Sunday, December 31, 2006

Part 1 of Round 2 is over

Halfway through Christmas part 2 and things are going well. My
sis-in-law and her husband gave me a Dunkin' Donuts gift card; while
I generally eskew quash1 such gifts, I do drink A LOT of coffee...

Charlie On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

1Not sure where I was going when I wrote that... definitely embarassed at the use of not only an incorrect word but also of a non-word!

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Friday, December 29, 2006

His reign has ended

Saddam Hussein is dead.

Can't say I'm sorry to hear of his demise.   His reign of terror has ended.

Charlie On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fixing the Comments on this Blog

BetaBlogger has officially been released. And yet I still haven't fixed my comments. In many posts, both Haloscan and Blogger's own comment links exist. In some, it's just Blogger's. I am hoping to standardize on Haloscan, and this week is my best chance to fix it (I hope!).

In the meantime, if you wish to leave a comment, please try to hit the second comment link (if you see more than one).

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President Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford came to national prominence at an age where I was just beginning to grasp how the government of the country works. During a family vacation the year before, I saw people holding transistor radios to keep up on the Watergate hearings, something I did not understand until years later, but something that was obviously very important.

I guess it was around that time that I began to pay attention to my father and his discussions with my older brothers at the dinner table and the aunts and uncles at family gatherings. Not that I had a clue about what they were talking about, but I had to start learning sometime.

No doubt there will be a lot of posts all around about Mr. Ford's passing. The one that caught my eye this morning was by Macsmind, where he refers to the pardon President Ford granted to President Nixon, and the political risks to the Ford presidency.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Round #1 is over...

Round 1 of Christmas is now over.

With so much of the family spread out, Christmas can never really be handled in a single weekend (or similar time frame). Next weekend we're off to NYC to spend 2 nights in 2 different homes, in this way succeeding finishing the major Christmas visits in the same month (in prior years, it has taken several weeks - at times, months - to accomplish this). Note to self: pack appropriate libations.

And again, at this time of year, everyone is talking about Resolutions for the New Year. If you're not familiar with my take on New Years Resolutions, and why I think the idea is foolish, follow this link for a recap. In short, if it's worth resolving to do, then do it today whether today is Decemeber 26, January 1, or May 12th.... just do it!

For a different take on this, I'll refer you to Michele's latest entry in Faster Than The World , a fine daily magazine worthy of being added to any one's feed reader.


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Monday, December 25, 2006

All over except the shouting

I woke up Sunday morning at 4:30, in Queens, NY.   I've been awake since.   Jack Bauer has nothing on me (OK, he's a better shot....).    I haven't done a true all-nighter in about 4 years, but at least this time there aren't any hospitals involved.

Much-better-half has all but the last few presents wrapped.   In about an hour, the boys will be up... time to catch up on my reading in the meantime...

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

And now the next phase

What a party.... good food, good company. Some demitasse, a little Sambuka. Then afterwards a stroll up the avenue for a Benfarimo Original Italian Ice .... Philadelphia can have their water ice -- what a silly name! There's nothing finer than an ice from The Lemon Ice King of Corona.
Of course, after the dinner, my mom had a string of issues about her PC. So I ended up staying the evening at the folks, debugging their PC, teaching them their new cell phone, and I ended up spending the night. The party was more than worth the effort, as I connected with members of all the family (the only notables missing were, in fact, my brothers... New Hampshire will be down next week, other brother (the Letter Carrier) was working (no doubt raking in a lot!). Met a few spouses of cousins I've never met before, so the day was a success, barring my missing much-better-half and kids.
Now the next phase... getting this house in order for ol' Saint Nick's appearance. The 11 year old discovered NORAD SANTA and is actively tracking his path. Mom and I have some effort to get the halls decked in time for Santa's arrival.
Who knows? I may get to see Ralphie's story in total before dawn!

UPDATE: As of 02:20, the much-better-half and I are still in the Christmas prep. She wanted to watch Law & Order CI (her fav), and now we're into the Miracle on 34th Street marathon. Here's an observation of inconsistency: MACYS ran their Christmas ads for weeks without mentioning Christmas at all. That's their right, of course. So why are they now advertising their after Christmas sale?

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

And so it begins

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the town

Everything is coming loose, everything is coming down!

So today is the big fam dinner in NYC.

Both kids.. not just one... both wake up feeling ill. Not desperately ill, but not what you want to drive 2 hrs and then go to a restaurant with. So as not to depress the relatives, I'm going solo. And my much-better-half? She's OK with the idea, but I have a feeling being home all day with 2 sick kids is going to test her merriment quite a bit!

Welcome to my world of holidays.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Meme

Just back from last weekly Cub Scout Den meeting for 2006. Two more months and I am done!!

Maidink posted a Christmas meme, so I am following on....

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Pure chocolate, hot, please. My mom makes her own egg nog: nothing else you buy in the stores comes even close to hers.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa wraps everything. Unless I am gifting for much-better-half; only then would a one-armed chimp with astigmatism make the wrapped presents look worse.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Multi indoors... and mostly outdoors. One evergreen gets all white.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
I had a mistletoe belt once. A black leather belt with a plastic mistletoe that attached, ostensibly in the rear (you can guess the connotation). Oddly enough, it was a first Christmas present from my mother-in-law. One year I wore in to the office, with the mistletoe on the buckle...

To answer the question, no.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Usually, we're all too crazy busy to do so before the last weekend before the big day. This year, we're starting to decorate (in earnest) tonight!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Fish was generally served at my relatives house Christmas Eve. This was a sore point for me, for I dislike seafood. Lasagna works.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
I dunno. Not that I had a bad childhood, but nothing exceptional stands out. Perhaps the first year I left 'kid presents' and entered into the Grab Bag with all the cousins (freshman year).

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I think third grade... I put the pieces together after seeing so many TV commercials for toys, a few of which I got. All those Christmas specials on TV had the elves making toys and wrapping them, but none were in the colorful boxes like on the shelves at the stores. Like the ones I unwrapped.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Used to; having kids, that's no longer done.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Heh. I'm the guy... you think I get a say?? Not even at work on the office tree!! Usually, at home I decorate on a weekend or evening, she fixes when I am at work.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it?
LOVE driving in it... but for only 3-4 months per year. Give me summer sun any other time.

