer, a Harvard-trained researcher at the National Cancer Institute, hadn't quite put it that boldly or imprecisely. He found that gay brothers shared a specific region of the X chromosome, called Xq28, at a higher rate than gay men shared with their straight brothers. Hamer and others suggested this finding would eventually transform our understanding of sexual orientation.

That hasn't happened yet. But the clear focus of sexual-orientation research has shifted to biological causes, and there hasn't been much science produced to support the old theories tying homosexuality to upbringing. Freud may have been seeing the effect rather than the cause, since a father faced with a very feminine son might well become more distant or hostile, leading the boy's mother to become more protective. In recent years, researchers who suspect that homosexuality is inborn - whether because of genetics or events happening in the womb - have looked everywhere for clues: Prenatal hormones. Birth order. Finger length. Fingerprints. Stress. Sweat. Eye blinks. Spatial relations. Hearing. Handedness. Even "gay" sheep.

SpongeBob Squarepants LeVay, who is gay, says that when he published his study 14 years ago, some gays and lesbians criticized him for doing research that might lead to homosexuality once again being lumped in with diseases and disorders. "If anything, the reverse has happened," says LeVay, who is now 61 and no longer active in the lab. He says the hunt for a biological basis for homosexuality, which involves many researchers who are themselves gay or lesbian, "has contributed to the status of gay people in society."

These studies have been small and underfunded, and the results have often been modest. Still, because there's been so much of this disparate research, "all sort of pointing in the same direction, makes it pretty clear there are biological processes significantly influencing sexual orientation," says LeVay. "But it's also kind of frustrating that it's still a bunch of hints, that nothing is really as crystal clear as you would like."

Just in the last few months, though, the hints have grown stronger.

In May, Swedish researchers reported finding important differences in how the brains of straight men and gay men responded to two compounds suspected of being pheromones - those scent-related chemicals that are key to sexual arousal in animals. The first compound came from women's urine, the second from male sweat. Brain scans showed that when straight men smelled the female urine compound, their hypothalamus lit up. That didn't happen with gay men. Instead, their hypothalamus lit up when they smelled the male-sweat compound, which was the same way straight women had responded. This research once again connecting the hypothalamus to sexual orientation comes on the heels of work with sheep. About 8 percent of domestic rams are exclusively interested in sex with other rams. Researchers found that a clump of neurons similar to the one LeVay identified in human brains was also smaller in gay rams than straight ones. (Again, it's conceivable that these differences could be showing effect rather than cause.)

In June, scientists in Vienna announced that they had isolated a master genetic switch for sexual orientation in the fruit fly. Once they flicked the switch, the genetically altered female flies rebuffed overtures from males and instead attempted to mate with other females, adopting the elaborate courting dance and mating songs that males use.

And now, a large-scale, five-year genetic study of gay brothers is underway in North America. The study received $2.5 million from the National Institutes of Health, which is unusual. Government funders tend to steer clear of sexual orientation research, aware that even small grants are apt to be met with outrage from conservative congressmen looking to make the most of their C-Span face time. Relying on a robust sample of 1,000 gay-brother pairs and the latest advancements in genetic screening, this study promises to bring some clarity to the murky area of what role genes may play in homosexuality.

This accumulating biological evidence, combined with the prospect of more on the horizon, is having an effect. Last month, the Rev. Rob Schenck, a prominent Washington, D.C., evangelical leader, told a large gathering of young evangelicals that he believes homosexuality is not a choice but rather a predisposition, something "deeply rooted" in people. Schenck told me that his conversion came about after he'd spoken extensively with genetic researchers and psychologists. He argues that evangelicals should continue to oppose homosexual behavior, but that "many evangelicals are living in a sort of state of denial about the advance of this conversation." His message: "If it's inevitable that this scientific evidence is coming, we have to be prepared with a loving response. If we don't have one, we won't have any credibility."

AS THE 21-YEAR-OLD COLLEGE JUNIOR IN A HOSPITAL JOHNNY slides into the MRI, she is handed controls with buttons for "strongly like" and "strongly dislike." Hundreds of pornographic images - in male-male and female-female pairings - flash before her eyes. Eroticism eventually gives way to monotony, and it's hard to avoid looking for details to distinguish one image from the rest of the panting pack. So it goes from "Look at the size of those breasts!" to "That can't be comfortable, given the length of her fingernails!" to "Why is that guy wearing nothing but work boots on the beach?"

Regardless of which buttons the student presses, the MRI scans show her arousal level to each image, at its starting point in the brain.

