Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Should old aquaintance be forgotten?

Updated and reposted (isn't that sort of redudent?)

"What does this song mean?" wonders Harry Burns to Sally Albright in that ballroom moment from the 1989 movie "When Harry Met Sally."
"My whole life, I have never known what this song means. I mean, Should old acquaintance be forgot? Does that mean we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot them?"
Sally can't help. But whatever the nuances, no one seems capable of forgetting this song.
The original post, now 4 years old, has been frequently sought after on my blog - all year long - and as since the original post has outdated links, I thought it should be refreshed.

Wikipedia traces it back to Robert Burns in 1788, and notes that while the famous band leader Guy Lombardo used it his New Years Eve broadcasts on radio and then TV, the song can traced back as far 1896.   The various translations of the song are found there, and HowStuffWorks breaks down the meanings of the verses.

This is the time people start creating their New Year's Resolutions but I've long since provided my reasoning why doing so is silly (here and here).  Of course, if making a resolution Wednesday night works for, be my guest.

Incidentally, if you haven't seen When Harry Met Sally you have no clue what you're missing.   The trailer has several lines that are indescribably funny ("...and I'm going to be 40!"), and is well worth your watching.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Time is here

One of the doubled-edge swords of having a blog is that you can look back at posts from previous years.

Sometimes you can relish in seeing how far you've come.  Other times, you find yourself typing the same ole' same old again.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, so goes the old saying.  I find myself in a repeated funk this time of year.   And like last year, I know I'll get out of it, but it seems even harder to do so this year than last. 

This year I can blame my shopping procrastination in part on my study of taekwondo.  Our dojang is open Monday - Thursday, but is closed tonight and tomorrow, and again next week.  So I tried to get extra work outs to make my average of 2 nights per week.   Lame excuse, I realize, but after the summer gas prices costing me upwards of $32 per day to get to work, my MBH and I agreed to go light with each other this year.

On the upside, she did secure a purchase of most-valued Wii, and I must brag that I have shown quite a bit of restraint in not testing the unit yet.  So we have a definite anchor gift for the boys this year, and plenty of other wonders for them to open.   Then this weekend it's our annual romp to my parents and my in-laws....

...with that in mind, I'll be stopping at my local State Store to load up on a sufficient quantity of libations... heaven knows I'll need it!

And on that note, to those who still bother to stop and read my missives, a very Merry Christmas to you all!

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Army Christmas Operations Order: 12-24-08

Army Christmas Operations Order: 12-24-08

Subject: Christmas

1. An official visit by MG Santa (NMI) Claus is expected at this headquarters 25 December 2008. The following instructions will be in effect and govern the activities of all personnel during the visit.

a. Not a creature will stir without official permission. This will include indigenous mice. Special stirring permits for necessary administrative actions will be obtained through normal channels. Mice stirring permits will be obtained through the Office of the Surgeon General, Veterinary Services.

b. Personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap prior to 2200 hours, 24 December 2008. Uniform for the nap will be: Pajamas, cotton, light, drowsing, with kerchief, general purpose, camouflage; and Cap, camouflage w/ear flaps. Equipment will be drawn from CIF prior to 1900 hours, 24 December 2008.

c. Personnel will utilize standard field ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. Artificially sweetened plums are authorized for those in their unit weight control program. Specifications for this item will be provided by the servicing dining facility.

d. Stockings, wool, cushion sole, will be hung by the chimney with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fire hazards caused by carelessly hung stockings. Unit safety Officers will submit stocking hanging plans to this headquarters prior to 0800 hours, 24 December 2008, ATTN: DCSLOG, for approval.

e. At the first sign of clatter from the lawn, all troops will spring from their beds to evaluate noise and cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw open the window sashes. DCSOPS Plan (Saint Nick), Reference LO No. 3, paragraph 6c, this headquarters, 2 February 2008, will be in effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. Division chiefs will familiarize all personnel with procedures and are responsible for ensuring that no shutters are torn open nor window sashes thrown open prior to start of official clatter.

f. Prior to 2400, 24 December 2008, all personnel will be assigned "Wondering Eye" stations. After shutters are thrown open and sashes are torn, these stations will be manned.

g. The ODCSLOG will assign one each Sleigh, miniature, M-66, and eight
(8) deer, rein, tiny, for use of MG Claus' driver who, IAW current directives and other applicable regulations, must have a valid SF 56 properly annotated by Driver Testing; be authorized rooftop parking and be able to shout "On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, up Comet, up Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen".

2. MG Claus will enter quarters through standard chimneys. All units without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M-6, for use during ceremonies. Chimney simulator units will be requested on Engineer Job Order Request Form submitted to the Furniture Warehouse prior to 19 December 2008, and issued on DA Form 3161, Request for Issue or Turn-in.

3. Personnel will be rehearsed on shouting "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night." This shout will be given on termination of General Claus' visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of division chiefs.

Colonel, USA
OIC, Special Services

Everybody Who Still Believes


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Monday, December 22, 2008

Double Standards in politics, relationships

Poor guy, I feel for him. While I have not debated with people with whom I share intimacies with (as Jan & Damon do in the Day By Day comic strip), I have poised similar questions to people with whom I am diametrically opposed with in politics, and they get every bit bent out of shape as Jan does.

Even the ones who called me a Nazi for voting for George W. Bush.

Go figure.

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How many System Engineers does it take to open a door?

Scene: Front door of my office, Monday 06:35

I arrive to find two colleagues standing in the freezing weather, frustrated. Our door has a cipher lock on it: a rectangular box sits atop of the steel doorknob, wherein 5 numbered buttons are lined up vertically. Punch in the correct code, turn the knob, you're in.

