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Ask James Anything Friday

Some of you may remember when we used to do this on my old blog. It was lots of fun. At least I think so.

So here are the rules: Ask me anything about anything - the news, the news biz, Miami, me, you, some madness you're involved in or aware of, your romance or lack thereof, politics, civility and manners, ethics and morals, race, race relations, crime, friendships, disputes, popular culture, celebrity, life in general, etc. I will do my Dr. Phil best to answer everything. In fact, I will answer everything. Not guaranteeing that you'll like all my answers, but I'll answer every question.

We're all grown here. So there's probably no need to lay down ground rules. Besides if you use language that's too outrageous, the lurking filter will catch you anyway.

With that, ask away. But keep in mind, like I said last week my ego will be bruised if not enough questions are posted. I said last week I'd go on blog strike if by Sunday I haven't received 100 questions. But I'm in a good mood this morning. So I'll settle for 50. Tell your blog fans, friends, colleagues, people you hate, etc. And I'm sure we'll get to 50 questions soon enough. If not, you guys are gonna be reading archived blog posts for a few days, till my sadness subsides. Smiley Good weekend!


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Dr. James,

Recently my husband and I put in a vegetable and flower garden which seemed like a beautiful idea from the outset but turned out to be a near-marriage ending undertaking that made me fantasize about fertilizing my new tomatoes by composting my beloved.

Here's my question: Should I be nervous that my husband has recently taken out a substantial life insurance policy on me and has several shovels wrapped in plastic on the back patio? Or should I simply take him at his word when he asserts that tarps and lime are necessary garden accessories?

Sign me,
Uneasy in Sacramento

James B.

Ha ha ha! Steph, you'd better sleep with one eye open. This is a tough one. I consulted a gardening expert, who happened to be walking by my desk, and it's my understanding that all that stuff is useful in gardens, except the shovels wrapped in plastic. I guess they're useful too, but it's not necessary to cover 'em in plastic unless your husband plans on scooping poo with those shovels and doesn't want to contaminate 'em, or unless he needs to make sure no DNA evidence finds its way onto the shovel.


Why is Miami known ad "god's waiting room"? And how is it that you can be so dang good looking and not have your own talk show? Keith Olberman is ugly as hell and dumb as a bag of hammers, and he has his own show.

no, I don't have a man crush on you or anything.


Was that out loud?

James B.

Og, I was always told Miami, and maybe Florida in general, got that nickname 'cause of the irreverant joke that elderly snowbirds move here to die.

As for me, mine is a special kind of pretty. You don't reach this level of pretty without practice. So I'm puzzled too as to why the TV gurus haven't discovered me. I'll bet I could even beat Olbermann in a cage match...O'Reilly, and Lou Dobbs too, for that matter ;-)

And no worries about the man crush. I know you're not flirting with me. Neither of our wives would approve!

Jeni Hill Ertmer

You posted yesterday about the issue in the news lately about the autistic boy in Minnesota whose parents were banned from bringing their son to Mass at their church but I was just wondering what your thoughts were about the five-year-old autistic boy from Florida whose teacher polled the class, had the children each tell the boy too what they disliked about him and then voted to have him excluded from the class. How would you react if you and Mrs. B had a special needs child and the teacher did something like that which excluded your child?

Ms Bajan

I am getting back into the dating arena after a self-imposed hibernation of a several years. During which time I decided to listen to God's words on how I ought to conduct myself sexually from this point forward.

With that said, I decided not to have sex until I am married. When is it a good time to let the man in my life know my position on sex outside of marriage?

James B.