12. Can you ice skate?
Heh. On my ass, yeah.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Family. Sure, there's the importance of the actual spiritual aspect of the holiday which trumps all else. But instead of getting presents, I'm happy my fam is healthy.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Ricotta. Now, we pronounce it rig-gott-ta. And its prepared very much like cannoli filling, only sweeter and smoother. Take a tub of Polly-o, some sugar,  a little Crem-d-Cocoa (if after pouring the cream turns brown, you've added too much enough) ... beat until smooth. Spoon into desert bowls, shave a little chocolate on top... enjoy!  Edit: Almost forgot!  Dash or two of pure vanilla while mixing!!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
We used to go to the Uncle's house every year. Since that has ceased, one of my older brothers is constantly trying to MAKE a new tradition. You can't do that, really. If you find yourself doing the same thing for a couple years in a row, fine. But you can't say from now on, we'll do THIS and call it a tradition. It doesn't work that way. You can't force it to happen.

17. What tops your tree?
Hallmark light-up Angel

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
Giving, although I always worry about making a good choice (even with wish lists)

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

20. Candy canes: yuck or yum?
Gotta be peppermint. Maybe cherry. Much-better-half brought home Gobstoppers. Please, as the original candy, sure. But not as candy canes.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?

22. What do you leave for Santa?
I once left a bottle of Jack Daniels, but was yelled at for doing so.
Cookies, carrots.

Self tagging... if you've read this far, be my guest and make your own list. Leave it on your blog and comment/trackback. Or just list in comments.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Out of the mouths of babe Department

While I sit in a traffic jam my much-better-half relays the following response to her joke from the soon-to-be 4 year old son:

Mommy, you crack me up like a pair of eggs!

sent via Gmail for Mobile Devices

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Crimbo Greetings

I swear each year it is getting harder and harder.

I have relayed in these posts how hectic life is at home, and there's every reason to believe it will get better... sooner or later. But not yet. I realized this morning that no Christmas cards were sent out, and there's a pile of unopened ones from the last few weeks on the table. With Christmas (or as Maidink prefers: Crimbo) just 6 days away, there's little chance any one's Cards will get there on time, never mind the Hanukkah cards we've neglected to send.

And as for my friends in real life, specifically those former co-workers I worked with 2 years ago, I have managed personal, face-to-face holiday greetings since my untimely departure. That won't be happening this year, as there's just no time (or work justification) for me to get my butt down their neck of the woods. So far I've managed one phone call as a substitute, no doubt e-mails will catch up with those already on leave for the holidays.

To those of you who frequent this Blog, I bid you God rest ye merry, gentle people. While in recent weeks my hit counter has soared, largely based on my links to the 24 prequel, I do know many of you a regular readers and I appreciate that to no end.

With any luck, and some planning, by this time next year things will be lot different, in as much the hall decking will be long done, and the kids will have a proper lead-up to their big day. In the meantime, count on this blog posting during the wee hours of the weekend with the progress of doing Santa's work.

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Move over It's A Wonderful Life

Dave Barry points to this year's feel-good holiday movie:

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OK, I want this

So some bash me for not having a wish list. Fine. Here's something I want:

Of course, this headset -- which would put to shame Geordi La Forge's in an instant -- is useless without an iPod, which I don't own, nor expect to buy for at least another year. I do own a 4 year old Pocket PC, which can play videos (with poor resolution) but that will require an upgrade before I treat myself to an iPod.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Beware of the tumbling man

So at my 2x weekly Martial Arts work-out, the Master Instructor splits the course into 2 specific components, about 70% Tae Kwon Do and 30% Hapkido, which involves various tumbles and defensive moves.

Tumbling is an area I am sorely lacking; I don't have the coordination to do it very well. One of the younger gals, a 4th Gup (compared to my 5th Gup), was trying to build my confidence. She means well, but at about 14 years old, she really doesn't grasp how hard it is for this old dog to learn a new trick.

She: You're getting better, you just need more practice
Me: Well, it's not like I have the opportunity to tumble on his mats every week.
She: You should do what I do!
Me: And that is...?
She: I practice tumbling on my bed!
Now at this point in the conversation, a little voice in my head was screaming NO, DON'T SAY ANOTHER WORD. I, naturally, ignored this common sense advice.

Me: Kid, somehow I think your father would disapprove of my tumbling on your bed.

Yeah, it was wrong, but her eyes bugged out, and her face turned three different shades of red.
She: I hope you don't think that I was suggesting...
Me: No, no, you did nothing wrong. I am just a bad person... forgive me for saying that.
She then back-fisted me to the gut, and we both laughed...

Seriously, I have to listen to at least ONE of the voices in my head sometime...

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Dealing a full-house of Gift Cards

I've discussed my dislike of Gift Cards in years past (here and here), and little has changed, other than my dislike has deepened. My nieces and nephews has sent their wish lists, and in obligation we've provided similar lists for our boys (we consider it an obligation because in the past, my collective siblings and sibling-in-laws ignore our lists and gave what they wanted). When I compare the lists, side-by-side, I find that there are many common gift cards for the kids.

Meaning, it's probably easier to say OK, we're giving your daughter a $30 gift card; how much will you give my kid? $25? Fine, here's $5, lets call it done.

This from the man who hasn't set out to the Malls for his much-better-half....

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I managed to get HaloScan comments to work on BetaBlogger... FINALLY! Hat's off to Logical Philospher for his notes.

I do realize I have both Google and HaloScan comments showing; I will fix that, but at least my old comments are there.

And I will figure how to embed read more for my longer posts.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Another night

Here I am again, awake.

Typically, I get about 5-6 hours of sleep a night; that's up from about 4 hours which was the norm 3 years ago. I know there's volumes written on 8 hours a night but I can't manage that many, during the week especially. Sometimes I am run-down during the work day; I grab a nap in my car, and in about 10 minutes I am good to go again.