Remember this weekend's weather. Typically, the metal buttons freeze, requiring a pair of pliers from my tool box to grip and push in, pull out. I stand there with my briefcase and coffee, and tell the two I will get my pliers.

Guy1: It's not the buttons, it's the knob that's frozen. What should we do?
I was trying to decided whether to tell this doofus to sit in his warm car instead of obviously freezing. Instead I stood little more than 3' from the door, stared at the knob for a half of a second, and landed a front kick square on the knob.
Me: Try it now.
Guy2: Hey it works, and he didn't even spill his coffee!
Guy1: Can you teach me that?

Yeah... I work with some brilliant guys.

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More troops to Afghanistan: will war critics be consistent?

Remember that NATO forces were to control , as the intelligence of US and our allies told us of the impending threats from .   With no disrespect to NATO (of which the US, obviously, is a member): they've all done an admirable job, in proportion to their strengths.  

That being said, since we've tamped down Iraq and the insurgents, it is time to focus more on Afghanistan to prevent it from falling back into Taliban (or other) hands.   The US and will be remembered for freeing the Afghanistan, but the job needs to be mopped.  You will not hear any complaints from me when the forces of good are stepping on those of evil.

In related news, however:  Bush, Cheney comforted troops privately - The Washington Times reports what a lot of people knew - that Mssrs. Bush & were far from the cold-hearted war-mongers that the MSM consistently portrayed them.
For much of the past seven years, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have waged a clandestine operation inside the White House. It has involved thousands of military personnel, private presidential letters and meetings that were kept off their public calendars or sometimes left the news media in the dark.

Their mission: to comfort the families of soldiers who died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to lift the spirits of those wounded in the service of their country.

Mr. Bush, for instance, has sent personal letters to the families of every one of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in the two wars, an enormous personal effort that consumed hours of his time and escaped public notice. The task, along with meeting family members of troops killed in action, has been so wrenching - balancing the anger, grief and pride of families coping with the loss symbolized by a flag-draped coffin - that the president often leaned on his wife, Laura, for emotional support.

"I lean on the Almighty and Laura," Mr. Bush said in the interview. "She has been very reassuring, very calming."

Mr. Bush also has met privately with more than 500 families of troops killed in action and with more than 950 wounded veterans, according to White House spokesman Carlton Carroll. Many of those meetings were outside the presence of the news media at the White House or at private sessions during official travel stops, officials said.

Much to the chagrin of his critics, President Bush would never disrupt the solemn ceremony of a family funeral with the required security detail necessary for any sitting president (never mind the relentless news media!). So for all the 7 years of his critics complaining that he never once attended a funeral for a fallen soldier, he did a a lot more than any of them ever dared to suggest, nor would they've likely admitted had they known the truth.

That being said, tell me: if increases troop strength to Afghanistan, as is reported ...

if there are still insurgent attacks in Iraq, in spite of our success, that kill US servicemen ...

Will any of the critics who slammed President Bush for never attending a serviceman's funeral say the same thing to President Obama?

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A Hanukkah Menorah

I am a day late, but only due to my negligence (what can I tell you? I am goyim!).

For those who celebrate, here's a Menorah:

Courtesy of Michael S. Scherotter (MS Silverlight required)


Festival of Lights
Happy Chanukah

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy

In my parent's home, traditional performers were always given preference, and was pretty much the top of the category.   I remember watching his annual Christmas specials on TV, and can even recall his final special in 1977.

Like Bing, neither of my parents had any familiarity with (my older brother had a bunch of his albums, but my folks never cared much for the music of their kids - not a big surprise there), but my father had remarked that Bowie could sing well, and I also recall him saying If he would just continue to do songs like this, he'd have a long and successful career.   Well, Pop, he did anyway.

The duet performed by Bing & Bowie stands out in my mind as a classic Christmas song, and I was surprised to learn a few folks in my office had never heard it before. Whether you're new to it or not, enjoy:

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

He's getting ready...

Watch as the big guy takes some warm-up laps....

Courtesy of ... find out the history of the DoD website here.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quick Hits

Having  posted so very little new content of late, it's time for another installment of Quick Hits:

  • (D-Il) - OK, so this is an old story already.   First off, while there's every reason to assume the tapes mentioned in the indictment are true, there's no reason to be certain that he will be convicted.   Even if we allow for every tape and and ever incriminating statement makes it to trial, this is Chicago we're talking about.  That being said, this will have a negative impact on 's administration; I am not suggesting it will take him down, but it is already causing his team to spend a lot of cycles to deflect the blast.  And since there's already a cloud due to 's statement that Mr. Obama had met with the governor about his successor contradicting the President-elects own claim he never met with the governor, this isn't a dead issue.   The worse-case-scenario for President Obama, I believe, is that this issue will be a constant gnat throughout much of his first year in office.   By the beginning of 2010, all eyes will begin to focus on the House elections, which could forestall Mr. Obama's more Liberal policies.   I can only hope!
  • In a Tweet I suggested the best possible successor for Mr. Obama's seat - one that could be (likely) certain was free from Gov. Blagojevich's corruption - would be most any GOP'er.    Alex Charyna ran with my idea, with a very interesting suggestion.
  • My office has officially eliminated the working from home option.  For much of the last 4 years I've enjoyed an undocumented perk of working from home, on average, one day per week.   That privilege was suspended in June (just before $4/gal gas!) and was completely shot-down on Monday.  The number of reasons I have to stay at this job are beginning to dwindle.   Oh sure, I was ready to walk out the door in July, at the $4/gal prices when I was prevented from working at home, wherein I was virtually losing money every day I came to work (net/net that is).  Now I realize: there are a lot of people hurting a lot more than I am by losing this perk.  Still, it affects me and the topic of me is what much of this blog is about.    Twice a year - in January and July - I revise my curricula vita (that's résumé for those under 30), whether I am looking for a job or not.   This year may be different...  I may shop it around to see whats-what in the market.  You never know.
  • HEY you lazy bastard, what about them push-ups?  Over this summer I participated in a one-hundred push-up challenge at the encouragement of Derek Semmler. In September, so the story went, I was expected to be able to churn out 100 proper push-ups in a sequential fashion (not in any specific time frame, like 60 seconds, but not with any breaks either).      In a post I made recounting the prior weeks accomplishment, I noted that I had failed to hit the prescribed number of push-ups, and that I would consider redoing the final two weeks of the 6 week program.   As is all too common with me, inertia set in and I never revisited the program.      At the  height of my training, I was able to routinely hit about 45 consecutive push-ups (tripod stance, on fists).  By the end of the six-week program, however, I was having trouble breaking 35, so I clearly lost my motivation.  Well I am girding myself to revisit the program again, and will invite any and all comers to visit one hundred push-ups and join me. I will retake the initial test and start the 6 week program next week. Unlike Derek's generosity, I am unable to offer any swag to others who join me in this quest, but hey! I'll say some nice words about you if you do!   (and for those thinking 100 push-ups is an incredible amount, I am regularly grinding out 3 sets of 35 inclined push-ups as part of my TKD training.... so I ought to be able to reach the 100 goal).

