Archive for April, 2012

You know how you’re at your mom’s house visiting, or whatever, and you decide to crack your knuckles and she yells at you that you’re going to give yourself arthritis if you keep cracking them?

Is she right? Can you get arthritis from cracking your knuckles?

I wish I could just come out and say “no”, but it’s probably safer to say that there is no proof that links knuckle cracking to arthritis.

Actually, you’re popping your knuckle, not cracking it. The sound you are hearing is the knuckle joint popping in and/or out of its socket.

You see, there is this fluid in the joint called “the synovial fluid” and it helps the ligaments and other tissues that keep the knuckle in place.  The synovial fluid is mostly made up with carbon dioxide and a little bit of nitrogen and looks like thick syrup. When you bend your fingers back (or however your style), you’re pulling the bones apart from the joint causing pressure to reduce in the synovial fluid  which form bubbles and eventually burst – that’s the sound you’re hearing. Experts call this cavitation.

However, the question still arises if you are harming yourself…so, are you?
Well, there’s a doctor at the Johns Hopkins University that says that “any risk associated with knuckle cracking is very minor”. One study did show that people who cracked their knuckles on a daily basis did experience less grip strength over time.

There is an article in Scientific Magazine that said a man over a 50 year period (since his childhood) cracked the knuckles on one hand more often than the other. He claims that he has no arthritis in either hand and that his grip has not been affected.

Getting kicked in the balls is one of the worst feelings of pain I have ever felt in my life. Unfortunately, I have experience this more times than I’d like to remember.
Here is a brief story of one of those times.

I call this…

The Cup Check

October of 1985 and I was on the freshman football team. A friend of mine named Ryan M. walked up to me and jokingly kicked me in the balls.

He did this at the same time he yelled out, “Cup check!”

Who plays...who don't?

Who plays…who don’t?

It was like in slow motion but there was nothing I could have done. Ryan wasn’t the kind of guy that went around kicking people in the dick…know what I mean? So it was kind of shocking that Ryan actually did this…and of ALL people – me!

Ryan and I are friends, we wouldn’t kick each other in the dick. I take that back…we would kick each other in the dick, but we would both know that it was coming. You would stay on your toes until the threat was clear and some sort of verbal pack would be drawn; a  hand shake and a promise and you were good to go – until next time.

I was walking back into the locker room and I was in the midst of pulling off my chin strap when I saw Ryan walking towards me but he was looking up. He was walking towards me, getting closer and then he pointed up. I automatically looked up to see what he was pointing at.

That’s when I heard Ryan say out loud “Cup check!”.

I didn’t remember at the time exactly what happened – I came to while laying on my back with both my hands firmly supporting my johnson. I had my knees pulled up to my chest and I was rolling back and forth from side to side. I had my eyes shut tight but when I realized what happened, I opened them.

I saw Ryan standing over me bent over with his hands on his knees. He was asking me if I was alright. I remember thinking to myself, “What a great friend, he’s concerned for me.”

The Pain

The only way I can best describe the pain after getting kicked in the balls, is like as if the pain is on the outside of my body. It’s not like a bruised arm or a scratched knee where I can see the injury; where I can interact with it and do what needs to be done. This pain is beyond being able to nurse it – physically. I’m grabbing my balls, but it doesn’t hurt RIGHT there – it’s in the vicinity, but it’s not exactly there in my balls.

From my understanding, the balls are attached coming from the abdomen. That’s why a lot of guys claim to have a deep pain in their stomach after such a tragic event.

Nausea is sometimes experienced, even as far as actually vomiting.urinary-incontinence-103062_640

Some countries are punishing those who kick others in the balls and treating it like a sexual harassment charge to discourage such rude behavior. Being kicked in the balls can have an impact on your ability to reproduce, even to the point to not being able to reproduce at all.

Studies have shown that some males have even had other medical problems related to getting kicked in the balls. Like having digestive problems, difficulty urinating or ejaculating, sometimes the testes have to be removed causing a whole other list of problems.