But something is not regular, not quite right. Thursday into Friday I got no more than 2 hours of sleep. And I wasn't run down the entire day. Here I am now, into Saturday 12:30 AM, and I am not at all tired, and haven't been able to sleep since retiring around 11:00.

So what is it that keeps me going? And why do I not experience any fatigue? Those who know me know I've done stints of 24-30 hours straight (usually involving hospitals), but there's no such urgency now.

Last night I finally dove in to upgrading this template. There's nothing I despise more than a whiner, and there was one person (in particular) whining about this template (yours, truly). Others had commented, too, but none as often as I. So I did it. Sadly, my Haloscan comments didn't make the transition. There are a number of didn't links on Google pointing to hacks to permit it. Most revolve around one guy's effort, and each with different patches to his work. Of the 6 different arrangements I've tried, none have clicked for me. So I'll try and try again.

Christmas is coming. Hard to tell around this humble abode. Much-better-half is always running at full speed, and lately I've come close to her rate. Hopefully we'll begin decking the halls this weekend.

Family gatherings are always an effort. We live in rural PA. Much of my siblings live in the NYC area, and one brother and his family is based in New Hampshire, with their son (my nephew) at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. For decades, there was a family gathering in the old Queens neighborhood at my uncle's house. That was the center of our Italian heritage in NY, and my grandfather's mainstay after immigrating here (legally, I might add).

My father was the youngest son of 4 boys and 4 girls... a big Italian family! So all of the aunts and uncles and grand kids would gather Christmas Eve for a present exchange for the youngsters, and a grab-bag for everyone in high school or above. This was the tradition for me growing up. And there would be all sorts of cooking going on, largely fish (like in the story), and there would be good cheer and fun all night. Then a walk to the neighborhood church for Midnight Mass (well, for those without young kids). That was the old tradition.

As the years past, the migration to Eastern Long Island began with the younger generation, and each year less cousins made the trip in on Christmas Eve. About 7 years ago, the elders of the family abandoned the Christmas Eve tradition and opted for a dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. We haven't made the trek in for that or the grab bag in over 12 years. I'm hoping we can arrange to be there for the dinner next weekend.

But that was the old tradition. As I have 3 brothers, all with spouses and 2 with kids, we started having Christmas at my parents house. For awhile it was Christmas eve, taking the place of the uncle's house. But as my nephews and nieces grew from toddlers to believers in Santa, my brother and his wife wanted to be home for Christmas morning to see what Santa brought. So we moved the Mom and Pop's Christmas to the weekend in between Christmas and New Years.

Well, this year its New Year's weekend. And there are problems again with scheduling. One brother is letter carrier for the USPS, and he will be working that Saturday, OT. He and his spouse are opting to have the gathering on Sunday, so he can be fully awake. A reasonable request.

One brother and his wife want to go out New Years Eve for a party, one starting early and finishing sometime Monday morning. So they want the family party on Saturday. A perfectly reasonable request, one that I, in fact, envy.

New Hampshire wants it Saturday, too, because they don't yet know when their 19 year old son the Cadet will be on the East coast, and whether he will want to hang with us old farts or party with his peeps. And either way, he'll want to depart for the Academy from NH on Monday, so they're pushing for Saturday.

My much-better-half's sister, bro-in-law have two kids, each with a spouse and a child. THEY'RE gathering is on Saturday and they want us to join them.
And my much-better-half would rather NOT drive on New Years Eve, but would rather be home for the ball dropping (since she'll likely be asleep long before it happens).

Meanwhile I have to get this place ready for Santa and his team to visit. Oldest son is 11, and is starting to question the whole Santa gig. He and I saw The Polar Express in the theater 2 years ago, and that reaffirmed any doubt he had. But as he's watched it this week for the 3rd or 4th time, he's starting to piece together what most of us already know. Fortunately, I think I can rely on him to perpetuate the story for his soon-to-be 4 year old brother, who is more than sold on the subject of Santa and his elves.

So the next two weeks will prove to be chaotic and full of arguing siblings over where and when we should meet to spread cheer.

That's why I've started drinking Old No.7 as I've typed this... hoping to pre-lubricate for the coming storm, and maybe getting some sleep tonight.

Hope it works.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Now what?

So this is what insomnia is, eh?

I've laid in bed since 11:00. No sleep. A pity I have to be on the road in about 3-1/2 hours.

What did I do to deserve this?

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Template, temporarily lost old comments

Working on getting all the Haloscan comments back on...

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Eight Crazy Nights

Chanukka is, the festival of lights
Instead of one day of presents
We get eight crazy nights

When you feel like the only kid in town
Without a Christmas tree
Here's a list of people who are Jewish
Just like you and me...

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Senator Tim Johnson

A lot of press about Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota.

Sen. Johnson was said to have a stroke and underwent surgery last evening, but later reports suggest he didn't have a stroke, yet no details have yet been released about what specific procedure was performed.

While this blog indeed wishes the best for Sen. Johnson and his family, it is interesting that no specificity has been made about his condition. It is quite possible the man has a cyst in his brain. This blog knows a woman in her late 30's who presented similar symptoms -- slurred speech, loss of motor control -- and was later found to have a non-malignant cyst that blocked cerebral fluid from reaching her spinal column. An initial surgical procedure was necessary to provide cerebral drainage for the built up fluid.

A five-hour brain surgery later, and the woman recovered fully. Whatever the diagnosis, here's hoping for a speedy recovery for the Senator.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Do.This.Now. No Excuse.

Don Luskin had this on his excellent blog, and I am overdue to cross post it.

Go here NOW and send your support to the troops. It's free, and it is the right thing to do!

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Confront Iran, not coddle

Sen. Rick Santorum, outgoing senator from Pennsylvania, was a guest on Imus in the Morning today. In his segment, he gave his view on the Iraq Surrender Study Group report. The Imus Show Blog recaps his statements thusly:

Senator Santorum was only one of two Senators who voted against Robert Gates as Defense Secretary. He felt Gates did not understand the basic problem in Iraq, namely Iran. He disagrees with Gates who thinks we should talk with Iran. Santorum feels we should confront them. He says Iran’s leader Ahmadinjad has
been very clear in his goals; destroy Israel, dominate the region, and conquer
the western world. Personally I believe if we don’t strongly confront Iran. In 10 years there will be an Iran Study Group telling us what went wrong with our policy on Iran.