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Oh Santa!

Whether you have kids or not, this is worth a few minutes...

are the creation of BigIdea.com, which produce animated Biblical-based toons (both Old and New Testaments) with enough side-jokes to keep any adult smiling.  I especially enjoy the crude 'stage' effects (notice the snow) and sight gags.

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Holiday Chestnuts

Appearing at the top of this blog, throughout Christmas, is my annual list of my favorite Holiday Chestnuts.  If you have any suggestions to be added, leave a comment.  I hope to add more this year:

It's OK to say
Merry Christmas!


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Monday, December 01, 2008

The more things CHANGE ... you know the rest...

We're now certain who the nominees for key positions in 's administration will be, including an Economic and National Security team that is straight out of the pages of 's cabinet.

So it begs the question: where's the change?  Does anyone really believe a President 's administration would look dramatically different?   We were told by Candidate Obama that things would be done differently under his watch, but so far we're getting more of the same, even with the nomination of to head Defense, in a roll where his positions on the Surge and - indeed - Iraq itself would likely be counter to Mr. Obama's.  

So either Mr. Obama is desiring heated debates in his Cabinet, or he's going to backtrack on a lot of the core positions of his campaign. 

In my office, when I raise these points to a couple of the die-hard Obama fans - ones who never supported Sen. Clinton - their response is short, cold, it doesn't matter, almost as if they're dismayed at these choices.

I have to wonder how long the honeymoon Mr. Obama rightly deserves will last.... and I am not speaking of his critics, but of his supporters.   It is looking more and more likely that he'll abandon more and more of his campaign pledges - not unlike I and others predicted - and shape his administration and policy in ways that will surprise even some of his stauncher supporters.  It may be surprised at how hard it will be to believe in the kinds of change President Obama brings to the table. 

And believe me: I genuinely fear my predictions will come true.

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Discussions of life and death with a 5 year old

One of the benefits to cyber schooling is having the opportunity to be directly involved in a child's education.  Indeed, in the younger grades, it is essential to be the teacher (small 't') whereas the Teacher is a person whom the student converses with online, by phone, and at sees at the monthly field trips.

Our kindergartner has taken very well to the cyber classes, and my much-better-half has the dominant role as teacher, with me filling in as needed.  Last week the 5 year old asked me to help him with his science class (note: to the best of my memory, I didn't have Science in kindergarten.  In fact, short of snack time and frying pumpkin seeds in oil, I have no recollection of kindergarten). We read the book Things that are alive, things that are not  (the title may be incorrect; will update if I am wrong), which was helping kids understand that inanimate objects aren't alive, and so forth.   

One page of the book described if you walk in the park and see a bird lying on the ground, not moving, and not doing anything a bird usually does, it's dead.   Obviously, the author needed a good example of a dead animal, but never considered the amount of road-kill seen on rural roads.   That said, the drawing of a bird lying on its back on a field of green elicited a case of the giggles from my son.  But, remember, he is 5.

A few days later, however, this topic apparently began to ferment in his head.  Daddy, why is it that dogs and cats can get old and die, but people can't?   Ohhhhh-kay.   He's beginning to piece things together, albeit with a few holes.  I explained to him simply that people can die just like dogs and cats, and in fact anything alive can die. He seemed satisfied with this, and then changed the subject to what was on TV.  I later learned that he asked my much-better-half if birds could die could our cat die, too?   So the progression was logical.

A day later he asked me if people can die when they get old, how come Pop is still alive?   Wow, now he's shoving my father into the ground!!  Won't Pop be pleased??

I know this type of discussion hadn't come up when our 13 year old was a similar age, but then he had the mixed blessing of experiencing the passing of my much-better-half's parents over a few short years (and he didn't start cyber school until the 2nd grade, if that matters).  I reassured our youngest that while Pop was old, there's no reason to think that he's going to die tomorrow, which again satisfied him (at least for then and there).    My father is 78, and in overall good health, so there's no reason to think he's going anytime soon, but statistically speaking, he's entering the home stretch (the SSA predicts he's got another 9 years or so).