Please, Don’t Kick in the BALLS

This article was a ViewsHound Silver Prize Winner

                    By James Peters – Monday 13 Jun 2011

   A killer asteroid is set for collision with the Earth on April 13, 2036 and the United States isn’t taking it as seriously as Russia is.

 The killer asteroid Apophis can take out up to 25% of life on planet Earth.

Is the United States & NASA not taking this seriously enough?

Is the United States & NASA not taking this seriously enough?


 The scare of 2004

   There have been tales told, articles written and movies made about killer asteroids plummeting to the Earth, taking out cities and exterminating millions of people within seconds. The killer asteroid Apophis is such an asteroid and it’s all too real. It was discovered by the team of Tholen & Tucker on June 19 of 2004. They estimated that the asteroid Apophis is approximately 270 meters in length and in weight about 20,000+kgs. It is traveling at speeds of 23,000 mph and at that speed it can cause serious damage. It could take out over 10% of the world’s population if it hit dead middle of the Pacific Ocean, or it could take out around 25% of human life if the impact takes place on land. It was estimated then by Tholen & Tucker that the killer asteroid Apophis would make contact with the Earth April 13, 2029. This announcement put a bit of a scare into the public and that’s when NASA decided to step in and go over the notes and calculations of Tholen & Tucker. NASA and other astronomical agencies related to the United States government confirmed that there was an asteroid headed towards Earth but the date of impact was incorrect. Indeed, Apophis will pass the Earth in April of 2029 and will be able to be seen with a pair of binoculars, even during the day, but the date of impact isn’t until April 13, 2036.

   Donald Yeomans is head of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program. He confirms that Apophis will come close with the Earth’s gravitational pull in the year 2029 and if it hits a certain “keyhole” it has a chance of swinging back around and it will head for Earth once again. But Donald Yeomans assures us that the chance of it hitting the Earth even then is still highly unlikely. Russia did their own calculations and they think Yeomans calculations are slightly off and his predictions are extremely premature. Russian scientists think that when Apophis passes the Earth’s very strong gravitational pull on April 13, 2029, it will be a bit closer than what was earlier predicted. Passing the Earth that close will change the pathway of the killer asteroid Apophis, making it quite a possibility of it colliding with the Earth.

   Although the United States says there’s no reason to worry, Russia on the other hand says now is the time to prepare for the worst. Russia believes that constructing some sort of projectile to send into space and intercepting Apophis should be underway and soon. Professor Leonid Sokolov of the Saint Petersburg State University in Russia feels that the US is not taking the possibility of Apophis striking the Earth seriously. Professor Leonid Sokolov was quoted in saying the following:

   “Its likely collision with Earth may occur on April 13, 2036. Our task is to consider various alternatives and develop scenarios and plans of action depending on the results of further observations of Apophis.”


   NASA firmly believes that the Earth is perfectly safe from a collision with Apophis and that Professor Leonid Sokolov is just overly cautious. When someone asked Donald Yeomans the question, “What if…” He answered that the problem will be addressed swiftly and accurately.


Disclaimer: the views of the author are not those of ViewsHound, WordPress or Publisha Limited.

The Willis Tower - November 18, 2011

Chicago, Illinois – Remember when the Sears Tower was the tallest structure on the planet?

I do.

I remember skipping class from Hammond High School and riding up to Chicago to spend the day. My friend Todd Morris would borrow his mom’s car to drive to school in the morning and ended up picking up 3 or 4 of us and we’d all take off for the city.

We’d park the car in a parking garage in the loop somewhere and would stroll the streets of Chicago (weather permitting, of course). We would go everywhere, you name it, we’ve been there…twice!

One of the places we would stop at would be the Sears Tower. We would mimic the movie “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off” by stepping on a railing and leaning our forehead to the window. It would give a weird feeling through your entire body, almost as if you’re falling – pretty cool.