Jeni, I read about that teacher and the 5-year-old. I think it was incredibly mean of the teacher to do that. If she wanted the kid out of her class - for whatever reason - she should have removed him herself instead of hiding behind what amounted to a very flimsy experiment in Democracy with 5-year-old guinea pigs. Of course, the whole story raises additional questions that I'm ignorant too. For example, if the child in question had severe behavioral problems, should he have been in a regular classroom? I'm not saying he shouldn't have. I'm just asking. Maybe a special ed classroom would have been better for him. Either way, the teacher went about it the wrong way. As for Mrs. B and me, if it was our child this happened to, I think we'd have blown our tops. But I think we'd be upset because if the school (teacher, administration, etc.) thought he wasn't meant to be in a regular classroom I'd expect them to tell us that before our child got settled in that classroom. That way he could be moved to a different class in a kind, civil manner. I guess that's also my long way of saying if we had a special needs child and his behavior was deemed too disruptive we wouldn't put him in a regular classroom. I think we'd have him a special classroom, in a setting where he could act out and glean creative learning from it, rather than getting in trouble for it.

Ms. Bajan, I think it depends on how the dates go. I wouldn't tell him on the first date. He might panic and think you're being very presumptuous about the future success of your relationship. And I wouldn't tell him on the second date, 'cause that'll be about the time you guys start to break the full comfort barrier with one another. If by the third date you guys are totally at ease with one another and are talking about future dates and companionship in open-ended terms, I'd tell him then. The only exception to that advice would be if you guys have dates one through three on consecutive days in the same week or something. But if you guys spread your first few dates out over several weeks, then I'd go with my plan if I were you.

Tennessee Budd

Dear Mr. Burnette: My Lakeland-born girlfriend, although a Tennessee resident for 15 years now, still says things like "realitor" and "everdently". I know we hillbillies mangle the language in our own ways, but she could at least fit in with our errors. Is there hope, or is Floridianism bone-deep?

Dat RoRo Kid

Dr. J,

Why am I crying so much? All I want to do is cry? I'm a weepy wimp.

James B.

Ha! Tennessee Budd, that's OK. My cousin from North Carolina says "mirk," when I'm pretty sure she means milk. And I've never poured her a glass of mirk. I accept and embrace her twisted tongue ;-)

I don't think Floridianism is bone deep either. I've lived here going on three years, and my wife still insists she's a Wisconsinite!

James B.

Dat RoRo Kid, I think your nickname is making you cry. Otherwise, you've gotta give me more detail or see a shrink. Crying all the time is not good. Aside from drying out your eyes and negatively affecting your level of pretty, it can't be mentally or emotionally healthy either.

James B.

Dat RoRo Kid, in case you really are depressed or something, I was just kidding about your nickname. It's just fine. Although you have me curious now as to what RoRo is short for.


Dear Mr. Burnette,

I have two questions, if that doesn't violate my terms of use agreement.

1. I've recently ordered a surplus Mosin Nagant to practice some amateur smithing on. In addition to bedding the action, floating the barrel, and doing a trigger job, I would like to try recrowning the barrel. I can't decide between lap crowning and purchasing a crowner that will cut an 11 degree angle. The 11 degree cutter is more expensive. Will I see a significant improvement in performance with the 11 degree crown, or should I just stick with the less expensive lap crowner?

2. Why can't more people be like you.



Not another question, but please forgive my oafish misspelling of your last name.

James B.

Ha ha ha, Weetabix? What's next, a question on how to perform brain surgery? I knew I should've put an exception disclaimer at the bottom of this post. But my word is my word. So my humble opinion is that lap crowning is fine, but the 11 degree cutter will give you a more consistent shot.

How's that? Did I pass?-)

And no worries about my name. From time to time I have to remind folks that there's no "e" on the end. But I know who I am, so as the kids like to say, it's all good.

Edward Bonderenka

Mr. B.,
Og sent me.
Said I have to ask a question.

James B.

Very funny, Edward. I once had that question on a philosophy exam. The answer I gave then (and now) was because!


Mr B.

Og suggested I ask you a question and since I usually have to provide answers I thought why not.

Question: Why do the democrats higher lawyers to count all the votes in Florida one year and then hire the same laywers to make sure they don't count 3 years later?

James B.