Since my youngest has accepted that people can (and do) die, I am going to wait for another question before I approach the topic further.   He's exhibited a healthy level of inquisitiveness for this topic, I think, and isn't apparently bothered by the topic.    My father has 2 older brothers still living (and 2 younger sisters, the husband of one sadly is struggling with cancer),  so it a stretch to imagine that a funeral may be in the cards over the next few years (believe me: I have no wish to hurry such an event).  So sooner or later, this will be discussed again.

In the meantime, I await the next question to come to mind of my youngest.   It is more than a little interesting to witness the thought process taking shape in his young mind.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On giving Thanks

After my brief absence there is a huge desire to wax politically.   Suffice it to say I will save such rants for another day - except to point to this story of radicals who really ought to have their collective heads examined.

Some notable links for this solemn holiday:

Updating my recurring list of things to be thankful for:
  • We made it through another year (er, at least about 11 months worth) without anyone in the fam having an unscheduled visit to a hospital.  Who could argue this isn't a good thing?
Whatever our particular lot in life, no matter how bad a week/month/year you've had, while there are those we envy - secretly or otherwise - those people are in the minority. And I can tell you: their lives are not all rosy either.

So as you site at the family table - wherever it may be, with but a few or a mass of family or one or even if you happen to be by yourself - take a moment and give thanks for the good things you do have.

And if you are reading this, please accept my thanks for being there. Without you, I'd be talking to myself. And trust me: I do enough of that in my car...

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Back again

As some of you who have Tweeted or sent e-mail to me know, I've been offline for a bit.  Almost two weeks.  Nothing tragic kept me away, I assure you, but it was enough to not read much, and to post (obviously) even less.  So I will spend some time this weekend catching up on blog reading, hopefully by not merely clicking mark all read.

Amuse yourselves while I work on my Thanksgiving post....

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Thursday, November 13, 2008


My death waits like an old Druid
so confident I'll go his way
whistle to him and the passing time...
My death waits like a bible truth
at the funeral of my youth
weep loud for that - and the passing time...
My death waits like a witch at night
as surely as our love is bright
let's not think about the passing time...
But whatever lies behind the door
there is nothing much to do.
Angel or devil, I don't care
for in front of that door there is you.

My death waits like a beggar blind
who sees the world through an unlit mind
throw him a dime for the passing time...
My death waits there between your thighs,
your cool fingers will close my eyes;
lets think of that and the passing time
My death waits to allow my friends
a few good times before it ends,
so let's drink to that and the passing time...
But what ever lies behind the door,
there is nothing much to do.
Angel or devil I dont care
for in front of that door there is you

My death waits there among the leaves
in magicians mysterious sleeves
rabbits and dogs and the passing time
My death waits there among the flowers
where the blackest shadow, blackest shadow cowers;
let's pick lilacs for the passing time
My death waits there, in a double bed
sails of oblivion at my head,
so pull up the sheets against the passing time

But whatever lies behind the door
there is nothing much to do.
Angel or devil.... I dont care
for in front of that door
there is....

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Veteran's Day

Note: I will be offline tomorrow

From Federalist.com:

Tomorrow is Veterans Day.

We encourage all Patriots to set aside time and reflect on the sacrifice of our Patriot veterans and those serving today, and honor them accordingly.

On November 11, 1921, an unknown American soldier from World War I was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in recognition of WWI veterans and in conjunction with the timing of cessation of hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). President Warren Harding requested that: "All ... citizens ... indulge in a period of silent thanks to God for these ... valorous lives and of supplication for His Divine mercy ... on our beloved country." Inscribed on the Tomb are the words: "Here lies in honored glory an American soldier know but to God." The day became known as "Armistice Day." In 1954, Congress, wanting to recognize the sacrifice of veterans since WWI, proposed to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day in their honor. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Commander in WWII, signed the legislation.
In addition to this, allow me to add a link to 2006 Veteran's Day message.
And birthday greetings to the US MARINE CORPS.  While I would never be worthy to wear their uniform, permit me to wish them all: Semper Fi.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

"5 Things" meme

It's been so long since I did a meme, I realized today that I deleted the MEME tag on my posts.  A big reason I haven't done one in so long is that a fellow blogger, the A Typical Female Gina, has been totally silent for more than a year, and considerably quiet for some time before that (anyone who knows her whereabouts, please advise).

UPDATE: Shows you how well I pay attention; I thought it was a "5 things" meme that asked what I was doing 5 years ago! See updates below:

Derek Semmler, the man who inspired me to tackle those 100 push-ups (no, I never did reach the mark, but am working my way towards the goal ....long after the initial 6 week pledge), tagged me.  Regardless that Derek and I do not see eye-to-eye, he is still a stand-up guy.   So without further ado:

5 Things I Was Doing 10 5 Years Ago

  • Sleeping even less than I do now (presently averaging 5 hrs/night)
  • Working at a job that had me leaving home at 04:00 for a 2 hr commute in the hopes of something better coming along (I was laid off the following summer!)
  • Starting my TKD training
  • Holding weekly Cub Scout Den Meetings as Den Leader
  • Starting an adventure too private to detail here  (I know: that's vague.  Deal with it)
5 Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago
  • Sleeping even less than I do now (presently averaging 5 hrs/night)
  • Ended a weekend job in a hospital IT group that I held for about 3 years
  • Conducted training on a Defense Logistics program, on average, 25 hrs/week, 30 weeks/year
  • Thought I was so busy, I couldn't do anything else; compared to today, I had it easy in '98
  • Can't think of a #5....