A Brief History on the Sears Tower
(A.K.A. The Willis Tower)

  •    Completed May 3, 1973 the Willis Tower was formerly named the Sears Tower
  •    It contains 110 floors
  •    The Willis Tower stood at 1,450 ft. until 1982*
  •    The Willis Tower stood at  1,704 ft. until 2000*
  •    The Willis Tower stands at 1,729 ft. today
  •    The Willis Tower had the record for tallest man-made structure until 2009

*  The antenna was lengthen to increase its height

The Willis Tower

The Willis Tower

Caught with my Pants Down

As a gift from my bride’s aunt and uncle, they wanted to take us to a Mongolian restaurant that was given great reviews. We arrived a little earlier in the evening so the restaurant was a little crowded. The aroma was magnificent; I have never had a Mongolian cuisine before. I was anxious to give it a try.

Buffets with a variety of hot and cold food items were on one side, while the seating area was on other. Towards the back, a large grill behind a protective glass allows you to watch a “specialty chef” cook from a large variety of raw meats and vegetables that you get to choose from.
This is where I hung out.

Now I’m known for having an “iron stomach”, but I was still warned by my wife’s uncle to take it easy – especially on the barbeque.
“Yeah, okay… (Whatever).”

Let me say that spending most of my teenage years in East Hammond, Indiana – I’ve tasted A LOT of barbeque; a lot of the best barbeque “the Region” has to offer, but this Mongolian barbeque – this is something like I’ve never tasted before.

I tried everything, or at least I felt like I did.

Okay, that’s the end of the setup, here’s the juice…

Like I said, I felt like I ate everything they had to offe; I feel like maybe that specialty chef and I should maybe exchange cards this coming Christmas. I had to of run up to that guy at least ten times – at least.
Dinner took about thirty or forty minutes, I was done in about twenty. So I sat and conversed with my new lovely wife and her relatives. They were welcoming me to the family; saying things like “call them if we need anything…” all that kind of stuff.
As the conversation went on, my stomach did a little “pop”.
“Uh-oh,” I thought to myself, “I know what that means.”
I excused myself from the table, kissed my wife on the cheek and whispered in her ear that I’d be right back. We looked at each other – she knew where I was going and what I had to do.

That’s the cool thing about having a soul mate; you can look at one another and know exactly what’s going on.

I enter the bathroom and it’s a two urinal and a two toilet men’s room. When you first walk in, you make a quick right and a large two sink counter with a large mirror is straight back – the stalls and urinals are across from each other. Anyway, I’m not there to use the urinals (you probably got that), so I go in the stall… -FAST-FWD-
…I go to reach for the toilet paper and the roll falls out and rolls away under the stall. It rolls in a way that it rolls up under the large two sink counter, right in the corner – I mean perfect.

NOTE: Now I had to use this stall because the other stall (the handicap stall) had no toilet paper of its own.

Now I’m bending, and bending – trying to see under the stall walls while at the same time, trying to remain seated; not an easy task. I spotted the toilet paper and after a little time and thought – I decided to go for it.

I stood up from the toilet, holding up my pants, doing the best I can with trying to cover my penis. I couldn’t pull my pants ALL the way up in fear that I’ll get shit on them. I looked around over the stall door to make sure I was alone, and then I slowly unfastened the stall door.
I took about three or four more seconds before I busted through those stall doors like the cops during a raid. It was quite awkward to run with my pants halfway down and an ass crack full of shit. It was about twenty mini steps to the sink before I had to drop down to grab the toilet paper. The sink was pretty big, so when I bent down to grab the toilet paper, I practically had to crawl a little bit underneath the sink just to grab at it. At the same time as I bent and went for the toilet paper, I heard the men’s room door open. I tried to stand up, I didn’t care about my shitty ass, but it figures, I smack my head on the sink on the way up, laying me out on the floor.
It was for only about a half second or two, but long enough to where a father and his 5 year old son saw me laying down with my pants down and an ass crack full of shit.
I tried to get up as fast as I could but the father had already scooped up his son and bolted out of there.
Realizing that they had gone, I grabbed for the toilet paper again; this time grabbing it and hopping back to stall and finishing my business, but now I had to exit the men’s room. I washed my hands slowly – staring at myself in the mirror.
“What if that guy is right there, waiting for me?” “How am I going to explain this?”