Sen. Santorum has been a great Senator for the Commonwealth and the nation overall. He has been a champion of the middle class, border security, and the War on Terror. While I cannot help but remain annoyed at the narrow-mindedness of my fellow Pennsylvanians who either sat-out or voted against Santorum, I know that this is not the last we will hear from this man. Not by a long shot.

And as for the Imus Show Blog's prediction in 10 years, I do hope he's wrong, but I fear he may well be correct.

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All About (Christmas) Eve (repost)

I had only known Karen for three weeks when I extended the invitation. "I know these family things can be a little weird," I told her, "but my folks are great, and we always have a lot of fun on Christmas Eve."

"Sounds fine to me," Karen said.

I had only known my mother for 31 years when I told her I'd be brining Karen with me. "She's a very nice girl and she's really looking forward to meeting all of you.""Sounds fine to me," my mother said.And that was that. Two telephone calls. Two sounds-fine-to-me's. What more could I want?

I should point out, I suppose, that in Italian households, Christmas Eve is the social event of the season- an Italian women's raison d'ĂȘtre. She cleans. She cooks. She bakes. She orchestrates every minute of the entire evening. Christmas Eve is what Italian women live for.

I should also point out, I suppose, that when it comes to the kind of women that make Italian men go nuts, Karen is it. She doesn't clean. She doesn't cook. She doesn't bake. And she has the largest breasts I have ever seen on a human being.

I brought her anyway.

So begins the beloved Christmas story I repost year after year in my annual Holiday Chestnuts collection for your enjoyment, ...more...

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Christmas Shopping is about done

The annual event of shopping for my mate is near complete. I mean, it ought to be, after the purchase of the her new ride last month, you'd think I'd be done already.

Saturday night, while doing pretty much nothing, the cable channel settled on QVC, which featured a DVD camera for a sweet price. After staring at the screen for a few minutes, my much-better-half asked if I liked it, and I said I did. Our camcorder, now about 7 years old, sporadically eats the tape, and each of its two batteries have a half-life of about a traffic light, so it spends more time in a drawer than actually being used.

Before I could suggest maybe next year she had already punched the numbers into the phone and ordered it (QVC is her favorite place to shop, and she can place an order in her sleep if needed). So we're on our way to the 21st Century in video (on a 4-month EasyPay, no less).

But I did tell her: nothing more for me, period. A $400 camera pretty much fills any and all gift list for me. I am not the type to make wish lists or the like; there is no list of things I want, because there's no need. If I need something, I buy it. If I can't afford it, I probably don't need it. Oh sure, I could make a list of things I could wish for (A Hummer leaps to mind, despite the fuel pricing, it is a damn fine vehicle); who wouldn't want the life of Elmer J. Fudd (millionaire, with a mansion and yacht). But that's fantasy, and not hardly useful. (On a completely loonely side-trip, check out Elmer's version of Google.)

This camera is more of a family (a/k/a house) gift as anything else. We have a fair amount of video of the older son, but dramatically less of his younger brother, so the need is plain. So I'll look forward to the seemingly obligatory gifts of ties and such from the boys, but I do hope she doesn't get crazy and buy me anything else.

Of course, while I will tend to say an SUV covers Christmas and then some, and while she echoed that same sentiment after I told her nothing more (period), I'd be a damned fool if I didn't make time to go shopping on her behalf.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

24 Trailer is up!

It's up ... not nearly as long as the prequel, but worth a view

I confess the second time I watched the prequel I had a vision of a recent James Bond flick, Die Another Day, with Pierece Brosnan being accused of (allegedly) giving up the name of an American spy under torture.

I hope that is the only such similarity!

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Happy Repeal Day

I mentioned it last week, but will say it again: It's REPEAL DAY

A pity my hives are back with a vengence... I could use a belt right about now...

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Definitely not on my wish list....

From the AskMen.Com Cool Gadgets Collection....

Quoting from the article:

The Stokke Gravity "balans" chair is "probably the closest you'll ever get to zero gravity" (well, at least that’s what Stokke is claiming). The chair, which resembles a rocker, provides a range of positions that include an ergonomic office chair, an upright chair and a recliner. The 49.2" x 57.5" x 24.4" chair is available in a variety of fabrics and leathers and it usually comes with a beech wood frame.
I have no problem with hanging around in weird positions, but something like this is far too pricy for such relaxation. You, too, can achieve zero gravity for a mere $2,310.

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From my Holiday Chestnut collection..... reposted from years passed.


As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal SPY magazine (January 1990) - I am pleased to present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.

1. No known species of reindeer can fly. However, there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer that only Santa has ever seen.

2. There are 2 billion children (defined as persons under 18) in the world. BUT, since Santa doesn't (appear to) handle the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim children; that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau (1990). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each!


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Monday, December 04, 2006

The Blog's template... Yes, yes, I know you all know that already, and all but a few are too nice to say as much.

I have a tradition of posting Holiday Chestnuts, humorous bits of Holiday fun. Each year I add one or two to the collection, but keep reposting the tried and true ones. Had I properly upgraded this template, I could easily refer you, the reader, to the proper category. But since I am behind on categorizing, that will have to wait.

Looking to make money this holiday season? Who isn't? A pity I can't offer you any. However, if any of you have the time and inclination to offer design assistance to upgrade this blog, I'll be certain to post a generous hat tip, permanently, on this blog for all to see.

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Another head has rolled

Michelle Malkin has links to the news that the UN Ambassador John Bolten will step aside at the conclusion of his recess appointment.

Look forward to the only potential successor to be of the mind who will lean heavily towards working with the world instead of working with America's interests first.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

24 Season 6 Prequel

So where has our hero Jack Bauer been?

UPDATE: YouTube has deactivated these links. But you can follow this link to see the Season 6 Prequel of 24 in its entirety!

