Friday, March 30, 2007

People ask me questions, wondering what I'm doing... 1

Saw this on MonsterBlog today

Posting drunken photos from that spring break trip to Cancun? Writing a blog post or MySpace comment that blasts a colleague or supervisor? Neither takes much more than a couple of clicks or keystrokes to do. Yes, thanks to Web 2.0 personal online publishing tools -- blogs, wikis and social-networking sites -- we can share our thoughts and experiences with the world in an instant.

But thanks to the caching power of search engines, what we publish today will remain online tomorrow, next month, next year and five years from now. And savvy employers are very likely to take a look at your personal online record before they hire you.

Christopher Penn certainly does. He’s a hiring manager and chief technology officer at the Student Loan Network and says that Googling job candidates’ names before bringing them in for a face-to-face interview is a no-brainer. “We also search their email address on MySpace, LinkedIn and Facebook,” Penn says.

Amazingly, people ask me why I hide behind a pseudonym. "Why don't you show pics of your MBH or your kids?" Am I the only one who thinks a certain level of anonymity is a good thing?

Well, at least Monster thinks I am on the right track.

1When I read that post from Monster, the lyrics of John Lennon's Watching the Wheels came to mind. Why I thought the words used in the subject of this were part of his lyrics is a mystery to me, too.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Of Checks, Balances and a Smart Kid

The news channels are often left on in my house, mostly FNC but often MSNBC (and occasionally CNN, you know, when we really need a laugh). Often we'll have on the local stations, too, but they get dull after awhile.

Anyway, news is often playing in our house. Our 11 year old 5th grader, who had recently studied about the three branches of government in our country, posed a very though provoking question, regarding the ongoing flap of the US Attorney's being discharged and the noise made by Congress:

If the three branches have equal power, and if Checks and Balances keeps it that way, can Congress get subpoenaed by the President?

And you know what? That stumped me. We're all familiar with Congress issuing subpoenas, but never do you hear Congress being subpoenaed.

So far, the best 'balance' I can find is that the Executive branch can invoke Executive Privilege, which Congress does not see to officially have (although I wouldn't put it pass them to try). If anyone has any input to this, by all means, please illuminate me.

Not to brag OK, to brag: my kid is pretty sharp. The above is an example of his school smarts, but a few weeks ago he displayed some cunning. In his Boy Scout Troop, his Patrol - the newest in the Troop - was tasked with nominating their Patrol Leader (a position held for 6 months, with elections again occurring). Of the 6 boys in the Patrol, my son heard each of them exclaim I'm voting for myself, which isn't a surprise; what 11 year old wouldn't want to hold that esteemed position? Knowing there would be an immediate stalemate (he plays chess, too), my kid decided to vote for his buddy (we'll call him B here). B won, with two votes. B's first act as PL was to pick his Assistant PL: my son. His strategy worked.

Call it a political appointment if you wish, but this shows me he's on the ball.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Camping the night away

This e-mail comes to you via Opera mini through my creaky old cell phone,
from a camping trip somewhere in NE Penn. The first Troop camping
trip. I planned on NOT being a leader after my oldest crossed-over
from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. But I was persuaded to be a Merit
Badge counselor, and as I
said sometime before, its a good thing that I am registered as a
"leader" fpr insurance purposes. I know I won't be going on every
camping trip... but I'll make some of them.
Hey, I still have fun camping, too.


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Friday, March 23, 2007

Foggy mental breakdown

Take over a foot of snow from a week ago, add rain and seasonably warm
temperatures, mix in the S-curves on mountain roads and you have one
helluva hard way to start your day!

I typed that at around 0500, via my cell phone, in the midst of a horrendus fog-bank. It was all I could do see the yellow lines in the middle of the road... and by that I mean I kept the nose of the vehicle aimed for the center of the road. If I tried to stay in my lane, I risked driving off the road or into a rural mailbox.

THAT is how foggy it was this morning.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

24 in 24

I know... half-way through the season, and I haven't said much about 24. OK, I've been bad, but I've been busy, too.

If you want to catch a quick (if humorous) recap of this season....