I got the nerve and walked out; I saw my wife and her relatives in the distance. They were looking at me, they had a look of concern and relief on their faces, but then I saw the father. I would have walked right past him but I caught him staring at me through the corner of my eye – he looked pissed.
“Do I say something?” “There’s no telling what that guy must of thought seeing me like that?”

Oh well, hell with it.

I walked back to my table and sat down. My wife asked if I wanted any desert but I refused. I just wanted to leave. My back was to the guy who saw me and I felt like he was burning a hole in the back of my head with his stares, but every time I nonchalantly looked over in his direction he looked as if he forgotten all about it… probably not.

E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

I took a picture with a wood carving similar looking to the E.T. character in the movie E.T. the Extra Terrestrial


The Extra-Terrestrial

Elliot, a withdrawn little boy discovers something mysterious in his backyard tool shed. He tells his family and friends, but they don’t believe him. However, they do go out with knives and flashlights – clearly out of mockery to help solve Elliot’s mystery, but there’s nothing to be found. Elliot is ridiculed and made fun of, alienating him even further.

It seems earlier that night, an unidentified flying saucer (U.F.O.) landed on Earth in which aliens aboard were sent out to collect samples from a forest close to the quiet neighborhood where Elliot and his family reside. During their visit, a certain alien wandered a little too far away from the ship, in fact, the alien wandered so far that when humans came to intercept their venture, the ship had to immediately take off to avoid capture – leaving one of their own behind. The stranded alien was being pursued by the persistent humans and was eventually chased out from the forest into the nearby suburbs and hid in a backyard tool shed.

Elliot knew that there was something in the tool shed; he literally came face-to-face with it. So the next night, Elliot decided to sleep in a lawn chair with his sleeping bag and a flashlight, hoping to see again what he saw the night before and sure enough…it had returned.

Elliot, not knowing for sure what he had encountered, lured the strange creature into his house with Reese’s Pieces candies, making a trail for the obvious intelligent, but very mysterious being to follow. Elliot made the candy trail all the way to his bedroom closet where he would keep it until morning; that’s when he’ll figure out what to do with it.

The next morning isn’t going to be easy, first Elliot is going to have to convince his mother that he is not well enough to go to school. Elliot tricks his mother into believing that he is running a fever. He did this by placing the thermometer next to a heated lit desk lamp light bulb. After fooling his mother, Elliot went and retrieved his new finding and soon discovered that it was an extra-terrestrial, and for that, Elliot named the alien E.T.

E.T. and Elliot had a hard time communicating at first, but that all changed when the two of them developed some kind of bond telepathically– they each knew what the other one knew and felt. Elliot understood that E.T. was left here on Earth accidentally and was three million light years away from his home planet.

Elliot was going to help E.T. return to his home world, so when E.T. created some sort of “homemade communication device”, Elliot helped him set it up in the forest. Elliot stood out all night with E.T. in hopes to reach his own species and even fell asleep, but the next morning when Elliot awoke; E.T. was nowhere to be found. Elliot searched for E.T. but could not find him and eventually returned home without him. Elliot’s mother was worried all night long after realizing that Elliot hadn’t returned home and that morning was filing a Missing Persons Report with the local law enforcement when Elliot strolled in. Elliot wasn’t looking well and didn’t have the strength to continue searching for E.T., which is why he had to come home. He told his brother Michael that E.T. was still in the forest; probably lost, and to go find him and bring him back home.

Michael went into the forest and found the homemade communication device that E.T. had been constructing but found no E.T. Michael went further into the forest where he happened to spot E.T and was looking a bit pale and sickly and was lying practically face down in a river. Michael quickly came to E.T.’s aid and at the same time noticing the helicopters that were circling above and who were obviously searching for the alien life form also.