Due to YouTubes 10 minute length limit, here's part 2...

Kudos to for pointing it out to me, and of course a big h/t to CountStyrofoam

I can't wait Day 6 to begin 14-January....

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Lights out, uh-huh

The winter cold front pushed out all the unseasonably warm weather we've experienced this week. High's Thursday in the 70s, 30 degree drop by Friday night. With the cold front came heavy winds; four three hours our area was under a winter storm watch, flash flood warning, and a tornado watch all at the same time!!

Somewhere around 5:45 our lights went out... not entirely unheard of, but never a great thing. About 3:15 they came on, so I went round to turn off all the unnecessary lights, boot up my PC and not before connecting to my mail server did the lights go off again (and the UPS did its job once again). So back to bed I went, stumbling in the dark.

Woke up with my arms, chest, back and legs covered in hives; pretty colorful if I do say so myself. Lips and eyes swollen.... WTF? Called my GP; no hours on Saturday, says the service, so call the local out patient clinic or go to an ER.

No idea what I did differently, but something is not agreeing with me in a big way. Was it only my extremities, I'd take benadryl and ride it out; but lips and eyes are too close to airway constriction, so I went to a clinic. 6 days of prednisone, and the warning should you experience the inability to breathe, go to an ER. Gee, and to think they went to med school!

Lights came back up around 2PM... I would have decked the halls if not for the hives (and the lack of power for the lights). We'll see what happens tomorrow...

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Celebrating Repeal Day

Yes, yes, I know we're in the holiday season, and there's plenty of big holiday time coming, but there's also a little holiday that doesn't quite get the attention it richly deserves:


Yes, that's right: the anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition Day, Decemeber 5th. It may not seem a big deal to you, but consider the last time you imbibed, and then ask yourself what you would have done that moment had Probibition not been repealed.

I learned of Repeal Day by listening to a FoneShow podcast; FoneShow enables you to listen to your fav podcasts via your cell phone; I was listening to an update from The Onion when Dewars reminded me about the upcoming anniversary. Arguably, FoneShow is a little tough for the radio shows that offer their content in 40 minute podcasts (a la Lionel), but it is useful for more compact offerings, such as Joy the Cleverhack (who turned me on to FoneShow, btw).

Any way, Dewars was one of the first imports to make it back to the States, and we should honor that even by raising a glass of spirits (in moderation, of course) on this Tuesday as an appropriate sign of respect.

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Must haves for gift giving!

December is the gift giving season, be it for Christmas or another holiday, there are plenty of reasons to give gifts.

I like to find the kinds of gifts that are somewhat unusual. Here's an example: in every office environment, everywhere, there's always someone who is perpetually cold. Even in the summer.

USB Heated Gloves

No more cold fingers! These gloves plug into your USB ports and provide comfy warmth for your digits! And for those whose tootsies are always chilly there's a gift just for them too!USB Heated Slippers

Of course, I have this image of people walking away from their desk and dragging their hardware with them. I purchased a pair of the noise-dampening headphones (in part to listen to streams, and other times to keep the office noise from distracting me); on more than one occasion saw me standing up and walking away from my desk while the headset was in on more than one occasion! Find them at PERPETUAL KIDS (aptly named).

My biggest fear of these devices, however, the power drain on your PC. USB ports can drive external devices, but imagine the draw of a pair of gloves (and mules) on your PC power supply.

I've always liked these kinds of gadgets; last spring I featured an interesting web cam. And yes, I may even break down and get myself a Christmas tree for my desk.

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I got mine, did you get yours?

I got my flu shot this week... big deal, I know, but to some I was the target of scron. A gent with whom I hold a great deal of respect chastised me for getting it. How could I let myself have one?

Even worse: he was appalled that I let MY KIDS get it.

He is a bright, intelligent, outgoing person who owns his own business and is quite successful, yet he must know SOMETHING that the combined medical community doesn't.

After reading up on the importance of the flu shot, please do not neglect to review the facts on the CDC's Global HIV/AIDS initiatives; today, 1-December, is World AIDS Day. I doubt there are many of us who don't know someone who has been affected by this disease.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

About this so-called civil war

The truth hurts, ya know?

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Monday, November 27, 2006

So when do Janie and Johnny go to school?

The following is from my local school district's handbook for elementary and intermediate students, under the heading of SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR:

August 2006

24 ~ Staff Development Day - No School for Students
28 ~ First Day of School for Students
31 ~ Early Dismissal for Students

September 2006

1 ~ School Closed/Offices Open
4 ~ LABOR DAY – Schools/Offices Closed
5 ~ Schools Re-Open

October 2006

9 ~ Staff Development Day – No School for Students

November 2006

20 ~ K-9: Parent/Teacher Conferences (evening)
22 ~ Early Dismissal for Students
23-27~ THANKSGIVING RECESS – Schools/Offices Closed
28 ~ Schools Re-Open
29 ~ K-9 Parent/Teacher Conferences (evening)
30 ~ K-12 Early Dismissal; K-9 Parent/Teacher Conferences (day); 10 – 12 Staff Development

December 2006

1 ~ K-12 No School for Students; Parent/Teacher Conferences (day); 10 – 12 Staff Development (Act 80)
22 ~ Early Dismissal for Students
25-31 ~ WINTER RECESS - Schools Closed

January 2007

1-2 ~ WINTER RECESS – Schools Closed
3 ~ Schools Re-open
15 ~ MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY - Schools Closed / Offices Open
22 ~ Staff Development Day - No School for Students

February 2007

19 ~ PRESIDENT’S DAY - Schools Closed / Offices Open

March 2007

16 ~ Staff Development Day - No school for students

April, 2007

5-9 ~ SPRING RECESS – Schools Closed
10 ~ Schools Re-Open

May 2007

28 ~ MEMORIAL DAY - Schools / Offices Closed

June 2007

4 ~ Last day for students/teachers (tentative)
8* ~ Commencement

From this I ask the following questions:

  • How is it that Thanksgiving recess (which encompasses Monday the 27th, the first day of deer hunting in Pennsylvania) include 3 days of school in part of the same week 1-1/2 days are lost to Parent/Teacher Conferences and Staff Development, effectively leaving the kids in class for 5 full days out of 10?