PaulB, thanks for visiting. Interesting question, but in the interest of absolute fairness & accuracy only Barack Obama's campaign and his supporters have challenged the seating of all the Democratic delegates in Denver, unless his and Clinton's campaign come up with some sort of sharing agreement. Further, the DNC's rules, similar to the RNC's rules, called for the immediate elimination of half the party's natl. Delegates in any state that violates the primary season calendar. When that violation occured in FL earlier this year, true to its rules the RNC stripped FL of half its delegates. The main screw-up by the DNC on this issue was that it violated its own existing rules & stripped FL of ALL its delegates, thus creating an unnecessary legal headache.


Can a capacitor be used to store DC power for use in low current applications like LED lighting? If so, what size for 800ma/hour?

Well, nobody else seems to know...


Can a capacitor be used to store DC power for use in low current applications like LED lighting? If so, what size for 800ma/hour?

Well, nobody else seems to know...


Dr. Burnett,
Our older daughter graduated from university a screaming liberal. Our younger daughter is about to start university. Granted, the older one majored in art in Eugene, Oregon, a double (arguably, triple) handicap, while the younger one will major in computer science in a technically oriented university. Still, academia is academia, and my question is, how can I inoculate her against liberal-schmiberal brainwashing over the next 4 years?


Okay, James, I need some advice. Can you recommend a book for someone who is seriously organizationally challenged?

James B.

DoubleTrouble, why cause me headaches? I'm not Marilyn vos Savant. The answer to your question is theoretically yes. I say theoretically though, 'cause I don't know what size capacitor for 800 mA-hour. Sorry.

Morenuancedthanyou, all I can tell you is my parents "feared" - and I use that word loosely - that I would exit college with a different partisan leaning than the one they'd raised me on. When in fact, I came out with a better ability to listen and get along with people I disagreed with. But my roots were intact. So I'd say if you and your kid are on the same page when she starts college and she doesn't experience or witness earth shattering, life changing events that contradict you while in college, she'll come out much the same person as when she started - just older and wiser. If you want a stark conservative/liberal liberal/conservative example, look at Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell, two opposites if ever there were opposites. Earlier in both their careers they were hardcore enemies. They became friends over the years though. While neither ever compromised how he felt about the other's belief system they learned to simply get along with each other as two men taking a stand on something.

James B.

Slash, try Getting things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity, by David Allen.


Is Neanderpundit a douche bag?

James B.

Now, now, JohnB, let's play nice. I assume this is a not so subtle jab rooted in politics. Look at McCain/Lieberman, peanut butter and jelly, Kid 'n Play, Cheech 'n Chong, Men and Women, Mars and Venus. Rodney King and LAPD. We can all get along.


Of course neanderpundit is a douchebag. Now: Another question, if I may, James: Is John likely to show up and call me a douchebag to my face, or just yap from behind the safety of his keyboard? nevermind, I suspect I probably already know the answer.

On a brighter note, and again, if i may ask another question, can you make one of those newspaper hats the pressmen used to wear? Would you post a picture of yourself wearing it?

The OE

Due to my commitment to National security my question must remain Top Secret

Tennessee Budd

Thanks, James! Not another question, I just wanted to mention that I, too, was steered here by the mighty Og. (By now, of course, lots of people are scratching their heads and asking, "Who the hell is Og?"). TB


Dear Answer Man, Sir,

Since I have committed to voting for Dave Barry and you, please consider this a campaign issue that I wish you, my Vice-Presidential Candidate to explain to me.

Obama has a Minister who has delivered sermons that may or may not offend segments of the population, hence Obama has had to separate himself from his Minister. Then his minister really gave a 'sermon' that made certain that Obama had to separate himself from the Minister.

Now, a 'white' Minister has gone into Obama's congregation, informs the congregation that he is 'white' (perhaps there was also radio coverage, that's where I heard excerpts) and that 'he' doesn't like Hilary. And now Obama has to distance himself from another Minister.