Researchers at Northwestern University, outside Chicago, are doing this work as a follow-up to their studies of arousal using genital measurement tools. They found that while straight men were aroused by film clips of two women having sex, and gay men were aroused by clips of two men having sex, most of the men who identified themselves as bisexual showed gay arousal patterns. More surprising was just how different the story with women turned out to be. Most women, whether they identified as straight, lesbian, or bisexual, were significantly aroused by straight, gay, and lesbian sex. "I'm not suggesting that most women are bisexual," says Michael Bailey, the psychology professor whose lab conducted the studies. "I'm suggesting that whatever a woman's sexual arousal pattern is, it has little to do with her sexual orientation." That's fundamentally different from men. "In men, arousal is orientation. It's as simple as that. That's how gay men learn they are gay."

These studies mark a return to basics for the 47-year-old Bailey. He says researchers need a far deeper understanding of what sexual orientation is before they can determine where it comes from.

Female sexual orientation is particularly foggy, he says, because there's been so little research done. As for male sexual orientation, he argues that there's now enough evidence to suggest it is "entirely in-born," though not nearly enough to establish how that happens.

Bailey's 1991 twin study is still cited by other researchers as one of the pillars in the genetic argument for homosexuality. But his follow-up study using a comprehensive registry of twins in Australia found a much lower rate of similarity in sexual orientation between identical twins, about 20 percent, down from 50 percent. Bailey still believes that genes make important contributions to sexual orientation. But, he says, "that's not where I'd bet the real breakthroughs will come."

His hunch is that further study of childhood gender nonconformity will pay big. Because it's unclear what percentage of homosexuals and lesbians showed CGN as children, Bailey and his colleagues are now running a study that uses adult participants' home movies from childhood to look for signs of gender-bending behavior.

Cornell psychologist Daryl Bem has proposed an intriguing theory for how CGN might lead to homosexuality. According to this pathway, which he calls "the exotic becomes erotic," children are born with traits for temperament, such as aggression and activity level, that predispose them to male-typical or female-typical activities. They seek out playmates with the same interests. So a boy whose traits lead him to hopscotch and away from rough play will feel different from, and ostracized by, other boys. This leads to physiological arousal of fear and anger in their presence, arousal that eventually is transformed from exotic to erotic.

Critics of homosexuality have used Bem's theory, which stresses environment over biology, to argue that sexual orientation is not inborn and not fixed. But Bem says this pathway is triggered by biological traits, and he doesn't really see how the outcome of homosexuality can be changed.

Bailey says whether or not Bem's theory holds up, the environment most worth focusing in on is the one a child experiences when he's in his mother's womb.

LET'S GET BACK TO THOMAS AND PATRICK. BECAUSE IT'S UNCLEAR why twin brothers with identical genetic starting points and similar post-birth environments would take such divergent paths, it's helpful to return to the beginning.

Males and females have a fundamental genetic difference - females have two X chromosomes, and males have an X and a Y. Still, right after conception, it's hard to tell male and female zygotes apart, except for that tucked-away chromosomal difference. Normally, the changes take shape at a key point of fetal development, when the male brain is masculinized by sex hormones. The female brain is the default. The brain will stay on the female path as long as it is protected from exposure to hormones. The hormonal theory of homosexuality holds that, just as exposure to circulating sex hormones determines whether a fetus will be male or female, such exposure must also influence sexual orientation.

The cases of children born with disorders of "sexual differentiation" offer insight. William Reiner, a psychiatrist and urologist with the University of Oklahoma, has evaluated more than a hundred of these cases. For decades, the standard medical response to boys born with severely inadequate penises (or none at all) was to castrate the boy and have his parents raise him as a girl. But Reiner has found that nurture - even when it involves surgery soon after birth - cannot trump nature. Of the boys with inadequate penises who were raised as girls, he says, "I haven't found one who is sexually attracted to males." The majority of them have transitioned back to being males and report being attracted to females.

During fetal development, sexual identity is set before the sexual organs are formed, Reiner says. Perhaps it's the same for sexual orientation. In his research, of all the babies with X and Y chromosomes who were raised as girls, the only ones he has found who report having female identities and being attracted to males are those who did not have "receptors" to let the male sex hormones do their masculinizing in the womb.

What does this all mean? "Exposure to male hormones in utero dramatically raises the chances of being sexually attracted to females," Reiner says. "We can infer that the absence of male hormone exposure may have something to do with attraction to males."