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket sure to click over to each week!

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Ever had one of those days weeks?

Sometimes, the kind of week you're having can best be summed up by someone way more talented than yourself:

I encourage you all to click this link to see the rest of the strip. However, knowing the online archive is limited, you can also click the piece above to see it indefinitely.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How many lives do cats really have?

Last week I mentioned how the family cat should sleep with one eye open; after yesterday this might be more than a humorous musing:

4 year old son: Can we get a puppy?

Mom: No, cats and dogs don't usually get along.

4 year old: (cough-cough) I think I am allergic to Tigger!

Now the cough was so obviously fake its almost funny. But that's twice in a week he's looking to push the cat out the door (Tigger has always been an indoor feline).

Heck, the cat and I barely tolerate each other, so he's never getting my vote. But if our youngest ever starts asking to feed the cat, I'll really start worrying!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Useless Traffic Report

Listening to AM radio out of the Lehigh Valley: Due to all of the snow and sleet on all of the roads, it would be

This mobile text message is brought to you by Cingular, now the new AT&

I haven't a clue why my text-messages to Blogger fail. This message, in its entirety, read:
Listening to AM radio out of the Lehigh Valley:
Due to all of the snow and sleet on all of the roads, it would be pointless.
Obviously, this kind or report was almost less than useless.

Not sure why the original was truncated. My commute time was doubled today, taking 4 hours to get home. Not a happy camper, to be sure. I went in to work because the 2nd day of the oldest son's state test was canceled due to the pending snow. So that means they'll pick another day to hold the test, which will likely happen at the most annoying time on our calendar.

Ah well.. take the good with bad.

I am behind on e-mail and blog reading and commenting, so don't hate me if I haven't replied yet.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

On Politics

I've blogged a lot about President Bush, overwhelmingly positive.   My Conservative views are no mystery to readers, this is true.

I still am happy he won both elections.   No modern-day politician has done more for the saftey of our nation, and for that he will always be remembered favorably.

This week the mainstream media can't believe it: something POLITICAL happened in Washington D.C.     8 US attorneys were fired.  Well, not really... most (if not all) of them had their terms come to their logical end, and instead of being renewed they were passed over.  Even still, the Constitution permits the President to hire and fire whom he pleases.  

And he did that.

Was it politically motivaterd?  HELL I hope so!  And why not?  President Clinton peformed an unprecedented firing of all 93 US Attorneys, and no one complained.  Why? It was one of the times he legitimately used his Constitutional powers.   Sure, he wanted to get rid of the US Attorney from Arkansas that was working on Whitewater.   So he fired 92 others, I suppose, to make it look innocent.

What boils my blood is the lack of backbone in the Republican Party,  from the Commander on down.  They are apologizing and squirming, when they should be standing strong.

Oh how I long for a true Conservative.  President Bush is a good man, and good President, but he is no Conservative Leader.  


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Tales of Tech Woe

Strangely, the much-better-half's laptop is not playing well with the home network.   It refuses to connect to the PCs in the house, or their printers, and they can't connect to it.   I can use RealVNC to connect to it, and from it to the other PCs, but for some reason it's being a nuisance.   Fuck.

I've futzed with it since returning from TKD.  You'd think after 3-1/2 years I'd ache less after a workout.  Tell me again: when am I supposed to start enjoying the feeling I get during/after a workout?

The office presented me a notebook today.  Surplus.  Came from a client site (read: government).  A Sony VAIO.  While it looks slick, it packs a whopping P-III chip.  Oh boy.   By the way its been chugging on Windows Update, I doubt anyone ever downloaded a service pack in months/years.   Fuck again.

Sadly, this notebook isn't nearly as useful as the Corporate ones I've used in the past.  They came with a T-Mobile wireless broadband card (VAIO doesn't).  So it's nice, I guess, but not terribly better than my PocketPC.   I need a wireless broadband provider, for there are definite times when my 11 year old - the cyber-school student - is away from home and needs to connnect for a cyber-classroom event.   Using Starbucks or Panera isn't always useful for these events.   But I can't (yet) justify the ~$60/mth for 2 years that the big-3 wireless providers charge for their air-cards.    Someone told me about FON, and I am researching their coverage area, so who knows.

