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I'm always thinking of stuff and then, before I can put anything into action (as if I would), someone else comes out with my idea. For example, all these shows on TV where people stick a camera in someones face and ask them stupid questions: I was doing that back in the early 90s before anyone else even thought of it. Trouble is, I didn't see the money-making potential of the idea and therefore never cashed in.

So from now on I'm going to write my ideas down. And I'll be putting a date on them. Then, if someone else comes out with something similar, I have evidence that I thought of it first. I don't know what purpose that will serve, but I'm going to do it anyway.

So here's my first idea: It's a reality TV show. They're hot right now, in case you hadn't noticed. It's called "People vs Freaked Out Wild Animals". Here's how it works:

Each week we capture a wild animal. A deer, a raccoon, a rabbit, a goose, etc. The first 10 minutes of the show is us catching the animal. Wacky stuff will happen; there's a bit of a chase, maybe someone falls down and gets hurt or the animal bites them and we cut to a 30 second shot of that person getting a series of rabies shots in a hospital, wincing in pain. That's funny stuff.

Once the show takes off we'll go on location in foreign countries and catch some of the local fauna, to keep things diverse and interesting. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

After we catch the animal we tie something annoying to some part of its body. Again, lots of potentially amusing stuff can happen here. Ever tried to tie a cowbell to a raccoon? I bet it gets really pissed off and tries to bite you. That's good TV right there.

So we strap something annoying to the animal. Maybe a cow bell, maybe one of those baby toys that keeps making noise. Or maybe we even tie one animal to another. The point is that we want a pissed off animal for the show.

At the same time that one crew is prepping the animal, another is setting up the hidden cameras. We'll hide cameras at a shopping mall, in a church or a restaurant or someplace like that. Some place indoors, where you don't usually see wild animals.

Then we take our pissed off animal and we let it loose in the target location. All cameras are rolling! Here's what I see will happen:

First reaction, people freak out and take off. We get a few shots of scared faces, mothers picking up their babies and making a run for it, little kids screaming. Maybe we get lucky and some 250lb muscle-bound football player type guy squeals like a girl and jump on a chair. That'd be awesome.

Next comes the animal lover. Someone in the crowd is going to feel sorry for our raccoon with the cow bell or our deer with a squirrel tied to its back. And this dork is going to try to approach the animal and help it. That's when the fun starts.

Take one pissed off, wild and untamed animal and then add an approaching human. Things are going to get nasty. I foresee scratches, kicks, bites. Everybody loves to see a do-gooder animal lover get bloodied by the very animal they're trying to save. That's good for at least a million viewers.

The final hidden camera scene will be the animal control people coming to capture the animal. It's a short segment. They'll walk in, trap the animal in a box or catch it with a giant net or even shoot it dead.

Then we walk up to the animal control people, cameras in hand, and we pretend to be a local news team, broadcasting live. We ask animal control "What's going on here?" and they'll talk about how a live mongoose with a stapler tied to its leg (or whatever the case may be) managed to get into the Wal-Mart. The viewers will laugh because they'll all know it was really us and the animal control guy doesn't suspect a thing! What a maroon!

We'll wrap the show with the credits rolling up and some outtakes or bloopers playing behind it. Sometimes it'll be bloopers, like when the camera man gets bit by a snake or something we really weren't expecting. Or if we get caught we'll show the cops arresting us and we'll all be yelling "PETA! PETA! PETA! Free the animals!" or some such nonsense about an animal charity that's totally unrelated to the show but who's lawyers will bud in and get involved, thus confusing the issue and pissing off the judge and he'll throw the whole thing out of court and we'll avoid jail time.

I'm thinking it'll be a half-hour show, once a week. After the second season maybe we'll do a movie version where we release really big wild animals, like lions or ostriches, in public places in third-world countries. That way we can get away with it if they accidentally kill someone.

This show is going to kick so much ass.

I don’t know if this means anything or not. Maybe it’s a burst of personal satisfaction that somehow, amongst all the bullshit that we all face on a daily basis; something is sinking in…

I’m not that big on Easter. All the primping and preening that people go through to put on their Sunday best somehow seems false to me and if anybody out there can explain to me what cute little bunny rabbits and mounds of candy have to do with death and rebirth, I’m all ears. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not knocking people of faith or anything like that. On the contrary, I have a great deal of respect for those who try to live their lives according to the Golden Rule and at times wish I’d show more of it myself as I go about my business. It’s the inconsistencies of some folks that really get my kettle boiling. That though, is another subject for another time.

My neighbors are nice folks and each and every year they have their relatives come to town and they do up Easter on a pretty large scale. Egg hunts and baskets of candy for the youngen’s and the obligatory walk to Church for the Sunday Services are part of their ritual. One of the visitors they have is a little girl about Anna’s age, cute as button and polite as can be. Trying to make her feel more at home, I sort of insisted that Anna go reacquaint herself with her and to run off and do whatever it is that ten and eleven year olds do when left to their own devices. Well, that lasted all of about an hour when the proverbial “I’m bored” came ringing at the door.