  • Why are these "essential" Staff Development Days always at the beginning or end of a weekend?

  • Why do teachers routinely complain about their work schedule, when they are typically scheduled to work just 185 (or so) days per year? And they are paid a full years salary!

  • Why is the national holiday of Labor Day recognized, but not the national holiday for Veteran's Day?

  • Why did the local newspapers recently run heart-wrenching stories about the numbers of student enrollments dropping in the local school districts, while the cyber-charter schools enrollments continue to climb?

  • What are a number of parents I know supposed to do with their kidlets who have so much time off this month, when many of the parents are saving their time off for Christmas and other holidays?

  • To paraphrase another person, years ago: Why can't Janie and Johnny read?

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New ride

Well, it's Monday. When I last posted, I spoke of the new vehicle... SUV, really. Yes, it is a beaut. I will have to manage a photo or three, but in the meantime it will suffice to say it's dark red and my much-better-half looks great driving it. I am too lazy to link to any sites with photos, so use your imagination.

So after I posted from a hotel lobby, instead of going to the Mall I decided to grab some complimentary juice and coffee, courtesy of Courtyard. No one asks if you're a guest or not, so why not?

Later on, after a crazy 30 minutes of she and I trying to meet each other, we converged on the bank. They've recently upgraded their software interface; the CSR changes the date of the load closure to Saturday's date, and the system responds that the loan now requires an officer approval, due to the change. Huh? The CSR indicates the date of closure, and that needs approval? Several phone calls, and at least one pleading from the branch manager later and the check is cut.

Off we go, back north. Head to the dealer, and we give the Highlander the last once-over before signing on the lines. Hey... where's the cig lighter? Now, neither of us smokes. And I believe the last time I actually used a cig lighter to ignite anything involved an M-80 about 17 years ago (hint: only fools try this while being seated in the passenger seat). And while most new cars and trucks offer the outlet for 12 volt appliances, and a cap over the receptacle in place of a lighter, the Highlander lacked either a cap or insert.

For the price I was paying, I am damned well going to get either a cap or a lighter; the open hole (illuminated, no less!) was just not right on the dash board.

Would you believe they tried to tell me that's what it is supposed to be? Here I am about to hand over a sizable certified check, and this idiot of a salesman is trying to tell me it's supposed to be that way. I went through three other vehicles in the showroom and found 2 caps and one lighter; I told him either he gets me one or I'll take one from the floor. Again he hems and haws.

I pulled the sticker off the window to show him that a lighter was, in fact, listed as an included accessory. Suddenly, he finds one. Asshat.

And now I am supposed to return to this dealer for service, right?

So now I am driving the much-better-half's 'old' 2001 Rav-4 (117,000 miles); the '92 Blazer, my former commuting vehicle, gets weekend and deep snow duty. Why another Toyota? I can't knock the pricing, the safety or reliability. I still have my 1990 Corolla which currently read 320,000 on the odometer. Truthfully, it's registration has expired due to a cracked windshield, so it will be towed before too long.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

You know it's a bad day when

So today was supposed to be a good day.

Today is the day my much-better-half and I finally are purchasing a new vehicle. Long time readers will know this has been coming for nearly 2 years.

So this morning I drove to my bank. For most folks, this is a short hop; not me! We still bank at the Credit Union I got into 11 years ago! The much-better-half would meet me at the dealer in about 3 hours and she'd get to drive her new SUV home; that's the plan. So I drove 90 minutes to Wayne, PA only to find out that since our auto loan is in both names, SHE has to be there to sign for it.

So here I am Courtyard by Marriot, waiting for her to get here. On a bright spot, I at least can go across to the King O' Prussia Mall and begin my Christmas shopping. I know: after buying a new car, what's left? Not to mention she came home from shopping last weekend announcing that I had bought her for Christmas. But hey...

OH, what's the new ride? 2006 Toyota Highlander.... space, safety and price... can't argue with any of that!

Charlie On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Only the most important people are at work today

Today is one of those days when the majority of people who work in offices are off. Those few who do report to work are the ones without whom the company, itself, would fail. For those in that distinct minority, like myself, I salute you!

(And hope, likewise, that you'll slip out early, since the boss is nowhere to be found!)

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be -- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks -- for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation -- for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquility [sic], union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed -- for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted -- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and applications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions -- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually -- to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a
Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed -- to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord -- To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us -- and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington

You want me to count the number of references to God? How about just the first line? Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favor. Let's see. One, two, three, four references in just that first clause. What a fanatic, George Washington! Just wanted you to hear that. That's the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789.

The thanks was given to God, not the Indians.

Both of these may be found in their original posting at Rush I know well several of my regular readers bristle at any mention of Mr. Limbaugh, but you can't escape the fact that this nation was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles -- not only of President Washington but of the Congress as well. Keep that in mind the next time some call for secular humanism in government.



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Lesson in Capitalism vs. Socialism: Happy Thanksgiving

Whether or not you are a student of history, whether or not you are even remotely interested in politics, and whether you are a fan of Rush Limbaugh or not, I encourage you all to read (or listen) to the following: The Real Story of Thanksgiving.

Even if you swore you'd never pay Rush any mind, demonstrate how you can have an open mind and read this, and then come back with an argument (if you can).

The following transcript of a 2004 broadcast was edited subtly by me for posting purposes.

Here now, the real story of Thanksgiving from the book, See, I Told You So, by me. It starts on page 69. The chapter this is contained in begins on page 66 of the hard cover edition:

"Well, folks, let's allow our real undoctored American history lesson to unfold further. If our schools and the media have twisted the historical record when it comes to Columbus, they have obliterated the contributions of America's earliest permanent settlers, the Pilgrims. Why? Because they were a people inspired by profound religious beliefs to overcome incredible odds. Today, public schools are simply not teaching how important the religious dimension was in shaping our history and our nation's character. Whether teachers are just uncomfortable with this material or whether there's been a concerted effort to cover up the truth, the results are the same. Kids are no longer learning enough to understand and appreciate how and why America was created.