Michael Bailey says Reiner's findings represent a major breakthrough, showing that "whatever causes sexual orientation is strongly influenced by prenatal biology." Bailey and Reiner say the answer is probably not as simple as just exposure to sex hormones. After all, the exposure levels in some of the people Reiner studies are abnormal enough to produce huge differences in sexual organs. Yet, sexual organs in straight and gay people are, on average, the same. More likely, hormones are interacting with other factors.

Canadian researchers have consistently documented a "big-brother effect," finding that the chances of a boy being gay increase with each additional older brother he has. (Birth order does not appear to play a role with lesbians.) So, a male with three older brothers is three times more likely to be gay than one with no older brothers, though there's still a better than 90 percent chance he will be straight. They argue that this results from a complex interaction involving hormones, antigens, and the mother's immune system.

By now, there is substantial evidence showing correlation - though not causation - between sexual orientation and traits that are set when a baby is in the womb. Take finger length. In general, men have shorter index fingers in relation to their ring fingers; in women, the lengths are generally about the same. Researchers have found that lesbians generally have ratios closer to males. Other studies have shown masculinized results for lesbians in inner-ear functions and eye-blink reactions to sudden loud noises, and feminized patterns for gay men on certain cognitive tasks like spatial perception and remembering the placement of objects.

New York University researcher Lynn S. Hall, who has studied traits determined in the womb, speculates that Patrick was somehow prenatally stressed, probably during the first trimester, when the brain is really developing, particularly the structures like the hypothalamus that influence sexual behavior. This stress might have been based on his position in the womb or the blood flow to him or any of a number of other factors not in his mother's control. Yet more evidence that identical twins have womb experiences far from identical can be found in their often differing birth weights. Patrick was born a pound lighter than Thomas.

Taken together, the research suggests that early on in the womb, as the fetus's brain develops in either the male or female direction, something fundamental to sexual orientation is happening. Nobody's sure what's causing it. But here's where genes may be involved, perhaps by regulating hormone exposure or by dictating the size of that key clump of neurons in the hypothalamus. Before researchers can sort that out, they'll need to return to the question of whether, in fact, there is a "gay gene."

THE CROWD ON BOSTON COMMON IS THICK ON THIS SCORCHER of a Saturday afternoon in June, as the throngs make their way around the 35th annual Boston Pride festival, past booths peddling everything from "Gayopoly" board games to Braveheartian garments called Utilikilts. Sitting quietly in his booth is Alan Sanders, a soft-spoken 41-year-old with a sandy beard and thinning hair. He's placeda mound of rainbow-colored Starbursts on the table in front of him and hung a banner that reads: "WANTED: Gay Men with Gay Brothers for Molecular Genetic Study of Sexual Orientation."

Sanders is a psychiatrist with the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute who is leading the NIH-funded search for the genetic basis of male homosexuality (www.gaybros.com). He is spending the summer crisscrossing the country, going to gay pride festivals, hoping to recruit 1,000 pairs of gay brothers to participate. (His wife, who just delivered their third son, wasn't crazy about the timing.) When people in Boston ask him how much genes may contribute to homosexuality, he says the best estimate is about 40 percent.

Homosexuality runs in families - studies show that 8 to 12 percent of brothers of gay men are also gay, compared with the 2 to 4 percent of the general population.

Sanders spends much of the afternoon handing out Starbursts to people who clearly don't qualify for a gay brothers study - preteen girls, adult lesbians wearing T-shirts that read "I Like Girls Who Like Girls," and elderly women in straw hats who speak only Chinese. But many of the gay men who stop by are interested in more than free candy. Among the people signing up is James Daly, a 31-year-old from Salem. "I think it's important for the public - especially the religious right - to know it's not a choice for some people," Daly says. "I feel I was born this way."

(In fairness, there aren't many leaders of groups representing social and religious conservatives who still argue that homosexual orientation - as opposed to behavior - is a matter of choice. Even as he insists that no one is born gay, Peter Sprigg, the point person on homosexuality for the Family Research Council, says, "I don't think that people choose their sexual attraction.")

In the decade since Dean Hamer made headlines, the gay gene theory has taken some hits. A Canadian team was unable to replicate his findings. Earlier this year, a team from Hamer's own lab reported only mixed results after having done the first scan of the entire human genome in the search for genes influencing sexual orientation.

But all of the gene studies so far have been based on small samples and lacked the funding to do things right. Sanders's study should be big enough to provide some real answers on linkage as well as shed light on gender nonconformity and the big-brother effect.