Sunday was a gorgeous day, the temperature was hovering in the mid 70’s, there was nary a breeze in the air and the good vibes could be felt throughout the neighborhood. I guess I could’ve taken the easy way out and plopped them down in front of the television and flipped on a DVD or something to try and keep them amused but it was just too nice outside to let the day slip off in to vacant stares and bags of chips. Remembering that I had a badminton set that was lurking somewhere down in the basement, I made my way downstairs and decided to dust it off and set it up in the backyard.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the handiest person on the planet and tools and putting stuff together just aren’t in my genes. About the only things I feel comfortable using without either hurting myself or leaving behind a trail of expletives are a knife, a fork and pen and even that at times is questionable. So I enlisted the kids help and it wasn’t long before we were swatting around the shuttlecock and having ourselves a few laughs and it looked like the afternoon was going to be saved after all. After playing a few games, I found myself winded and decided to go inside and fix up a dish of ice cream for the girls for when they got done. Sure enough, about a half hour later they came calling and said they were going down the block to see if another one of the local girls was at home. The promise of the ice cream delayed them for a bit.

They were sitting on the front steps and all seemed right with the world. The girls were getting along fine finishing up their treats and I kind of hovered out of earshot trying to remain as inconspicuous as possible. As they were getting ready to leave, I asked Anna if she had brought the rackets they used for badminton inside.

It was then when I got the surprise. The little girl that was visiting must have either been in a hurry or was just being plain lazy but I heard her mutter something like “Just tell him yes so we can go.”

My kid, God bless her, didn’t know I could hear them but she responded something along the lines of “I don’t tell lies to my father” and she got up and fetched the rackets, brought them inside and gave me one of those little girl pecks on the cheek and said “See ya Dad!” and bounced back outside off for destinations unknown.

Maybe it was the couple of beers that I had during the afternoon that made me take notice of this little thing or maybe I’m just an old softie. My eyes welled up and I had to brush back a tear or two that was starting to leak out of the corner of my eyes. I thought about that kid and her trip to the church that morning and of all the family she had to keep her company on her “holy day” and then I thought about mine.

See, I have no immediate family in town. Most of it is of the “extended” type that consists of friends from the local watering hole and other assorted acquaintances and they all have their own lives to lead and their own problems to deal with . Me and Anna, when she’s with me, are our own little island. There’s nobody to run errands for us or to help with the chores or to take over when the going gets a little rough. Over the years, we’ve learned to rely on ourselves and sometimes I feel as if I’ve cheated her because of the fact that most of the times, it’s just the two of us.

Now I know that the lie the little girl wanted to tell was a little one and in the grand scheme of things has little impact on the ways of the world. If there’s such a thing as an innocent lie, maybe that was one of them. After all, nobody was getting hurt and the toys could always be put back later couldn’t they? But then I thought about “character” and the traits that one learns when they are young and that they are likely to carry through to adulthood.

And then I thought despite not having a large family and the dressing up and Easter bunnies and the trips to church…

My little girl has character

God would be pleased…

My suggestion is to make e2 more user friendly for first time visitors (readers), by providing support for real external links that take you directly outside the e2 domain, in situations where the user would definitly expect it.

I understand the concern about this though, as internal links should be promoted as much as possible (I agree with that).

My suggestion therefore is to support direct external links only when they are obviously meant to be external links, and the new reader would expect to be taken there directly.

That is the case when external links are not piped, like this: http://www.google.com/ which ends up looking to the reader like this: http://www.google.com/. In that case, the internal page gives only some less interesting links to "http" related stuff anyway. The first time user can be confused by this, and think: "this link seems to be broken". People reported exactly this after I mailed them about my first write up in E2.

When an external link is piped, I suggest to leave things as they are now.

Examples where the user would expect to be taken to an external site immediately :

   This solution was first published by Norman Hardy on his website: http://cap-lore.com/CapTheory/ConfusedDeputyM.html

   A list of alternative implementations of E is maintained at http://www.erights.org/e-impls/index.htm.

In these examples, the url itself is part of the information that is provided.

Example where the user would not expect to be taken to an external site immediately :

   There are many alternative implementations for this language. (a piped external link)

When life resembles a sitcom:

Mother and Father and toddler at dinner table.

Voice of preschooler, from the bathroom: "Could somebody wipe my butt?"

Mother looks at Father. Father looks at Mother. Mother and Father, while gesturing: "one, two, three..."

Father shows scissors. Mother shows scissors. Mother and Father, while gesturing: "one, two, three..."

Father shows rock. Mother shows scissors.

Rock beats scissors.

Exit Mother, to bathroom.

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