"The story of the Pilgrims begins in the early part of the seventeenth century (that's the 1600s for those of you in Rio Linda, California). The Church of England under King James I was persecuting anyone and everyone who did not recognize its absolute civil and spiritual authority. Those who challenged ecclesiastical authority and those who believed strongly in freedom of worship were hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes executed for their beliefs. A group of separatists first fled to Holland and established a community. After eleven years, about forty of them agreed to make a perilous journey to the New World, where they would certainly face hardships, but could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible.

"The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work. But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford's detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims – including Bradford's own wife – died of either starvation, sickness or exposure. When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats. Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper!

"This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments. Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well. Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives.

"He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace. That's right. Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn't work! Surprise, surprise, huh? What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation! But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years – trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it – the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild's history lesson If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future."

Here now, in its entirety, the William Bradford journal, what he wrote about the social experiment after abandoning what essentially was socialism shortly after the Pilgrims had arrived in the United States or in the new world:

"'The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,' Bradford wrote. 'For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense...that was thought injustice.' Do you hear what he was saying, ladies and gentlemen? The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford's community try next? They un-harnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products.'"

Not just use themselves and not just send to a common store but they could market. They could grow as much, they could sell it for what they could get for it, and the incentive was clear to do as much as possible on both sides. "And what was the result? 'This had very good success,' wrote Bradford, 'for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.' Bradford doesn't sound like much of a Clintonite, does he? Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s? Yes. Read the story of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis 41. Following Joseph's suggestion (Gen 41:34), Pharaoh reduced the tax on Egyptians to 20% during the 'seven years of plenty' and the 'Earth brought forth in heaps.' (Gen. 41:47) In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves. So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the 'Great Puritan Migration.' Now, let me ask you: Have you read this history before? Is this lesson being taught to your children today? If not, why not? Can you think of a more important lesson one could derive from the Pilgrim experience?

"Guess what? There's even more that is being deliberately withheld from our modern textbooks. For example, one of those attracted to the new world by the success of Plymouth was Thomas Hooker. Thomas Hooker established his own community in Connecticut, the first full-fledged constitutional community, perhaps the most free society the world had ever known. Hooker's community was governed by the fundamental orders of Connecticut, which established strict limits on the powers of government. So revolutionary and successful was this idea that Massachusetts was inspired to adopt its body of liberties. The body of liberties included ninety-eight separate protections of individual rights, including no taxation without representation, due process of law, trial by a jury of peers, and prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. Now, those no doubt sound familiar to you and they should because these are ideas and concepts that led directly to the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Bill of Rights."

"Nevertheless, the Pilgrims and the Puritans of early New England are often vilified today as witch burners and portrayed as simpletons. But to the contrary, it was their commitment to pluralism and free worship that led to these ideals being incorporated into American history, and our history books purposely conceal the fact that these notions were developed by communities of devout Christians who studied the Bible and found that it prescribes limited representative government and free enterprise as the best political and economic systems. Now, there's only one word for this, folks. It's censorship. There was a time when every schoolchild did learn these basic lessons of the American culture. Now these truths are being and have been systematically expunged from history books in favor of liberal social studies clap trap," and the chapter goes on. "This brings us to our Founding Fathers, the geniuses who crafted the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

"These were men who shook up the entire world by proclaiming the idea that people had certain God-given freedoms and rights and that the government's only reason to exist was to protect those freedoms and rights from both internal and external forces -- and that simple, yet brilliant, insight has been all but lost today in liberalism's relentless march toward bigger, more powerful, more intrusive government," and that's why I wanted to add to the reading today the George Washington First Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789. Thanksgiving was about thanking God for bounty and freedom and opportunity and blessings. Thanksgiving is a time we celebrate the Pilgrims realizing the best way to enjoy prosperity in a new world that was foreign to them. Yes, there was cooperation with the Indians and, yes, the Indians did extend the handshake of freedom when we arrived by teaching the Pilgrims how to farm and so forth, but after that, all the bounty that was created by the first settlers were shared with the Indians.

There was no wiping them out. There was no infiltration. There was no introduction of various diseases and -isms like environmental wackoism or sexism or racism or any of this, as have been attached in recent multicultural curricula to the so-called white Europeans who invaded this pristine land and destroyed the goodness and the oneness that the Indians enjoyed with this land. That's what's being taught today. What is not being taught today is the devotion to God that these people had, but the failure of a socialist compact to adequately provide for the residents of the first colony and how William Bradford himself saw it was failing almost from the outset and devised a new compact which was basically capitalism and unfettered competition, and incentive, and then it was Katie bar the door. All of these things are part of the original Thanksgiving, and even when I go back and remember my days in school, I was not taught this. I was not taught the involvement and the references to God.

I was not taught that the Pilgrims had all this bounty after awhile and shared it with the Indians. It was quite the opposite. The purpose of teaching Thanksgiving when I was a kid was to tell all of us just how wonderful the Indians were and how well they treated us when we arrived because we were basically inept and incompetent. I enjoy passing this story along every Thanksgiving because we've been doing it here since I published and wrote the book, and the book is actually 1993. It came out in November of '93. By the end of the year, it had sold two million copies, and since then, I guess this is our 11th year now of reading the real story of Thanksgiving, and it always reaches new people. Every year we do it, people who have never heard it before are amazed. Now, if I was able to find it and get the true story, it's out there, but it's not in conventional history textbooks that you'll find in many of the public schools.

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On being thankful

So I am up to my ears again this week. Traditionally this week (by today at the latest, certainly) is generally a slow week, with so many folk taking vacation time. Well for me, neither is the case. I have a full set of meetings to either attend or conduct, and the only break I see is that no one will be working on the holiday tomorrow. I welcomed the challenge of the new responsibility, knowing it can (and potentially will) lead to bigger and better things, but right now I am swamped with the new and old responsibilities.

The next two posts have been planned for a week or so, and are long. Since migrating to Beta.Blogger I've been unable to make the read more style work as it did previously; I realize once I fully convert my template to the new version, this problem will be resolved. Getting to that stage takes a little more time than I have presently, so it will have to wait. Of course, what I need is someone to better design my template, but that will have to wait for another day as well.