Thursday and Friday the 11 year old goes to college.  Sort of.   All PA students are taking their PSSA, which is rquired under NCLB (a well-intentioned but decidedly flawed idea).  Kids in brick-and-mortar schools take their tests in their own classrooms.  

Cyber-school kids meet at local college.   

So while MBH goes about her day with the 4 year old, I'm taking older brother to college.  Maybe I'll swipe her laptop and figure out the firewall issue, while getting some work done in between.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Today marks two separate but related holidays...

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

More musings on time change

So I have this clock radio that automatically has its time set.  Plug it in, hold the SNOOZE button for 3 seconds, and it'll grab the eatern time zone out of the air.   

So at 4:30 AM I rolled over and compared my cell phone time to my clock 

Guess which one said 4:30 and which said 5:30?

(Why am I up at 4:30/5:30 AM on a Sunday?  When you're up before 4AM 5 days a week, it becomes a routine)

So later on I held the SNOOZE button in, and it came up 1 hour later than the Congressionally-mandated legal time.    "Piece of crap clock radio," or so I thought.

The clock radio came with a matching clock (sans radio), which was in the family room.  Around 5PM I triggered its auto-setting.    Spot on 5PM.   So I went back to my clock radio, and held SNOOZE.   Spot on, right time.

Guess the guys who do the Atomic Clock missed changing it this morning!

Still, as I said, DST is an idea that has long since outlived its usefulness.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Daylight Savings

Can we, once and for all, do away with this nonsense of changing the clocks? It's an idea whose time came and has long since gone.

We're not as much an agricultural nation as we once were, and those who still work the land have electric lights on their equipment.

Stop screwing with the clocks, and leave time alone. If you are depressed that the days appear shorter, if only changing the clocks twice a year is your solution, then maybe you really don't have an actual problem in the first place.

Note: I edited the title when I realized I said Savings when it is actually Saving.

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The cat better sleep with one eye open...

As told by my much better half:

Mom and sons are out and about in the car. Our 4 year old son announces he wants a hamster.

HE: Like Linny on Wonder Pets!
Mom considers it for a moment, and is about to give her stock maybe as an answer when she remembers the cat.
SHE: Honey, what about Tigger?
HE: Tigger will like Linny!

(she laughs to herself: that's what I'm afraid of!)

SHE: Tigger may think he is supposed to catch and eat him. That's not going to be good.
HE: Oh....

(pause...... pause..... pause.....)

HE: Well, maybe Tigger will have to go.

I wonder how fast he'd give me up!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

What's on my mind?

If you care...

  • Ann Coulter made waves last weekend. She is no stranger to controversy, so I don't know why people are so shocked. Some pundits - many of whom I admire - complained she made her inflammatory comments at the CPAC event an event where Conservative candidates for president would be speaking.

    I find one fault with that logic: exactly how many Conservative candidates for president spoke, or were even at CPAC? None, by my count.

  • Libby found guilty: Not a surprise. Based on the evidence, it would have been a stretch to assume the accused would get a pass for a faulty memory, even as many of the prosecution witnesses had the same problem. What I find amazing about the case it the following:
  1. OK, he lied to the investigators, who were investigating a crime THAT DID NOT HAPPEN. How can be so sure? Richard Amitage and Karl Rove both told the Grand Jury about the identity of Valerie Plame. Why weren't they were charged with outing her? Simple: she wasn't covered by the covert operators law. Thus no crime was committed to warrant the investigation in the first place!
  2. The claims that outing Ms. Plame was a retaliation to Ambassador Joe Wilson's oped piece doesn't hold water: Mr. Wilson believed Iraq had chemical and bio weapons (but not nuclear), he was in favor of UN Resolution 1440.
  3. NY Times, 22-May-04, reports 500 tons of yellow-cake uranium was found in Iraq, of which over 1.5 tons were already enriched. Gee, where did that come from any way?