  • 5 Things on My To-Do List Today
    • Collect food with Boy Scouts SCOUTING FOR FOOD drive to support local food bank (check!)
    • Write at least one blog post (check!)
    • Review my life insurance coverage
    • Review open enrollment for next year's employment benefits
    • Clean gutters (maybe tomorrow...)
    5 Snacks I Like
    • Handful LOTS of almonds   (Derek wrote 'handful of', but I buy them in the bulk aisle, generally a pound at a time, and once I open the bag I have trouble stopping)
    • Popcorn (oil or air popped preferred)
    • Cheerios (I leave a box in the car for when I get hungry on my commute)
    • Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger (still about $1-1.30)
    • Potato Chips
    5 Things I Would Do If I Was A Millionaire
    • Pay off my mortgage
    • Pay off debt
    • Take of family/friends
    • Start a Ronald McDonald House
    • Charity
    • Shelter the rest from President Obama's confiscatory tax scheme (you knew I would!)
    5 Places I Have Lived (for various lengths of time)
    • Queens, NY (1 mile from where Shea Stadium used to stand)
    • Queens, NY (from about age 12 or 13)
    • Queens, NY (apartment)
    • Northeast Pennsylvania (current residence, 17 years and counting)
    5 Jobs I Have Had
    • 'Page' at Queensboro Public Library (shelved books)
    • Local Savings Bank - Teller/Head Teller/Internal Audit
    • Senior Associate at a mutlicurrency financial application VAR
    • Systems Engineer for defense contractor
    • mind-numbing, paper pushing job for a defense contractor
    • Systems Engineer for defense contractor - same Project, different company (current position)
    5 People I Tag We'll start with the three who admit they follow my blog: Add on:

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    Is this the CHANGE people expected?

    In my house, there's often a discussion of politics with my Much-Better-Half (and, for the record, we don't always agree), and I would submit adults discussing politics is not unusual in households, even with kids.  So it's no shock that my oldest, now 13, has had some political discussions with his peers.

    What struck him odd, however,  was that when his friends and peers asked who he supported in the Presidential elections, almost all them called him a racist because he didn't support Sen. Obama.

    He didn't mind people disagreeing with him, he just couldn't understand why they'd used such hateful words when no one he knows who supported Sen. McCain ever did.

    I know many of the kid's parents - not as friends but we get along - and while some of them are known to me as Obama supporters, none of them expressed the racist comments to me.   I recognize a lot kids who may have ignored the whole election would root for President elect Obama or boo Sen. McCain now that they know who won the election, but it was a shame some of the kids my son called friends would use such hate speech.   While some may just said what they did to be cool, some might actually believe it so, possibly getting their views from the dinner table.   And for a moment it made me wonder what their parents truly think of me, too.

    As it occurred to me I seldom, if ever, give a rip what other think/say about me, my son told me he was debating whether anyone who accused him of being a racist is worth having as a friend.

    Looks like I was the one who got a life lesson from a 13 year old.

    So to all my readers, many of whom have blogs that I read - and who supported Sen. Obama: if you think I am a racist for not having supported Sen. Obama's campaign, speak up.  Somehow, I doubt you really want someone you think a racist reading your work.

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    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    President Barack Obama

    To my critics, both online and those whom I debate in person (and in my office, I am generally in the minority), there is your proof,  I was told numerous times in recent months that it would kill me to utter/write the words , and unless I keel over after clicking PUBLISH, those critics can see I am still alive.

    failed to inspire the masses, and the result is obvious.  won cleanly, in-spite of the various abuses by the New Black Panther Party and others, and the Democrats expanded their control of Congress, though not to the 60 seat Senate majority they had coveted.   To the victor goes the spoils, but I am reflective of the discussions that occurred after prior elections.

    Remember, for 8 years now there's been visceral and tangible hate towards .  The accusations of his stupidity, the liking him to a chimp, the personal assaults that had nothing to do with policy.  The bumper stickers proclaiming he's not my presidentI wonder where those people are today; are they at all respective to Sen. McCain for the campaign he ran, or are they still mocking him for even attempting to run?

    In my own humble blog 4 years ago, I wrote of how people who were severely disappointed in the re-election of President Bush, of how the election was so close, President Bush should see things from the close minority of voters point of view.   With the early returns suggesting Sen. McCain lost by about 5% of the popular vote, will there be calls to President-elect Obama to govern in that manner?  I think not, and nor should he.  He won, and his charge now is to deliver on his promises.   And unlike so, so many on the Left, while I do not support any of his policy positions, President Obama will be my President, as he is every Americans president.  I will fight him with every breath on any position I disagree with, I will call him out when he is wrong (as I have with President Bush), but I won't disrespect the office or the man.

    All is not lost, however, for those who support the Republican party.   While I've outlined my fears and concerns should we have a President Obama, even I am not despondent.   There is ample reason to hope he will not deliver on his promises.

    As Becky so correctly detailed, Mr. Obama promised to use public financing of his campaign, and he reneged.  He promised not to vote for an extension of the Patriot Act, but then did so. He vowed to filibuster the ; not only did he not filibuster it, he actually voted for it.   He said he liked to repeal the , but did nothing to do so.  He even spoke (briefly) against , and while he could have added his considerable influence towards defeating the bill, he didn't.

    Even the esteemed President Clinton went back on his promise of the middle-class tax cut

    In short, President-elect Obama has a history (and historical precedence) of being nothing more than a Democratic panderer, saying anything to get elected.   If this is the kind of change we can believe in, it shouldn't be long to see that writing on the wall.  As Becky so succinctly used the lyrics of The Who: meet the new boss --- same as the old boss.

    As a Conservative, I can only hope for nothing less.

    MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

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    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    Don't you hate it when you are proven right....

    Recall my post just 2 years ago:

    The Democrats have won; no landslide, but a win is a win, and they deserve their majority status. Get ready higher government spending (even more so than the former Congress), higher taxes (at least the President can veto these efforts), and a slower growing economy.