When Michael brought E.T. back to the house, he laid him down next to Elliot in the bathroom. Elliot’s younger sister Gertie watched over them until Michael returned with their mother. She was instantly frightened and gathered her children to leave the house but before she stepped foot out the door, the government had already surrounded the home. The helicopters must have followed Michael from the forest river when he saved E.T. and brought him back to the house. They found the homemade communication device that E.T. had built.

E.T. had to sever the bond he had telepathically with Elliot because he was about to die. Since the two of them were bonded so tightly with one another, if either one of them were to die the other would surely die also. When the bond was finally broken between the two of them, Elliot miraculously recovered while E.T. fell medically worse and eventually died.

When the government was about to seal up and haul away E.T.’s body for further studies, Elliot discovered that E.T. had resurrected from the dead and a ship was on its way to take him home. So Elliot and Michael carjacked a van with E.T. and met up with a few friends from the neighborhood. From there they rode their bikes through the neighborhood, avoiding government capture who were right on their heels and slowly catching up to them.

It wasn’t until the last-minute, when the government had surely had them; E.T. used some sort of telekinesis and lifted his entire rescue party out of harm’s way and safely into the air. They flew to the spot where E.T. was supposed to get picked up.

When the ship arrived, it was an emotional good-bye between the new-found friends. Michael, the few friends, the mother and a government agent watched as E.T. boarded his ship and slowly lift off into space.

…Under the Bridge & along the River

Image by James Timothy Peters630

Under the Borman (80/94) Expressway Bridge; near the town of Munster’s border, runs the Little Calumet River.  This river separates the town of Munster from the city of Hammond.  And as teenagers, we would hang out along the river under this expressway to drink beer & smoke pot. Depending on where you stood along the bank of the river (back then), you could always see this humongous blue water tower in the distance.  In the evening, you were able to see the bright blinking red light that was at the very top.  It was pretty isolated from the street (173rd), the heavy brush shielded us from  being seen by the Hammond Police.

This water tower is an icon to the city of Hammond and it was time that I introduce myself to it.

As usual, my friends and I came up with a plan. We were going to climb the water tower and walk completely around it.

Back in 1982

It was like any other night, hanging out behind the Hammond Water Tower.  Empty cans of Keystone beer litter the ground around the older McDonald brothers’ GTO. The smell of marijuana came from the slightly opened windows of another friends mother’s station wagon. The “boom box” belted out tunes from bands like Van Halen, Aerosmith and Gun’s & Roses.

But not that loud, we didn’t want to bring the cops.

With the song “Jump” by Van Halen in the background, my Mexican American friend, Pepe had a thought and said, “I wonder how messed up you’d get if you jumped off the Hammond Water Tower?”

“Dude, you’d die,” my other friend said.

“I know, but what I’m trying to say is, is like, would your head be spun around? Or would your legs break in half, or if…”

Pepe was interrupted by my friend Dougie Flesh, “Why don’t you do it and see for yourself you crazy ass Mexican? And why don’t you smoke another joint while you’re at it,” Dougie said trying to be funny. Dougie was high also.

“I should climb the Hammond Water Tower, ain’t it Jimmy?” Pepe asked me.

This is how & when I got involved.

“Come on, let’s do this!” He took off for the water tower. “Come on Jimmy, you’ll do this with me, won’t you?”

Drinking beer, smoking pot – yeah, sure…let’s go climbing!

Second Thoughts

Can’t back out now!

We approached the six foot fence that surrounded the Hammond Water Tower. It had barbed wire at the top, which is suppose to make it that much more difficult to climb.  However, being a couple of  “Region Rats”, it’s going to take more than a barbed wire fence to keep us out.