    In short, this entire case was crap from the start. I predict President Bush will pardon Mr. Libbey, only after appeals have been completed. The downside to a pardon is that the person being pardon has to admit guilt; since there was no crime, that's hard to do, but in due time, I am sure.

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Gas prices got you down?

Trust me, they annoy me. In spite of now driving a vehicle that gets better MPG than my old Blazer, I feel the price increase, too.

But I fall back on my own words from two years ago at about this same time, and I am reminded again of why this seasonal increase is not at all a surprise.

Read Aggita from Gas

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The stench of trying not to offend

Just when I thought I was in a fairly good mood, in comes an e-mail from HR. This is the entire e-mail, sans actual company identifiers and the HR Manager's name:


Effective immediately, company name is instituting a Fragrance-Free Workplace Policy in all company facilities.

Fragrance-Free Workplace Policy

Recognizing that employees and visitors to our offices may have sensitivity to and/or allergic reactions from various fragrant products, company name are fragrance-free facilities. Personal fragrance products (perfumes, colognes, lotions, powders and other scented products) are not to be worn by employees. Other fragrance products (scented candles, potpourri, scented sprays/deodorizers and other similar items) are also not permitted in company offices.

Any employee with a concern about scents or odors is to contact his or her manager or the Human Resource Department.

This attempt not-to-offend people offends ME in many different ways!

  1. This policy is so ambiguous, it will be difficult to enforce.
  2. Dry cleaning leaves a fragrance on my clothing; am I, instead, to bring my clothes to the creek and bang them with a rock?
  3. Suppose a colleague's 10 year old daughter gives him a bottle of after shave for Father's Day? Sorry, honey, I'll get fired if I wear your present.
  4. In my professional career, I have encountered people who wear far too much cologne. I have also encountered more than a few that could not wear enough cologne, but we were all glad they at least showed an effort!

Don't get me wrong; this doesn't affect me directly. I never 'got' cologne or after shave. I probably have a 4 or 5 bottles of the stuff in my closet. I apply it, maybe, once or twice a year. After a shower, I don't see why I need to add a scent. And as for the aromatic properties of cologne when it reacts to my body's temperature... for whom am I offering this scent? My co-workers? Myself on my 2 hour commute?

So for me, the whole idea of body fragrance is best left for the bedroom.

Beyond that, I wear anti-perspirant. I generally buy unscented (for the reasons above) but if a scent is on sale, I buy it. What should I do? Change my habits because a few (or one) person has an allergy (or, more than likely, was merely offended)? What about the bottle of hand-lotion on a colleague's' desk? Her dry skin takes a back seat to someones nose? What is that person's nose doing in her hands anyway?

I have a bottle of hand-sanitizer on my desk. Near as I can tell, there's always an alcohol smell to these products; are they banned also?

Several people in my office smoke. They take their smoke breaks outside, but one worker doesn't, but does smoke in their car. Are their clothes now the sources of odor that must be removed from the workplace?

I suppose Mexican food for lunch is now off the table, too, huh? I mean for the fragrance they commonly produce after digestion...

And what about lunch? Once of my colleagues nukes some dish that must be appealing to her, but offends my olfactory. Can I have a policy against what I deem is foul-smelling food?

Sadly, a quick Google shows this kind of ruling is spreading all over, fueled by the well-intentioned but poorly written ADA.

Some have said can't we get along and just accept the new rule? I say: can't we all be adults?

Or is that question offensive to some?

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I interrupt the usual political, humorous (I hope) and random blather of my blog for the following announcement:


My much-better-half's brother-in-law, and other people I know (including fellow blogger and frequent commenter, mdmhvonpa) deal with Multiple Sclerosis, so doing this plug for MS AWARENESS WEEK is really the very least I can do!

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Walter Reed

A lot has been said about Walter Reed Army Hospital in recent weeks. My first post about it dealt little with the actual situation but rather with the initial reactions.

By default, President Bush faces a lot of blame, since he's in charge. Beyond that, if - as Rhandi Rhodes will have you think - since the President visited Walter Reed, its his fault these problems have gone on, then every elected official who has gone to Walter Reed is equally guilty.