    The people get the government they deserve; those who sat out this election, especially, are about to see that.
    Well, I missed on the higher taxes prediction, but as MeatLoaf sang Two out of three ain't bad

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    Today is the day

    Taking a page from my archives....

    This is it! Today is the we count every legally entitled vote of every legitimate voter.  As I said yesterday, I predict will win the vote. If I am wrong, or if there is fraud of some kind, I pledge to provide the respect the office holder deserves, along with reasoned and mature criticism of the policies put forth by ; I wish I could say there are many critics of who have acted in this manner in the last 8 years.

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    Monday, November 03, 2008

    Last day wrap up

    An outdoor Halloween party for kids that was scheduled for last Wednesday - with a rain date of Thursday - gave me a good reason to take off Wednesday - Friday of last week.   In spite of the cold/rain/hail/snow squall, the party went off without a hitch Wednesday.   Once I had the time off booked, of course, I took the other days off as well.    And with the huge to do  list at home, I was pretty much offline much of the weekend (as my unread blog count of +1000 can attest).
    The long, strange trip of this election campaign is almost over.   I am still concerned how many people can call themselves intelligent but still claim to be undecided on their voting choice.   Neither of these two candidates have much in common on the key issues of the day, and while it is easy to imagine a person having beliefs that straddle the ideological line between them, I am baffled that person can't be satisfied with one or the other (or any of the third-party candidates, for that matter).

    So be it.

    If you have read any of my posts over the years, you know well where I stand: I am a Conservative.  Sen. John McCain holds a number of Conservative positions that I agree with, but has a few positions with which I disagree.  To be sure, I'd say I would agree with about 70-75% of Sen. McCain's positions and policies.  By comparison, there's not any major position of Sen. Barack Obama that I can agree with.   So from where I stand, the choice is clear.

    No economist worth his salt will tell you that raising taxes in an unsettled economy makes sense.  Yet Sen. Obama has pledged to do so.  And please, before you tell me of his plans to give 95% of people a tax cut, be prepared to defend the following facts:

    So one way or another, taxes are going up if Sen. Obama is elected.  Mark my word.

    From a national security point of view, we've already had instances where both candidates have been tested.  When Russia invaded Georgia, Sen. Obama's first inclination was to ask both sides to show restraint, as if Georgia was somehow at fault for the overly-aggressive actions by Russia.   Should China ever flex it's muscle against Taiwan, should a President Obama tell them to show restraint as well?

    Besides, Sen. Obama has already pledged to cut defense spending, in a big way.  His frequent statement that he was against the Iraq war from the beginning neglects a key fact he's never stated:  as state senator from Illinois, he was never a party to the security briefings that the Bush Administration and Congress reviewed.  Apparently, such details aren't important.

    Despite Sen. Obama's claims to the contrary, he supports principles of socialism.  Whether it is his plans for spreading the wealth or health care, his positions are a danger to the American systems that has built this nation its greatness. And as I pledged in February: I will work as many jobs as I need to in order to afford whatever options there may be to purchase private insurance should any universal plan be forced upon my family. My greatest fear is that those options may actually be outlawed.   I will also seek every legal avenue to shelter as much of income as possible.  Already, there are plans to sieze my 401(k), and that had been my shelter from the Ponzi scheme that is Social Security, so I shudder to think what a triumberant of radical, unchecked Libaralism that may well be elected tomorrow.

    A number of reasons not to vote for Sen. Obama can be found in my aforementioned February post; 26 additional reasons were posted last week.  The questionable associations and probable inability to be granted a security clearance should send up flares for anyone even remotely familar with the process. Yet Sen. Obama has a minor lead, but a lead nonetheless.

    What is telling, however, is that Sen. John McCain is so close, and in a few polls even a point or two ahead.  We were told that after 8 years, it was a foregone conclusion that a Democrat would win.  Now it cannot be denied that Republicans are in real danger of losing seats in Congress, and that's easily because the incumbents became less like the Conservatives they were when they came into power in the 1990's and more like their Democrat opponents in their foolish spending.  People on both sides of the aisles have their concerns with Sen. Obama, and short of an unadulterated landslide, it will be reflected clearly in the polls Tuesday night.

    I've made predictions before, sparringly, and am rarely correct, but I will go with my gut beliefs based on the available data:
    • The Presidential race will go down to the wire, and without a doubt, there will be court challenges.  In the end: the electoral college vote will go, I predict, to John McCain.    And it will be close.  Don't believe the exit polls; they have been historically wrong.
    • Pennsylvania will be nearly split, but will lean toward McCain.
    • Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) will go down in disgrace, as well he should.
    • Congress will, I fear, have a majority of Democrats in control.  After the last 2 years of accomplishing nothing, of an approval ratings lower than President Bush, I can't imagine why people would trust the Congress in the hands of Democrats.  
    There it is... tune in Wednesday with your offes of congratulations or to force-feed me crow, as you wish.

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    Friday, October 31, 2008

    Third year of low turnout

    Another year of low turnout for All Hallow Eve; about 70 costumed tykes (and some decidedly older) came to the driveway. You'd think with the poor economy - real or otherwise - more kids would be trying for free sweets.

    I was reminded again of my need to post rules for Halloween; too many guys sporting 5:00 shadows, a couple of parents who had no tykes with them, etc.

    On the upside, my kids attended a Halloween party on Wednesday night, and made out like bandits (even the 13 year old), so they were satisfied with making only a few stops in our development.

    The upside, of course: plenty of good-stuff left over. I have to avoid most of it, of course... winter is the season I tend to pack on weight, and I just can't afford to do that in the next few months.