There is, however, a towering question that Sanders's study will probably not be able to answer. That has to do with evolution. If a prime motivation of all species is to pass genes on to future generations, and gay men are estimated to produce 80 percent fewer offspring than straight men, why would a gay gene not have been wiped out by the forces of natural selection? This evolutionary disadvantage is what led former Amherst College biologist Paul Ewald to argue that homosexuality might be caused by a virus - a pathogen most likely working in utero. That argument caused a stir when he and a colleague proposed it six years ago, but with no research done to test it, it remains just another theory. Other scientists have offered fascinating but unpersuasive explanations, most of them focusing on some kind of compensatory benefit, in the same way that the gene responsible for sickle cell anemia also protects against malaria. A study last year by researchers in Italy showed that female relatives of gay men tended to be more fertile, though, as critics point out, not nearly fertile enough to make up for the gay man's lack of offspring.

But there will be plenty of time for sorting out the evolutionary paradox once - and if - researchers are able to identify actual genes involved in sexual orientation. Getting to that point will likely require integrating multiple lines of promising research. That is exactly what's happening in Eric Vilain's lab at the University of California, Los Angeles. Vilain, an associate professor of human genetics, and his colleague, Sven Bocklandt, are using gay sheep, transgenic mice, identical twin humans, and novel approaches to human genetics to try to unlock the mystery of sexual orientation.

Instead of looking for a gay gene, they stress that they are looking for several genes that cause either attraction to men or attraction to women. Those same genes would work one way in heterosexual women and another way in homosexual men. The UCLA lab is examining how these genes might be turned "up" or "down." It's not a question of what genes you have, but rather which ones you use, says Bocklandt. "I have the genes in my body to make a vagina and carry a baby, but I don't use them, because I am a man." In studying the genes of gay sheep, for example, he's found some that are turned "way up" compared with the straight rams.

The lab is also testing an intriguing theory involving imprinted genes. Normally, we have two copies of every gene, one from each parent, and both copies work. They're identical, so it doesn't matter which copy comes from which parent. But with imprinted genes, that does matter. Although both copies are physically there, one copy - either from the mom or the dad - is blocked from working. Think of an airplane with an engine on each wing, except one of the engines is shut down. A recent Duke University study suggests humans have hundreds of imprinted genes, including one on the X chromosome that previous research has tied to sexual orientation.

With imprinted genes, there is no backup engine. So if there's something atypical in the copy from mom, the copy from dad cannot be turned on. The UCLA lab is now collecting DNA from identical twins in which one twin is straight and the other is gay. Because the twins begin as genetic clones, if a gene is imprinted in one twin, it will be in the other twin as well. Normally, as the fetuses are developing, each time a cell divides, the DNA separates and makes a copy of itself, replicating all kinds of genetic information. It's a complicated but incredibly accurate process. But the coding to keep the backup engine shut down on an imprinted gene is less accurate.

So how might imprinted genes help explain why one identical twin would be straight and the other gay? Say there's an imprinted gene for attraction to females, and there's something atypical in the copy the twin brothers get from mom. As all that replicating is going on, the imprinting (to keep the copy from dad shut down) proceeds as expected in one twin, and he ends up gay. But somehow with his brother, the coding for the imprinting is lost, and rather than remain shut down, the fuel flows to fire up the backup engine from dad. And that twin turns out to be straight.

IN THE COURSE OF REPORTING THIS STORY, I EXPERIENCED A good deal of whiplash. Just when I would become swayed by the evidence supporting one discreet theory, I would stumble onto new evidence casting some doubt on it. Ultimately, I accepted this as unavoidable terrain in the hunt for the basis of sexual orientation. This is, after all, a research field built on underfunded, idiosyncratic studies that are met with full-barreled responses from opposing and well-funded advocacy groups determined to make the results from the lab hew to the scripts they've honed for the talk-show circuit.

You can't really blame the advocacy groups. The stakes are high. In the end, homosexuality remains such a divisive issue that only thoroughly tested research will get society to accept what science has to say about its origin. Critics of funding for sexual orientation research say that it isn't curing cancer, and they're right. But we devote a lot more dollars to studying other issues that aren't curing cancer and have less resonance in society.

Still, no matter how imperfect these studies are, when you put them all together and examine them closely, the message is clear: While post-birth development may well play a supporting role, the roots of homosexuality, at least in men, appear to be in place by the time a child is born. After spending years sifting through all the available data, British researchers Glenn Wilson and Qazi Rahman come to an even bolder conclusion in their forthcoming book Born Gay: The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation, in which they write: "Sexual orientation is something we are born with and not `acquired' from our social environment."