The real blame, in fact, is the Hospital administrators and the Congress Oversight Committee(s) responsible for the BRAC -- the Base Realighment And Closure -- who has marked Walter Reed for closure - quite possibly with good reason at the time the decision was made. The way the BRAC rules were written after the fall of the Soviet Union, an independent committe reviews all exisiting military bases, makes recommendations for closure, and then sends the entire folder to Congress. Congress and the President then get one up or down vote on the entire lot of recommendations. The idea was to prevent any one representative from creating sacred cows. I know a little about this, since my principle client is a base that has been BRAC'd (although I have reassurances my work is safe regardless of what happens on the base).

The BRAC plan may have been fine in the past, but since 2001, we really have to reconsider the entire concept. We're at war, and the last thing we need is the headaches and bureaucracy associated with a site (in this case, a hospital) that is BRAC'd. Essential repair funding is slowed due to the fact the 'base is scheduled to close', so the red tape has to be cut each time to approve the expenditure.

This, mind you, is no excuse for decrepit and filthy conditions; those problems get magnified by the inherent bureaucracy of a federal program to begin with.

Congress should take immediate steps to freeze the BRAC from further closure considerations (disbanding the entire commission isn't a bad idea), immediately belay any further closure actions on those bases slated for BRACing (i.e. Walter Reed) and then check back 60, 80, and 180 days to see what progress has been made.


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25 years: time flies

In the last week I've recounted two events that have occurred in the past, both of good times. Then I came across Smoking Gun's repost of the M.E.'s report on the death of John Belushi (ironic, since I just re-posted his March bit).

As hard is it to imagine 17 years passing, its more so that 25 years have passed since Belushi's death.

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Pandering to those to whom Civil Rights mean so much

It doesn't take much effort to find articles in the MSM telling of Senators Clinton and Obama pandering in the South this passed weekend, appealing to those to whom the term Civil Rights mean so much. It is true, certainly, that this nation does have a period of time when it abused the rights of so many, especially when it blatantly allowed (and encouraged) slavery.

And the MSM, in some cases subtly, will remind its audience that it was only the Democratic candidates who were in the South this weekend; no mention of Republican candidates, which can lead people to a certain conclusion.

While there were people with blood on their hands on both sides of the aisle - figuratively and literally - there was and remains a political party who did take the bold steps to fight against slavery, and later fight for Civil Right for all in the 1960s.

Some of you know the Party to which I am referring; others have grown up to be adults, believing in their hearts they know which Party I mean. To those in the latter group, I am here to open your eyes, by referring to my own archive on the History of the Republican Party.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Who'd ever thought it would last

Who'd ever think, 17 years ago, that a lady known as my much-better-half (even then) would still put up with me this long.

Go figure.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

The more things change...

Looking at what the Democrat House has proposed, the sad truth is they aren't really different from what the former Majority holders had become; big spenders.

CDR Salamander posed the musical question: Can you build a fleet out of corn? when noting:

House Democratic leaders will add nearly $4 billion for farmers to a bill funding military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to attract conservative Democrats concerned that the measure would wrongly constrict President Bush’s power as commander in chief. if farming and military spending have any kind of relationship! $4 billion for farmers? I am a fan of farming, too, but this is nothing more but pork barrel spending, the kind of thing that Republicans thought they could bribe voters with. The kind of thing that Democrats promised to 'drain the swamp' of in their campaigns. Those same conservative Democrat members should realize the shell game Speaker Pelosi is playing.

As Captains Quarters points out (emphasis by me):

It's all the more egregious that House Democrats have hijacked a spending bill intended on supporting our troops in the field in order to bolster their own petty ambitions. They have done so not for any emergent need, but because the spending they want to pass will not stand on its own during a competitive budget process, and they know it. The Democrats had a chance to show that they could reform the budget system in the House, and instead they have demonstrated that they have more interested in making it cash out for themselves.

That's it exactly: they'll interrupt funding for the War on Terror by tying it to spending that would never pass in the Senate. Once again, instead of overtly defunding the war -- something their supporters claim to want -- they'll play games to covertly do so.

Sad Representatives, don't you think?