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    Thursday, October 30, 2008


    Repost from 2005 ...

    Here's a scary site for you all ... don't say I didn't warn you!! (don't worry, it's safe for work - unless you're worried your co-workers will mock you)

    For an original idea located on Dave Barry's Blog.

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    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    Let Freedom Ring: MIDDLE CLASS

    The one thing this ad neglects to point out (and I realize it's got a lot to say in 61 seconds): when business cut costs, that means purchases to other, smaller businesses get cut. So smaller companies - which hire people, too - lose when their bigger business brethren are taxed.

    Just imagine:  less business catering... less business lunches...  the restaurant industry would feel these cuts, and that's just off the top of my head.  

    Look around YOUR company: what would be cut if your company slashed its costs (besides, possibly, your job).

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    Barack Obama, A-Z

    In February I listed some policy reason why I believed Sen. Barack Obama should not be president.  As we're down to just 7 days before Election Day, I decided to offer 26 reasons - some policy related, some personal actions - that further reinforce why his presidency would be bad for America.


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    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    All Hallow's Eve Lanterns

    Repost from 2006

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    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act

    One of the few things the 110th Congress did, in fact, pass...

    Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act - Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 350,000 $1 coins in commemoration of the centennial of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America. GovTrack.us. H.R. 5872--110th Congress (2008): Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation) (accessed Oct 23, 2008)

    The commemorative design of the coin will be reflective of the first century of the Boy Scouts of America. It will be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazucca and the Commission of Fine Arts.

    h/t kismif.org

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    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    Sen. Biden again makes the case .... for President McCain

    Of course those who haven't hidden their head know well what thinks of :

    "I would be honored to run with or against John McCain because I think the country would be better off."
    That much said, his comments at a fund raiser on Sunday make all the more sense:

    "Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America.

    "Watch. We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."
    So let's get this straight... if we elect Sen. Obama, the world will test him.  Is It not then easy to conclude that a President McCain would not be so tested?  Perhaps those same people Sen. Biden referred to in his remarks already know what a President McCain would do if they were to test him?

    And people are quick to forget: Sen. Obama has already been tested!  When Russia invaded , Sen. Obama called restraint from both sides, as if the smaller Georgia was somehow acting as an aggressor.

    Some people call it another one of , but you have to wonder when gaffes give way to a candidate being unfit for the office.   Remember: Democrat primary voters eliminated Sen. Biden early in their process, so few must have had any confidence in him to be president.  And if people could then question whether Gov. Palin could be president, couldn't the same argument be used against Sen. Biden?

    Maybe that's why Sen. Biden hasn't done any pressers lately, or has no appearances on his calendar this week.

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    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Hit and run

    Hit and run describes how I've been with my humble blog this last year.  Every time I get a routine for posting in place, life interrupts.

    Most recently, the motherboard on my trusty/rusty home PC bought it.   What complicated matters was that I rely on the home PC - even at work - to do personal work, including most postings via remote desktop.

    Now I could have bought a new PC, arguably on credit, but I have to look ahead towards the holiday season.   Sue, a good friend (and daily reader of this blog), put me in touch with her husband who helped me to secure a motherboard and case for surviving hard drive, and he went far out of his way to help rebuild my system entirely.  A funny thing happened on the way to restoring the box, however...

    After reassembling the components, we booted the system and were presented with Microsoft's request to reactivate my copy of Windows XP.   Typing in the 25 digit licence number from the sticker on the side of the old case did not work.   Following the screen prompts, we tried to get help from online, and then called Microsoft.   Then Dell.

    Long story much shorter:  After a 2 minute on-hold wait with Microsoft, followed by a 71 minute on-hold wait with Dell, it was determined that since I was no longer using the same Dell motherboard my license came with it, I could not use the original license for Windows.  Who knew Dell binds the motherboard/CPU to Windows?   Dell suggested they could either find me a replacement motherboard (their estimate $250) or I could buy a copy of XP for about $100 if - and this important - if I could find one at a retailer.

    For the amount of sweat and toil already put in, plus the nearly 6 weeks without my own PC at home, we found that BestBuy had a copy of XP Home for $100, and the system booted up fine.  All my original data was intact, and things are running again for me, tech wise.  My hat is off to Kevin (and Sue) for inexpensively bailing me out of a jam.

    Whereas I have always had moments of feast/famine throughout the workday with regards to having time to read/write blogs, the amount of free time has become increasingly fleeting of late.    And for whatever reason, I have to wonder whether the fire to blog, at all, has burned itself out in me.

    It may be a seasonal thing.  A year ago I took a month off, expressing that I may have lost the urge to post.  Looking at the running count of posts to date this year, compared to last, I am not far from being on track to meet the same number as 2007 (however I am far and away off from 2004's high).    Other bloggers I've followed have disappeared as well, so again I wonder whether those of us who have been at it for a number of years have all decided it's time to move on.

    Time will tell.

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    Frightend about the election results yet? You will be!

    told an audience yesterday that if he and win the election, the country is going to have problems:

    "Gird your loins. We're gonna win with your help, God willing, we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride. This president, the next president, is gonna be left with the most significant task. It's like cleaning the Augean stables, man. This is more than just, this is more than – think about it, literally, think about it – this is more than just a capital crisis, this is more than just markets. This is a systemic problem we have with this economy."
    Biden goes on to preidct that no matter how much the fans love Obama today, they'll change their tune before long:
    Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, 'Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?' We're gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you're going to have to reinforce us.
     Gee...  couldn't that prediction have been made about just 4 years ago?  Oh wait, comparisions to Bush only work when you're trying to slam .