Is this because, as you pointed out and thus I accepted as absolute fact since you represent the 'print' media and thus actually double check facts, that Obama is half-black, and half-white, and thus responsible for any outrageous Ministerial outbreak or utterance? Or was it his Minister, and then his Church? Why does this smell of Republican dirty tricks from the Nixon Administration? Is this really supposed to show that he lacks experience? Could Hilary be behind this? Is the American Public sufficiently gullible to believe this kind of crap? Is anyone trying to sabotage your or Dave's Campaign? How can we make this process better?

I have one other question. In the unlikely event that you and Dave aren't elected in November, do you both have plans for advancing through and taking over the editorial process at the Herald?


James B.

Og, I'll be glad to officiate the match betwen you and John. Three five minute rounds, no saved by the bell, elbows, and knees allowed.

And yes, I aim to please...within reason. So before this weekend is over, I will make a newspaper hat, take a picture wearing it and post it to the blog.

The OE, what agency sent you to spy on me? I know you guys are watching.

Tennessee Bud, no worries. As for Og, long-time readers of my blog know that Og is a common sense guy who in political discussions is a champion for the right. And it's all good, as the kids like to say. I'd like him no matter what side of the political spectrum he was on.

Ha ha ha ha ha! Monty, I love the way you think, especially that last question ;-)

I'll start at the top. I don't think a Republican conspiracy is behind the string of over-the-top preachers in the pulpit of Obama's church. I don't think it's that deep at all. I think Obama's former pastor was a little nutty. Some people argued he was racist, but I don't recall him saying anything (in the snippets we were shown on TV) blatantly anti-white. Those people who say he isn't patriotic? Well, that's not an unfair argument. Believe it or not - and this may make some of you gasp - I think if you got past the bluster and pomp of Rev. Wright's preaching style, some of his message was run of the mill. It's stuff we've been hearing from evangelical clergy for decades, maybe more than a century in this country - as in if the nation doesn't change it's ways God is gonna send a disaster to teach us a lesson. There's no way anyone familiar with American history believes Rev. Wright is the first preacher to say such things. In the past it's been called "Hell fire 'n brimstone." These days when it's in reference to a man-made disaster it's potentially unpatriotic. That's not a political assessment on my part. It's just James the Average Shmuck taking to steps back and listening. I don't need to give a disclaimer, but again, anyone who has been reading me for a while knows I'm as patriotic as anyone. I'm just sayin'. As for the white priest you're talking about, mybe he was being malicious about Sen. Clinton. Maybe he was trying to be clever. I don't know. Either way, what he said was out of order. And now that I think about it, what happened to preachers sticking primarily to religious themes behind the pulpit and saving their social activism for when they're out on the street? That's not a jab at Obama's church, specifically. I'd include the likes of Pat Robertson who suggested to his audience (TV & live) after 9/11 that America may have done sinful things to provoke the attacks.

Finally, if Dave accepts me as his running mate, I plan on taking this to the fall and partying for free at somebody's convention.

And if a mutiny is ever staged at the Herald, I'll negotiate a peace treaty in exchange for...well, I can't show all my cards just yet ;-)

The Sarcasticynic

James, when is your publisher going to get rid of that annoying rollover advertising at the top of your blog? I really don't need that aggravation in my life.

James B.

Sarc, that type of ad is annoying, but suffer through it please. It helps pay my mortgate and keeps my pantry full of things more food-like than Top Ramen.


hey, James...
Ok...some questions for you...
1. Why did you choose to go into journalism?
2. If you had to do something else, what would you do?
3. what's your favorite thing about being in south Florida?

James B.

Hey, Claudia. I chose journalism, 'cause I wanted to write for a living, and I loved the urgency and immediacy of chasing the news. Plus, I saw some unfair articles about people as I was growing up, people who were being portrayed in inaccurate negative ways. So I thought I'd get in the biz to put some much needed balance on the scales.

If I had to do something else, my dream would be writing books and hosting a mid day talk radio show. I'm workin' on the books. Hopefully there'll be some news on that front soon.

My favorite thing about South Florida is living a mile from the beach and being able to go there year round. Nothing like white sand and clear blue waters in the middle of January, when your friends and family up north are complaining about their heating bills.