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Thursday, March 01, 2007

PC fixed

I don't feel too bad.

My tech guys figured out my PC woes; since setting up my home LAN, of the three PCs that are running pretty much full-time, my box could see the other two, the other two could see each other, but none could see my box.

RealVNC, an excellent remote control software, could connect to both other PCs, but not mine.

This was an nuisance but an acceptable issue. Until this weekend, when my new RSA-Secure enabled company website was blocked from being accessed by my PC. It claimed I neither had a firewall nor anti-virus, both of which did exist.

It turns out the VPN software I use for secure access to one of office labs inhibited my own firewall from working properly. It actually restricted more than I could control; so while I could send/receive data, I couldn't let anyone in even if I wanted to do so!

The only saving grace I have: the two tech guys spent about 5 hours combined trying to figure out my problem. Had they said Oh, click here and here and you're done I would have been grateful, but would have felt silly for not seeing here and here for almost 2 years!

The down side? I can't justify a new PC... oh well.

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Sparing the rod...

Two different but related posts today about corporal punishment.

For starters, I have never been 'spanked' in the generic sense (pulled over knee), at least not to memory. However, I've always been fond of Bill Cosby's description of his upbringing in that my parents used to hit for distance. ONE shot was, generally speaking, enough to deliver their message. Generally it was a swat on the touche while standing (mom favored a slap in the face). Some may call their parenting child abuse, I don't.

As a parent of two boys (11 and 4), I've had a few occasions to practice similar discipline. My strategy is my father's: to swat the disobeying child on the tush, while the boy is standing. I like this because the rump is sufficient to absorb such an impact, and should I under-estimate my strength, that he's standing will enable him to take a step or two forward, minimizing the impact. But the message gets delivered all the same!

And there are some that may call my parenting abuse, but I don't care.
Dr. Helen references a post that deals, logically, with the discussion of laws regarding banning spanking of all kind, while Alex C demonstrates what happens (likely) to those raised in a home that lacks any formal discipline.

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Times were good,
she never thought about the future, she just did what she would
Oh but she really cared about her music,
it all seemed so important then.

And she dreamed that every time that she performed
everyone would cry for more
That all she had to do was step into the light,
and everyone would start to roar.

And on the road,
where all but a few fall by the wayside on the grassier verge,
She battled through against the others in her world,
and the sleep, and the odds.

But now every time that she performed
everybody cried for more,
Soon all she had to do was step into the light,
for everyone to start to roar.

And all the people cried, "you're the one we've waited for!"
Last night I stopped to get gas after my work out. After paying (inside) I glanced at the mag rack, momentarily looking at all of the rags that pass as entertainment news these days. If the headlines could be believed, Britney tried suicide recently.
It could be true; everything she's done on camera in recent months would support such an act, so who knows. Since seeing those headlines, an old song by Genesis has been rattling around my head.
Maybe I am being too generous; I never cared for much of Pop music in my life; sure, where a Rock song made the crossover to Pop was fine, but my tastes have always been so outside mainstream I never had much use for Pop, and Britney certainly fits the Pop bill. So perhaps the lyrics of how she really cared about her music may be over the top, I don't really know. But the rest of the song seems to fit her career, all too well.
Oh but time went by
it wasn't so easy now, all uphill, and not feeling so strong.
Yes times were hard,
there was too much thinking 'bout the future and what people might want.

And then there was the time that she performed
when nobody called for more
And soon every time she stepped into the light,
they really let her know the score.

But she dreamed of the times when she sang all her songs
and everybody cried for more,
When all she had to do was step into the light
for everyone to start to roar.

And all the people cried, "you're the one we've waited for!"
A Genesis video of this tune, back when they all had hair!
Somewhat poor sound quality, and the famous trio look absolutely
bored with the taping. An all too common occurence in videos...
I'll not lose any sleep over the career follies of any diva (or the male equivalent, if any); before Britney it was Mariah Carey (who, at least for a time, regained some of her fame), and sooner or later they'll be another.
But now and again I'll get a lyric stuck in my brain. Today it was Genesis. Gotta dig up some of their albums...

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