Meanwhile, the mother of twins Patrick and Thomas has done her own sifting and come to her own conclusions. She says her son's feminine behavior suggests he will grow up to be gay, and she has no problem with that. She just worries about what happens to him between now and then.

After that fateful call from Patrick's school, she says, "I knew I had to talk to my son, and I had no clue what to say." Ultimately, she told him that although he could play however he wanted at home, he couldn't tell his classmates he was a girl, because they'd think he was lying. And she told him that some older boys might be mean to him and even hit him if he continued to claim he was a girl.

Then she asked him, "Do you think that you can convince yourself that you are a boy?"

"Yes, Mom," he said. "It's going to be like when I was trying to learn to read, and then one day I opened the book and I could read."

His mother's heart sank. She could tell that he wanted more than anything to please her. "Basically, he was saying there must be a miracle - that one day I wake up and I'm a boy. That's the only way he could imagine it could happen."

In the year since that conversation, Patrick's behavior has become somewhat less feminine. His mother hopes it's just because his interests are evolving and not because he's suppressing them.

"I can now imagine him being completely straight, which I couldn't a year ago," she says. "I can imagine him being gay, which seems to be statistically most likely."

She says she's fine with either outcome, just as long as he's happy and free from harm. She takes heart in how much more accepting today's society is. "By the time my boys are 20, the world will have changed even more."

By then, there might even be enough consensus for researchers to forget about finger lengths and fruit flies and gay sheep, and move on to a new mystery.

*By Neil Swidey, Boston Globe Magazine

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TROY - The Latest Strip


--Wizard's Note: I have updated all the TROY posts to reflect Michael Derry's new domain. Links are no longer broken--


This a gay-themed comic

Click Above Then choose 'Current Strip'

Click Above Then choose 'Current Strip'.



Troy # 263 is out and online. Suprise! Suprise! It's a day of big surprises for the happy couple, Troy and Nick.

And you can find Michael's books and ebooks for sale at TROYTooner.


Why the US Navy is better than the IRAQI Navy...



US Navy


Iraqi Navy

Does Your Day Ever Feel Like This?



Click here.

I wanna go to Disneyland!


Disneyland Worker

Warped Newz

CROWN POINT, INDIANA -- police have reopened a case of a man who died from 32 hammer blows to his head. The cause of death had been ruled a suicide. The County coroner's opinion stated that a man simply could not remain conscious long enough to hit himself in the head 32 times. (Editor's note - gee ya think?)



PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA - When Jesus returns he'll have more than enough mad money for a new Ferrari or nice place to call home. That's because Ernest Digweed, who died sixteen years ago, left his entire estate to Jesus Christ, the Jesus Christ. The State Trustee Office was instructed to invest his money in government bonds, guaranteeing Jesus a total yield of $615,820 by the end of the century. Digweed's heirs are contesting the will, and have offered an unusual solution: an insurance policy in the same amount payable to Jesus upon his return. Since then, another problem has cropped up. Two individuals, each claiming to be Jesus have filed claims for the money...


UTICA, NY - Dayle Nisi was hospitalized after going skinny dipping at a nearby lake. In a fresh water version of Jaws, a giant snapping turtle used part of Nisi's anatomy as a meal. Nasi later stated, "I felt this excruciating pain in my groin and when I got my bearings, I realized a turtle had bitten my testicles and swam away with them. It's not a nice feeling, I'll tell you that." (future Darwin award hopeful)



VASSAR COLLEGE - A male student slipped a date rape drug into his girl's drink and mistakenly drank from the spiked drink himself. When the girl realized what had happened, she took him back to her room and sodomized him with a "strap-on utensil". Later, the male student dropped charges against his one time girlfriend after consulting with his lawyer.



MADRID, SPAIN - It was an embarrassing ordeal as one man's desire for safe sex got him stuck for four hours. After a long night on the town with his girlfriend, a 23-year old man put some coins into a condom machine outside a pharmacy. When nothing came out, the man pounded impatiently on the machine then stuck his hand in the opening to try to pull the condom package out. Two of his fingers became caught inside. For the next few hours he was the brunt of humiliating comments from passers-by while he and his girlfriend tried unsuccessfully to pry his hand loose.



AMSTERDAM - Two intoxicated men were fined $480 for urinating on passengers and airplane seats while aboard separate flights to Amsterdam.