We managed to climb over without much trouble and ran to the ladder that led up to the top. The start of the tower’s ladder was like ten feet in the air, so another ladder is needed to get hold of and climb onto the tower’s ladder. The tower’s ladder was also enclosed with a steel cage with a hatch at the bottom that had a padlock on it. If you unlocked this hatch, you were able to climb inside this steel cage and use the tower’s ladder.

We didn’t have a key to the padlock…
…so we improvised.

The huge columns that held the Hammond Water Tower were reinforced with cross-bars. These cross-bars connected all the other columns together. We managed to climb these cross-bars to get to the steel cage that enclosed the water tower’s ladder. It was a bit tricky (and a little daring), but we managed to get a hold of the steel cage.

If we can’t climb INSIDE the steel cage – we’ll just have to climb on the OUTSIDE of it.

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

You read that correctly.

We drank enough beer and smoked enough pot that common sense ceased to exist.
We were young, dumb & unattached.

When I think back at some of the stupid things I’ve done – this is one of them.

This Hammond Water Tower is high. As you can tell in the photo above, it’s pretty high. Climbing on the outside of this steel cage HUNDREDS OF FEET in the air was completely insane.

I HIGHLY recommend that NOBODY ever try this!

I didn’t even get past the tree line before I started having second thoughts. I couldn’t believe I was doing this. I followed Pepe, climbing further & further; it seemed like it went on forever. Being that it was night, I couldn’t see the ground. I noticed that the moment my ball cap blew off my head.

I stopped climbing as I watched it fall into the darkness.

“Come on! Don’t stop! Keep going!” Pepe yelled down.

The view from the Hammond Water Tower was remarkable

The view from the Hammond Water Tower was remarkable

This was crazy.
Here I am, over a hundred feet in the air, climbing on the outside of a steel cage with what looks like another hundred feet yet to climb. I looked up and saw Pepe kept climbing.
This was crazy.

I gathered my nerve and continued on. I saw Pepe lose his footing for a second, but it was no big deal. He caught himself and continued on.

I want to say it took a couple of minutes to finally reach the top hatch. This hatch led to the walkway that went completely around the entire Hammond Water Tower.

Unfortunately, this hatch was also locked.

Now things were about to get crazy.

Stupid is what Stupid does

Pepe climbed up as far as he could go and waited for me to catch up to him. We were both hundreds of feet in the air, clutching to the side of this steel cage with me directly beneath Pepe. We were so close and I could tell that Pepe was determined to walk around this water tower. He was NOT going back now.

The platform stuck out a couple of feet from the steel cage we were “hanging on for dear life” to, and I couldn’t believe what I saw next. It made my heart jump into my throat.


Pepe reached out with one hand (with the other hand still gripping the steel cage) and grabbed the platform.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked hysterically. “You’re going to fall!”

“No I’m not.”

That’s all he said – I said nothing back.

Then it was like something from the movies. Pepe very quickly reached with his other hand (the one holding on to the steel cage) and grabbed the platform and was hanging from this platform.

He was hanging HUNDREDS OF FEET in the air from the platform.

“Oh my God,” I said.

Pepe started pulling himself up and was able to climb up over the handrail that also went all the way around the Hammond Water Tower.

He made it look easy, crazy also but fairly easy.

It was my turn.
I could hear Pepe cheering me on the “region rat” way, “Come on you puss!”

I finally got the nerve and reached over and grabbed the platform. God only knows how I was able to reach over with the other. When I was hanging from the platform – HUNDREDS OF FEET in the air – I can honestly say that I felt no fear.

It may sound a little insane, but I felt “uplifted” – if that makes some sort of sense…if it doesn’t – I can’t explain it.

I pulled myself up and over the handrail and stood next to Pepe. The view was awesome!

Pepe tapped my shoulder and said, “Let’s go.”

Pepe took off and started the walk around the Hammond Water Tower and I followed.
I mean, that was plan…right?

So we did.

Now guess what?
Now we got to get down.

We didn’t think about that when were hanging from the platform.
We got to do this again – but in reverse.

Oh shit.