This weekend will be lots of celebrations, originally intended on giving thanks. Whatever our lot in life, we all have blessings we ought to be thankful for having: liberty, family, friends, our own wealth (however insufficient we may find it at any given moment), and the ability to take control of our own destinies. Some people take a lot of those items for granted; we should be remind ourselves that however bleak some days may be, there are millions billions who would trade with us at the blink of an eye.

So as you sit across the table from that uncle (the one who always stares at you/your female relatives just a bit too long), or the great-aunt who always squeezes your cheeks (even though you're in your 30s), or that cousin who never, ever stops mumbling... raise your own glass of whatever suits you, and give thanks, if for no other reason than you won't have to see these folks for another year.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

And how is your day going?

In regards to the presentation I am giving...

Boss: Charlie, I finally reviewed your project plan for today's meeting. I've made a lot of changes, you may actually need to start over from scratch. I hope you don't hate me too much.

Me: No Bob, I don't hate you.... too much.

UPDATE: After nearly 2 weeks of prep time for this presentation, the 2 senior execs (including the one fabled to 'walk out' if he wasn't pleased) declined to show. So we're rescheduled for after T-Day. Gotta love Murphy and his law. The upside: there's pretty much nothing that can happen that I am not prepared to handle, and the next week ought to be a light one.

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Never missing an opportunity to call a 'spade' a spade...

Mark Levin points out an interesting turn and wonders why we're only finding out about this now:

In Wednesday's NY Times, a cast of Iraq War critics, many of whom had called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and all of whom were calling for a retreat, er cut and run, er I mean phased redeployment of out troops, are now saying that reducing troop levels in Iraq would be a BAD THING. That they suddenly change their position only after the election betrays that they put politics over policy, a foolish if not deadly position to hold.

The list of these fools includes:

  • Anthony Zinni, the former head of the United States Central Command
  • John Batiste, another retired Army major general

Both of these men called for the resignation of Rumsfeld. Perhaps their original positions was influenced by the fact they was just the kind of deadwood in the Pentagon that Secy. Rumsfeld was clearing out?

Add to the list Kenneth Pollack, a former staffer for the NSC under President Clinton, who now says pulling out would cause an Iraqi civil war.

Excuse me: haven't we been told for more than a year that there has been a civil war in Iraq, and our presence only fuels it?

Why is it few people, other than the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and others, point out this hypocrisy?

More importantly, those of you who are diametrically opposed to the War on Terror, and to how President Bush has handled the situation, will you have the courage of your convictions to call these critics on their hypocrisy?

MACSMIND details Gen. John P. Abizaid testimony before Congress that the troop levels ought to remain static. So where are all these generals we've been told about who want to reduce our forces in the region??

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Think MY daily commute is nuts?

So my folks had an old PC that finally bit the dust 2 weeks ago. It ran Win98, so that's about 7 years or more old, a dinosaur in PC terms (lets not use that scale against me, ok??)

So they ordered a Dell.... strike that: I ordered them one from Dell, complete with a 15" flat-screen monitor. My father objected: being that he's lost all of his sight, why can't we get a PC without a monitor? I kind of thought Mom would like to see the desktop. Silly me, but hey...

So since they live in Queens, NY, and I haven't been able to get out to them, they've been growing frustrated over their new toy that just doesn't work. Well, it works, but not to their desires. So after last weekend where the fam was sick with colds, and with a camping trip for the Scouts on tap for this weekend, I decided to come to my folks house for dinner, PC time, and to sleep over.

Whereas my commute of 105 miles is just under 2 hours, 70 miles ought to be a (comparable) snap. Nope. 3:15 minutes... you can see why I haven't come for dinner during the week so often.

But they're up and running, and I installed RealVNC, so I can do remote support for them from home or the office: a veritable Godsend of an app!!

Tomorrow I put on my suit and tie and present the first of four progress reports on this huge deliverable I am managing. Senior level managers and at least one VP get to view and critique my managerial skillz... even though all on the staff view this meeting with dread, I get a kick out of the idea and look forward to the challenge. I may even open the meeting with a joke... why not? I did that in my job interview!

Is the meeting a big deal? Certainly. Am I nervous? I'd be a fool if I weren't. What's the worse that could happen? A lot of bad PR, a lot of work these last 3 weeks goes to hell, and I my lose some of my polish in the company. Is the end of the world? Hardly... I've seen enough real 'important' events come and go, this one is just a minor bump, and I will prevail and I wager I will do quite well.

Time will tell. Now I gotta turn in; can't risk another 3 hour ride tomorrow!

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Geek Bumper Sticker

Seen today:

There's no place like

If you don't get it, you've never set-up/maintained a network.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Never too old

The old Rocker wore his hair too long,
wore his trouser cuffs too tight.
Unfashionable to the end drank his ale too light.
Death's head belt buckle yesterday's dreams
the transport caf' prophet of doom.
Ringing no change in his double-sewn seams
in his post-war-babe gloom.

Now he's too old, old, old
to Rock'n'Roll
but he's too young to die.

He once owned a Harley Davidson and a Triumph Bonneville.
Counted his friends in burned-out spark plugs
and prays that he always will.
But he's the last of the blue blood greaser boys
all of his mates are doing time:
married with three kids up by the ring road
sold their souls straight down the line.

And some of them own little sports cars
and meet at the tennis club do's.
For drinks on a Sunday work on Monday.
They've thrown away their blue suede shoes.

Now they're too old, old old
to Rock'n'Roll
and they're too young to die.

So the old Rocker gets out his bike
to make a ton before he takes his leave
Up on the A1 by Scotch Corner1
just like it used to be.
And as he flies tears in his eyes
his wind-whipped words echo the final take
and he hits the trunk road doing around 120
with no room left to brake.

And he was too old, old old
to Rock'n'Roll
but he was too young to die.

No, you're never too old, old, old
to Rock'n'Roll
if you're too young to die.

Ian Anderson

1Up on the A1 by Scotch Corner

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