PADERBORN, GERMANY - Peter Howeler has been dubbed the "Bungling Bank Robber" after screwing up a bank robbery and then some. The stupid criminal, In his attempt to hide his gun from the guard on duty, he shoved the firearm into his back pocket, and discharged it into his left buttock. After being rushed to a local hospital, he was later charged with attempted robbery.



CANCUN, MEXICO - Rita Garcia, jealous over her estranged husband Pedro's way with the women, broke into her his apartment and located his unused condoms in a drawer. She carefully opened a condom and peppered chili powder in one, resealed it perfectly and then waited for the results. After a moment of passion with his 19-year-old girlfriend Pedro was rushed to the hospital with his manhood on "fire". Rita, upon her being charged with second degree assault said, "He wanted hot sex with that 19-year-old and he got it."



NEW ORLEANS - The head of the New Orleans police force has decided that two officers found guilty of receiving medals for a lifesaving rescue will be suspended. In February, the officers reported that they saved a woman from drowning in her car after it overturned into a canal last August. Four residents said they, rather than the officers, rescued the young woman, and witnesses said police officers did not arrive at the scene until after the victim had been pulled out of the canal and revived.



MANASSAS, VIRGINIA - Wayne Snider planned a heist down to the last detail. The plan was to hold up an armored car as it made its pickup at a local bowling alley. Right on schedule, Snider rushed up to the driver, flashed a gun at him and screamed, "Give it up!" The startled driver looked around inside the vehicle and finally handed the stupid criminal a large sack. It took Snider several minutes but eventually he realized a terrible mistake had been made. Instead of holding up the armored car he had robbed a laundry truck. The sack contained a bunch of dirty mop heads.



MIAMI BEACH, FL - Police are looking for a "butcher" with no medical training who, while posing as a plastic surgeon, mutilated at least three people, including a former male champion bodybuilder who received women's breasts instead of pectoral implants. The imposter, Reinaldo Silvestre, and two accomplices used an animal tranquilizer in botched operations including the one preformed on bodybuilder, Mr. Mexico of 1975. The case came to light last month when a videotape was brought to police showing the surgery on the bodybuilder. Miami Beach police Capt. Charles Press spoke about the videotape "... it was obscene. I've been [a police officer] for almost 25 years, and I was repulsed. The guy kept waking up. They told him to lie down and not worry about it. He was in obvious pain." The videotape showed that Silvestre used an instrument that resembled a spatula during the surgery. It also showed him jamming the implants into the man's chest with his fingers.



LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN - Police arrested a suspect who accosted a woman near an automatic teller machine with a knife. The stupid criminal told police that he wasn't trying to rob her-- he only wanted to sell her the knife....



FAYETTEVILLE, ARK - A football fan with a cellular phone in his pocket equipped with one-touch buttons called the 911 emergency number 35 times by standing up and sitting down while cheering. Police eventually traced it to Razorback Stadium where the man was held for questioning and scolded..

Roy Sullivan, the forest ranger who enjoys the record for being struck by lightning five times, is still at it. He now has two more strikes to his credit. Actually, he was hit again on the shoulder, and the seventh and latest hit set his hair on fire for a record third time, and singed his clothing. "Some people are allergic to flowers", says Sullivan. "I'm allergic to lightning." (Future Darwin award hopeful)



MARSHFIELD, WISCONSIN - A man will spend 20 days in jail for urinating on an ATM machine. Apparently James Turley became frustrated when the machine wouldn't give him any money and proceeded to pee all over the machine. Unfortunately, for Turley, a security camera recorded the whole thing in living color. A judge placed him on probation for three years and ordered him not to carry an ATM card.



LEEDS, ENGLAND - Colin Wilson burst into a fast food restaurant at closing time brandishing a wooden table leg as a weapon and demanding money. The restaurant manager, who was standing near the deep fryer, simply reached over and yanked the fry basket out of the hot grease and whacked Wilson across the face with it. The stupid criminal beat a hasty retreat toward the door. He was arrested a short time later after a nearby hospital tipped police that they had a patient with an outline of a French fry basket burned into his forehead. (Future Darwin award hopeful)



THE CAYMAN ISLANDS - Jason Randall dialed what he thought was the number of his drug dealer to buy some cocaine. Unfortunately he dialed the wrong number, and reached the deputy chief of the police department's drug task force, who decided to play along and set up a meeting to make the deal. Randall showed up and was promptly arrested.



ANOKA, MINN - Jan Steffen, 33, a hair stylist got five years in prison for trying to hire a hit man to kill her husband after she allegedly botched two attempts herself. During one of the attempts, Steffen used an exotic method of asphyxiation she saw on TV's "Matock."