I've got a question for you. Every time I join an African American man in line at the grocery store, bank, jeweler, etc., he has to turn around and make eye contact with me, if not try to stare me down. Why is this? Why must black men ALWAYS turn around to take their bearings in any situation, even while in the most staid of white neighborhoods?

James B.

M@, are you on the juice again?

I told you before, I can't speak for other black men - not in this scenario. Maybe subconsciously you're mean-mugging these guys so they're sizing you up in case you flip and attack them. Or, since you and I both know that "the most staid of white neighborhoods" as you describe them is some sort of coded language, maybe these guys are taking their bearings 'cause they've heard stories from their elders that sometimes the most peaceful looking 'hoods are the ones where you're inexplicably asked to justify your existence.

But that's all too philosopical and speculative. Most likely, you're just paranoid. Ha ha ha ha ha! Just kidding.


James, I'll give your question session a go. I found you from my friend's blog, Frothing at the Mouse.

This Clay Aiken/whoever the baby's mama is story has me confused. I think she's twice his age and from what I can tell they have not had sex.

Why are they having this child? Shouldn't the baby mama just be called a surrogate? I can't tell if they intend to raise the baby together.
I always thought Clay was gay, nttatwwt...it just leads to my confusion.



James, I'll give your question session a go. I found you from my friend's blog, Frothing at the Mouse.

This Clay Aiken/whoever the baby's mama is story has me confused. I think she's twice his age and from what I can tell they have not had sex.

Why are they having this child? Shouldn't the baby mama just be called a surrogate? I can't tell if they intend to raise the baby together.
I always thought Clay was gay, nttatwwt...it just leads to my confusion.



I apologize, I have no idea why that showed up twice!

James B.

Kay, this is a very good question. I was so confused when I first read about it that I had to check and make sure I was sober.

Technically, I believe the babymama would be a surrogate if she was having the kid for someone other than herself - like if she pulled a Michael Jackson-and-Debbie Rowe, and had the kid for the sole purpose of turning it over to Clay so he could raise it.

Clay may well be gay. That's too many "ays" in one sentence. But the last time I speculated about that I received about three-dozen emails from self-declared Claymates threatening my manhood if I didn't back off their hero.

So from what I can glean, Aiken's producer friend's maternal instincts kicked in, and Aiken, being very close with her and perhaps feeling a few paternal instincts of his own went along with the plan. But until he confirms this story, or documents surface that confirm it, then it's all just an educated guess, suplemented by the semi-informed and sometimes right Hollywood gossip mill.

James B.

No worries, Kay. I do lots of stuff twice without realizing it ;-)

Thanks for coming by. And please come back often!


James. can I go partying with you this fall if I bring along my "Alert Reader" postcard from the man?


Dear James,
Why are so many U.S. macro breweries making beer with lime in it these days (Chelada style)? Do they hate me or something? Or just the Baby Jesus?

Also, that might be 2 questions. No one told me there'd be math on this test.

Thanks man!

James B.

Gerald, you bring that card along, and you can party w/me this summer.

Jon, it's another lame attempt by domestic breweries masquerading as producers of exotic drink.

And I think they just hate you. I wouldn't take it if I were you.


Dear James,

I have been told not to drink the kool-aid. Since Jesus (allegedly, metephor?) turned water into wine, can I drink the wine? If so, would you and your wife extend me the honor of joining me in said drinking of wine if and when I get down your way? I don't have a card from the man, but maybe you could make and exception, or I could fake one. Would be my treat!


It's Saturday. Can I still ask a Friday question?


Dear James:

Do you think people are generally thieving ratbait, or are they products of their environment (like a hotel convention) and think it's okay to swipe your food and drink--because it's there?

Also, if I could buy a new pair of shoes right now, should I go with a sandal or closed toe?


Food Cop, barefoot

The Sarcasticynic

James, I'm all for helping you pay your mortgage, but rollover ads that capture your mouse click and give you advertising instead of directing you to your intended destination can lead some new users to jump ship. In the industry they call that "false clicks."

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