    "There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, 'Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don't know about that decision'. Because if you think the decision is sound when they're made, which I believe you will when they're made, they're not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they're popular, they're probably not sound."
    Great; so Biden is planning on making decisions that people will regret.  If I had said that last week, critics might call me partisan or negative (dare I say, mean-spirited).   But when Biden says it, well, the masses applaud.

    Source: Political Radar

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    Colin Powell

    Secretary of State/General is a man who deserves enormous respect.

    That doesn't mean he's infallible.

    There was little surprise in Sunday's announcement he would endorse 's candidacy for President; it was, perhaps, one of the worst-kept-secrets in politics.    What is surprising are some of the Sec. Powell's reasons.

    , I thought, was going to wet his pants on Friday when he teased that Powell would be on MEET THE PRESS.  But since MSBNC has finally acknowledged he isn't an anchor but rather a commentator, he's entitled.
    Sec. Powell spoke of Sen. Obama's "ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities" reveals quite a lot about his reasoning.   Obama inspires with his rhetorical ability is qualification for a motivational speaker, not head of state.  His campaign is inclusive to all except those who cherish free enterprise and capitalism, as Obama has already gone on record for favoring sharing the wealth

    As for his seeming dismissal of the working relationship with , allow me to speak of my own past:

    In order to be hired in my job, I require a security clearance (I hold 'Secret' clearance, which is nothing to sneeze at, but hardly a high level of clearance). They sent an FBI agent to my neighborhood who knocked on doors, asking about me. They sent an agent to a reference I provided, a friend I have in Albany, NY and interviewed her.

    They went back 10 years in my life, checking with the landlord I used to rent from in NYC, and the companies I listed in my resume'. At least 1 of my former employers that I know of for sure were called. That's what they did for my position, and mind you: I received my clearance in 1998, pre-9-11; it is much stricter now.

    Tell me: if I had a friend who was unrepentant in his admitting to bombing the Pentagon, who called himself 'a small 'c' communist', do you really think they'd hire me?

    I ask Sec. Powell: do you really think a man who is a friend with a domestic terrorist is fit to be president?

    If you are a reader who supports Sen. Obama, will you answer that question, too?

    I have plenty of other reasons, specifically on policy, why Sen. Obama should not be president.

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    Thursday, October 09, 2008

    From bad to worse (nothing tragic, I promise)

    This evening I sparred against a few students, in particular a woman of the same rank as I me (1st gup).

    • Bad:  We both attempted the same round-house kick to the other's head, using opposite feet.  The collision was painful for both of us, with she likely to be very bruised, and me getting blood on my dobok pantleg.

      We wear shin guards, and the stitching across the top of mine was the abrasive that caused the damage, after her knee and mine impacted.
    • Worse:  The gal is the same one who is not-so-secretly in a romantic relationship with the instructor, which means I will likely pay for whatever bruising she will develop. 
    • Worse still: This is the gal who scraped my collarbone in July, a fact which upon learning prompted my MBH to observe: you've studied karate all these years, and yet you get injured twice by a girl.
    The upside?  Had we both not attempted the same kick using the correct form, we wouldn't have collided.

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    Monday, October 06, 2008

    What is so comforting about certain foods? A prior post revisited

    This weekend there was a story on FOX NEWS about comfort food, in that it seems in these times economic uncertainty, America turns more to comfort food.

    Which brings me back to a few posts I made four years ago asking the musical question: what is comfort food?  Is there really a dish (or dishes) that make people feel better about themselves, about the economy, about life in general?

    I still am lost at this concept.  Never have I had a rotten day at the office (or in my commute) and came home thinking I'd like a bowl of ______ to feel better.  Sure, I get hungry -- that's fine.   If there's a movie I want to watch, do I think popcorn?  Yes, but I am not guaranteed to make any.    Do I sometimes forage around the kitchen for something?  Of course, but that's again hunger.  

    But as for cravings?   No, I can't say I've had them. 

    The steadfast comfort food  favorite, from my limited research, has been macaroni and cheese, but I still receive perplexed looks from people when I ask whether baked ziti would be an equivalent.   Not that I ever crave ziti, but that baked ziti is - in most preparations - macaroni and cheese, yet no one seems to equate it with the traditionally known mac and cheese -  perhaps it isn't the food, but the color of the cheese that comforts?

    Apparently, I am in a certain minority with this opinion, as Technorati has plenty of hits on the subject of .

    The FoxNews story above suggests soups and stews are becoming popular.  Should I hazard to guess those dishes usually become popular in the fall, or would that be obstinate?  Consider, however, that stews and soups are often relatively easy to prepare, use relatively inexpensive ingredients, and can be reheated with ease, making a large pot last a longer time; with all the doom and gloom reported about the economy these days, doesn't a meal with such versatility make even more sense?

    When I last discussed this on another blog (the now defuncted A Small Victory) I was told of people who look to comfort food as a way of triggering their memories of childhood (the video above makes a similar reference).  Now I recognize that aromas are powerful triggers to memories, and while I suppose I had a good childhood, I cannot think of any meal that triggers a specific recollection of any specific good time that would make me crave a certain dish.   And believe me when I tell you:  my mother, my grandmother: both kick-ass good cooks, as is my MBH.

    So I ask you, the readers, to educate me:  what is comfort food to you?  What does it mean, and why?   When do you indulge in this comfort, and how often do you do it?   

    And to those who are like me, who don't get comfort food: speak up... maybe there's a marketing myth to this comfort food sensation, and we've been all conditioned to accept mac-n-cheese as the perennial favorite because of some evil cabal of a pasta and dairy consortium. 

    Or maybe it's just me: maybe I am just simply lacking something that all others apparently have in their psyche.  Heh, it wouldn't be the first such missing item...

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